My name is Mahataa.             With a huge birth cry on the early morning of July 27, 1902 in the Year of the Water Tiger, I announced my arrival.  I was born to Kana who was the granddaughter of Hanaa, a diviner and seer. My cry echoed beyond the borders of our rural village nestled in the northern peninsula of […]

MAHATAA: The lovers

      The two lovers are in the black market in the South. Great-Grandmother Hanaa, as a young woman, dressed in her best kimono, which by standards of the South was unremarkable, leisurely browses the open marketplace lined with vendors. Her eyes instantly catch beautifully woven fabrics of bingata, a traditional cloth produced by local craftsmen. Displayed on the […]

MAHATAA: The uninvited guest

Our friends and neighbors cared for Mother so she could properly rest after childbirth. Women arrived with freshly prepared food and helped with household chores. They chattered happily in muffled voices while moving quickly through the house. They brought champuru, a popular dish made from tofu and vegetables that typically included roasted carrots, wild greens and boiled […]

MAHATAA: The Old Monk returns

31 THE OLD MONK RETURNS       “Konnichiwa!” A voice called out a joyous greeting and echoed as if the word had been spoken from the top of a high mountain. I recognized the caller and immediately ran to the entrance to greet my teacher. The Old Monk made good on his promise to return to give […]

MAHATAA: The Yabuu, Medicine Woman

THE YABUU (MEDICINE WOMAN)       I went to see the Yabuu, the Medicine Woman, the very next day with a note from the Noro requesting that she accept me as an apprentice. The Yabuu was the last of the three powerful women of my culture with whom I would be studying. Each gifted woman brought to […]

Kirkus Review of Emperor & Court Magician

THE EMPEROR AND COURT MAGICIAN Jikun Kathy Sankey ManuscriptBOOK REVIEW by KirkusA Chinese empress deals with a troubled son in this debut historical novel.The year is 601 C.E., and the setting is Sui Dynasty China. One stormy day, in the early hours of the morning, Seer Chen rushes through the dawn streets, seeking a meeting […]

Part 2: Reaching the Liu Chiu’s

                  Having journeyed for more than ten days in the Chinese junk, the Magician continued his way on the open sea. The tiny vessel was equipped with a small sail, and his sleeping area had only a little rectangular patch of fabric that served as protection from the sun. The currents were not in his favor, […]


Past midnight, the Magician, realizing what he must do, stealthily slipped out of his cell and bolted up the stone wall that bordered the palace, leapt to the ground on the other side and took one of the guard’s horses, and fled to the port. A small junk had been quickly procured and secretly prepared […]


As he made his way to his quarters, he bumped into the Captain of the failed second expedition who practically knocked him down. The Third Captain reeled back from the crash and almost lost his balance as he instinctively caught hold of the man who spoke with a slur from having drunk too much local […]


That night the Emperor gasped wide-eyed from an eerie dream he’d had for four consecutive nights. The dream felt more vivid than ever before. Gulping for air, he yelled for his Court Magician. “It is just a nightmare, sir,” consoled the trusty Magician, who rushed into the Emperor’s chambers disheveled since it was the middle […]