This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Men And Women Of The Heian Court

2060 words - 8 pages

During the Heian period, which lasted from 794 to 1185, literature is characterized as being in the forms of monogatari (tale) and nikki (diary). Many of the monogatari and nikki that were written were created by women, who wrote using kana syllabry. One of the most distinguished pieces of monogatari is Murasaki Shikibu’s Genji Monogatari or also known as The Tale of Genji. According to Nancy Hume, “most literary men of the Heian period avoided using the Japanese language or creating resembling fiction. This meant that the literature of the supreme period of Japanese civilization was left by default to the women, who were at liberty both to write in Japanese and to express themselves in the genre of fiction” (Hume 115).
The Tale of Genji is about an almost perfect man in the court and has many affairs with not only women, but with men as well. While reading The Tale of Genji, the reader may wonder how the noble men in the court could have so many affairs and visit many women throughout the city without worrying about political matters. At the time The Tale of Genji had been written, the nobles of the Heian court did not “need to occupy themselves with warfare or administration or economic planning,” and instead, “devoted themselves entirely to the cult of beauty” (Hume 117). Through Genji’s interactions with his friends and his lovers, the reader is able to picture the ideal woman and the ideal man of the imperial court during the Heian period as portrayed by Murasaki Shikibu.
As Murasaki Shikibu wrote The Tale of Genji, she describes her image of the ideal woman through her characters. The tale actually begins by stating an important aspect that a woman needed during the Heian period. At the beginning, Genji’s mother is described as a woman who lacks influential support from her father, who was a Grand Counselor, but passed away and causes the daughter to have a low rank in society. In the second chapter, “Hahakigi” (The Broom Tree), Genji’s friends engage in a debate on what characteristics make up the ideal woman for a man that is in the court and to run his household or in other words to be his wife. The discussion starts off between Genji and his friend Tō no Chūjō. According to Tō no Chūjō, a perfect woman is one who seems promising, writes in kana, is skilled in poetry, and is provided with rank by her father. However, Tō no Chūjō also mentions that the more particular a man’s standards are or the more he insists upon a certain quality, the harder it will be for him to find the perfect woman. Tō no Chūjō also makes it seem rare to find a perfect woman because he mentions the flaws that a woman may have. For example, a woman with rank may have her gentlewomen “disguise her weaknesses and advertise whatever passable qualities she may have so as to present them in the best light,” thereby disappointing the man after he learns what flaws she may have (Shikibu 20). In The Tale of Genji, Genji and Tō no Chūjō are men of...

Find Another Essay On Men and Women of the Heian Court

"On The Equality Of Men And Women"

584 words - 2 pages As I read the first paragraph of On the Equality of Men and Women by Marie Le Jars de Gournay, I had to go back a page to see when de Gournay lived. This writing seemed like something that would typically have been published in the 1990s. During the Enlightenment, women did not speak their opinion about their equality (or lack there of) with their male counterparts. It was not considered proper. It would even raise eyebrows is a man voiced his

The Differences of Men and Women

3514 words - 14 pages The Differences of Men and Women Men and women often misunderstand each other. Though we do not plan or expect to make life difficult for each

The Ideal of a Man, the Ideal of a Woman of the Heian Court Based on the Tale of Genji

1400 words - 6 pages of people whom Murasaki Shikibu had observed around her in her time, and that reviews of those characters are the key to a glimpse into ideal manliness and ideal femininity and manliness in the Heian era. In this paper, I will discuss the ideal images of men and women in Heian era by analyzing distinctive characters in those historical pieces, mainly from Genji Monogatari in comparison with the others. Some concrete image of ideal women is

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

1339 words - 5 pages 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, whether they liked Genji or not, in some way or another admitted to or acknowledged his high caliber. In the Heian court, the most significant

Poetry of the Heian Period

1198 words - 5 pages on their wife’s family name by marry into the other family. This empowerment led to a change in Heian period narrative prose that made it notable for the appearance of many women poets and writers. In the early Heian period, literature was marked by the use of Chinese as there were many male poets and this style of writing was held in high regard for men. However, this time period saw an increase in the use of kana in narrative prose as the

