The Ideal of a Man & The Ideal of a Woman of the Heian Court Based on Genji Monogatari

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The ideal of a man and the ideal of a woman of the Heian court differs significantly from what people of our modern society might consider ideal, but that is to be expected as our modern society has had much time to be exposed to and affected by the influences of many different cultures' viewpoints. In comparison, the Heian court was a more closed society, so back then, the notions of what was acceptable and unacceptable and the standards to which men and women were measured were more defined. Genji monogatari suggests the standards to which the sexes should be measured and gives examples of people who meet the standards. It goes without saying that Genji, the hero of the tale, is the perfect man. Throughout the tale, every character,…show more content…
He obeyed, among others, the convention of sending poems to women after staying the night with them. Genji was a prodigy when it came to the playing the kin, and he could even play the sō no koto. Judging by the way that he was portrayed, I would not be surprised if there was not an instrument that he could not play. When Genji and Tō no Chūjō performed “Blue Sea Waves,” although Tō no Chūjō was very skillful in his dancing as if he had rehearsed many times, Genji was still the person who drew all of the attention from their audience. Genji's dance was so elegant, and his voice was so beautiful that it was likened to the kalavinka, the bird that sings in paradise. Genji's prowess with painting was also out of this world. The picture contest in chapter 17 ended immediately after his paintings were revealed, even though the previous contenders were expert painters brought in specifically for the competition. His paintings were renderings of Suma and Akashi—the places where he had spent his time in exile. Seeing paintings that captured the essence of the faraway place that Genji had gone to brought tears to everyone's eyes as they were filled once again with feelings surrounding the despair brought on by Genji's absence. The manner in which Genji treated his many lovers was another quality that made him such a great man. He took pity on women for their shortcomings and trespasses against him rather than hating and blaming them.

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