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The Tale of Genji

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Kearlee Gregory

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of The Tale of Genji

The world's first novel
Written by Murasaki Shikibu 11th century Japan You've lived your entire life hidden behind blinds and screens Rarely allowed to leave her home unless carried out in an ox-driven wagon with only a small slit to peer through. This was the life of Murasaki Shikibu Imagine you're an aristocratic woman Because you're only allowed to be seen by you're father and husband (or lover for unattached ladies). (Genji Monogatari) (794 CE to 1186 CE) “It was an age in which highborn men as well as women lived by the famous “rule of taste” and enjoyed the gratifications derived from an “infinite ingenuity in matters of personal adornment.” the author of The Tale of Genji Even as a child she was very intelligent and learned more quickly than her brother, causing her father to lament, "If only you were a boy, how happy I should be!" and still he allowed Shikibu to study with her brother, even letting her learn some Chinese classics, which was considered improper for females at the time. Shikibu was born into a branch of the Fujiwara family (the true power behind the throne) As the daughter of the governor of a province, who was also a well-known scholar and poet. After the death of her husband in 1001 CE, the imperial family brought Lady Murasaki to court, knowing of her intellect and talent. In her early twenties, Lady Murasaki was married to a distant relative. Her only daughter was born in 999 CE. The Tale of Genji spans over 54 installments (chapters), and was originally written in scrolls. What makes this story so important? Many things, but mainly the fact that it was the first novel written in a time of poems and oral recitation of folklore. Some people include Epic Poems under the 'novel' category, but Japan was secluded from the majority of the world at that time, which makes Lady Murasaki's inspiration even more astonishing. The story includes a wide variety of genre’s including: romance, travel, supernatural encounters and an almost too perfect hero. All of which were out-of-reach for the aristocratic ladies who lived in seclusion. The Tale has influenced written works ever since its creation. It was the first novel with a complex plot and character development. Lady Murasaki 973-1025? C.E. The Tale was avidly read by well-bred ladies of the time, as we know from the memoir As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams (Sarashina Nikki), written by Lady Sarashina. There had never been anything like it. According to Richard Bowring, author of Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji, “The word ‘Genji’, or ‘Minamoto clan’, is originally a family name given to imperial princes who had been reduced to commoner status, a measure begun during the reign of the Saga Emperor for largely financial reasons and continued on and off for the next hundred years.” The protagonist of the story. As with most works, the title of The Tale of Genji gives away some clues about the story and its hero. Genji's mother was resented by the other ladies in the court because Genji's father favored her over them. After her death during childbirth, Genji was sent to stay with his grandmother for protection from the other ladies and he reminded the emperor of his now dead love. Between 2 and 5 years old, Genji returned to the court by request of his father. But no one could bring themselves to hate the beautiful boy prodigy. The main hero, who was made a member of the Genji by his father, the emperor, holds political significance for the time. Genji was the son of the emperor's most beloved concubine. I found this project very interesting. I was already interested in Japan because of anime and manga. Now I have another reason to want to visit. There is an animated movie from 1987 Even years later, the Emporer was still mourning the loss of Genji's mother. To help mend his broken heart, the Emperor sent for women to come to him so he could at least find a look-alike for his love. After a long search, he finally found her. A young princess that was the spitting image of his lost love. None of the other ladies could look down on her because she out-ranked them all and even if she didn't her elegance and kindness would have won them over. Not knowing his mother's image, Genji spent alot of time with the princess. After his coming-of-age ceremony, however, he was no longer allowed to meet with her behind her curtains. Why was he made a member of the Minamoto clan? An anime series from 2009
http://www.animefreak.tv/watch/genji-monogatari-sennenki-episode-4-english-dubbed-online-free If you'd prefer to watch the story unfold... The most recent is a movie from 2011 Let's take a look into the life of Heian Era aristocrats. WARNING! Adult Content
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