The Roles of Women and Men in the Home

959 words - 4 pages The Roles of Women and Men in the Home Domestic roles which a husband and wife undertake in the house are called conjugal roles these can include childcare and housework. In the past there were clean divisions between the husband's bread-winning role and the wife's housewife/mother role. Today it can be argued that the divisions of labour within the home have become blurred and household tasks are shared. Some

The Role of Men and Women in the Odyssey

1430 words - 6 pages . Interestingly enough, despite how valiant he can be during battle, it is in the Odyssey in which it becomes clear how Odysseus can be seduced and enchanted by women. In the Odyssey, myriad examples of such temptation reflect the importance of gender and the role of women. His specific interactions make this clear, creating an interesting duality between the power of men and women as illustrated throughout the poem. Women are portrayed as seductresses

Leadership Prejudices of Men and Women in the Workplace

1840 words - 7 pages This research paper will take a symbolic interactionist perspective to contrast the different leadership prejudices of men and women in the workplace. The age-old debate of inequality for women in executive position will now be examined through online periodicals that show gender stereotypes in the workforce, different strategies men and women use to break the glass ceiling of the workplace, a focus on the interactions and reactions of a male

Things fall apart : the role of men and women

1708 words - 7 pages . society. For the purposes of this paper I shall focus on the labyrinth of human vs. human and human vs. society in the framework of the role of women in Igbo society and how men assign and dictate these roles. I will also briefly explain the importance of women in terms of motherhood and wifedom.Throughout my research I've encountered numerous papers on the rights women do have in Igbo society, on the importance of women in this society. They site

Men, Women, and the Willful Misinterpretation of Female Speech

1362 words - 5 pages Female speech in Jane Austen's novels is heavily dictated by the whims of her male characters, and although "[f]emale speech is never entirely repressed in Austen's fiction, [it] is dictated so as to mirror or otherwise reassure masculine desire" (Johnson 37). However, there are times when women stray from the gendered rules of speech and, in expressing their opinions, threaten male control over discourse. In these situations men resort to

The Treatment of Women and Men Sports Players

6468 words - 26 pages The Treatment of Women and Men Sports Players Sport plays a major part in the culture of today’s society. Many people spend considerable time in front of the television, in sports grounds and traveling all over the country to support their respective club whether it be football, rugby, cricket or netball etc. However whilst playing, spectating or just generally being involved in a sport, things can go wrong and this

Similar Essays

The Ideal Of A Man And Woman Of The Heian Court Based On The Tale Of Genji

1498 words - 6 pages only the beauty present in the Heian court, but of the flaws and trials present as well, presenting a wonderful contrast to the ideal views of men and women in modern Western society, and insight into ancient Japanese culture.

The Ideal Of A Man And Woman Of The Heian Court Based On The Tale Of Genji

1571 words - 6 pages that appear throughout the work. Not only are they numerous, but they are also lacking names, often times being given titles rather than names. Some characters get a name as the book progresses, however most do not. The major influence of this is the Heian-era court itself. A name would constitute a family and if the family is important, then the eldest son of that family acquires the family name, thereby ensuring the lineage continues. Less

Women And Men Of The Victorian Era

1772 words - 7 pages , or sue in a court of law. Norton's numerous complaints were successful in passing legislation to aid women and reduce the tyrannical control of men in the 1850s. Norton's contributions to the struggles of women in their fight against male control greatly influenced the efforts of women in the United States to protest their inability to vote and affect the political and social realities in their environments. Caroline Norton's refusal to

The Role Of Men And Women

981 words - 4 pages that men and women play in society and how they have been conformed to occupy certain positions. No Exit and Night Flight are two stories that explore the roles of men and women in society. However, a literary analysis and comparison of these two works reveals two very different sides of the notions regarding gender roles, as Night Flight defends the traditional roles occupied by the two sexes and how people inadvertently assent to them, while