Murasaki's Treatment Of Women In The Tale Of Genji

Good Essays
The Heian period lasted from 794, when the capital of Japan was moved from Nara to Heian-kyō, to 1185, when Minamoto Yoritomo took power. This time is known for the culture of the aristocracy, which placed a great deal of importance on aesthetic refinement. The importance of Chinese during this time should also be noted. Chinese was the language of government, philosophy, and educated men. It was considered improper for women to learn and use. In addition, while a man was expected to study poetry in Chinese and compose it in Chinese and Japanese, fiction was considered beneath them. Because of this, early prose fiction in Japanese was a matter mainly for women.
The Tale of Genji is the world’s oldest novel. It was written in Japan during the early 11th century, the peak of the Heian Period, by a woman known as Murasaki Shikibu. I say known as because her real name is unknown. Murasaki comes from the heroine of The Tale of Genji and Shikibu from her father’s position, Shikibu meaning Bureau of Ceremonial. Her father was Fujiwara no Tametoko, at one time governor of Harima, Echizen, and Echigo. When exactly The Tale of Genji was written is not known. The novel was at least partly written by 1007 or 1008
…show more content…
First, the poetry. Second, how the style of the story reminded me of a fairytale. Both of these makes sense in the context of the time in which it was written.
Nearly 800 poems appear in The Tale of Genji. The style used is known as uta, tanka, or waka. These poems have 5 sections with syllable counts of 5-7-5-7-7 and are not supposed to rhyme. In the Heian period poetry was an essential part of court life, both for communication and status. Poetry was viewed as one of the greatest arts. Poetry also allowed one to communicate without some of the restrictions of the hierarchy. A well-formed poem was worthy of respect even from one considered inferior. Poems were also exchanged during
Get Access