The Tale Of Genji By Murasaki Shikibu

1139 WordsFeb 25, 20165 Pages
The Tale of Genji is a classic Japanese novel that tells the tale of a boy named Genji, an exceptionally handsome boy who embodies physical perfection while also being a prodigy. The novel is considered to be one of the great masterpieces in Japanese literature as it beautifully provides insight into many aspects of social hierarchy in upper class Japan during the Heian era of Japan. In particular, it establishes a clear idea on how gender roles played into society at this time as well as how the class system determined much of how one’s life would go. The Tale of Genji was written by Murasaki Shikibu in the Heian era of Japan. Although it is not known the exact year that she wrote this novel, her diaries suggest it was finished in about 1008 while serving Empress Akiko (Shoshi). Since she served the empress at the time she supposedly wrote The Tale of Genji, it can be inferred that it was written in Heian-kyo, now know as Kyoto. The novel’s main character is the emperor’s son, Genji. The emperor was very fond of Genji’s mother, who is at a lower rank than the rest if his women. Despite this fact, the emperor favored her over the other women. She ends up dying in the first chapter, leaving the emperor with only Genji to remember her by. Genji is exceptionally handsome and exemplifies perfection due to his intelligence but the emperor cannot make him the heir to the crown due to the rank of Genji’s mother. Also, Genji has an older brother who, traditionally speaking, has
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