Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essays

Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essays

Length: 1314 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Heian period was a very long time ago and everything back then was completely different. Men were considered to be powerful and would be in charge of women, while women would have to be submissive. The men would spot a woman and it seems almost instantly, he would be extremely attracted and want her. There are many different characteristics that make up men and women of the Heian period, compared to present day; love, attraction, and power are perceived very differently.
The definition of an attractive woman during the Heian period is definitely not the same as women today. There are many unusual characteristics that make up an attractive Heian woman. First of all, women would wear many layers of clothing to cover up their body. The nude body is hardly mentioned in poetry and books, the more layers of clothing a woman wore; the more attractive it was to a man. Sleeves of a woman’s clothing were very appealing and attractive to men. Next, women would blacken their teeth with a black sticky dye, during the Heian period, white teeth were considered very unattractive for women. Along with completely blacken teeth, having a pale complexion was considered attractive. Women would have a lot of makeup to appear very pale white. An example would be Genji laying eyes on Yugao “..pale gray-violet gown over layers of white, and although she had nothing striking about her, her slender grace and her manner of speaking moved him deeply.” (Pg 66) After seeing her wearing many layers of clothing and her face pale white, he became extremely infatuated by her beauty.
Another very attractive aspect of a woman was long beautiful black hair. Hair on a woman was the key point that would attract men. “The hair streaming across ...


... middle of paper ...


...e men were obviously very controlling and had power over women. The women almost seem to have no choice but to obey and endure affairs that their men were having behind their backs. Throughout the book of Genji Monogatari, there are even instances of women dying because they could not handle their men cheating on them. The illness of the fact their men would have constant affairs and leave them lonely would be too much for some women to handle. In fact jealous spirits of mistresses men had were the killer of other women. This strange period of women and men relationships have changed since then, but certainly can not be forgotten.








Works Cited

Smits, Gregory. Chapter three: The Heian Period Aristocrats.
Retrieved from http://www.east-asian-history.net/textbooks/172/ch3_main.htm


Tyler, Royall. (2006). Tale of Genji. England: Penguin Group.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essay examples

- Based on Murasaki Shikibu’s “The Tale of Genji” the ideal man and the ideal woman of the Heian Court can easily be discerned as not truly existing, with the main character, Genji, being the nearly satirical example of what was the ideal man, and descriptions of the many women in the story as prescription of the ideal woman with the young Murasaki playing a similar role to that of Genji in the story. It is made clear from the beginning of the story that Genji is the example of the ideal man. In chapter one, “The Paulownia Pavilion (Kiritsubo)”, Genji is born to the emperor and a woman of middle birth as a “wonderfully handsome son” (5) who was with “such marvels of beauty and character that n...   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Strong Essays
1336 words (3.8 pages)

Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essay

- The literary masterpiece The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is a fictional tale that provides clear insight into the sociopolitical court life of the Heian period in Japan. In the tale we are able to see the standards of life that were expected of the aristocrats during the Heian period. The social nature of Heian court life is depicted in the many relationships of the characters through the various stories presented in The Tale of Genji. The relationships in the tale are mainly romantic relationships that surround the Shining Prince Genji, along with other relationships such as parent and child, master and servant, and relationships between social contemporaries....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Strong Essays
1487 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji

- Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji, set in the Heian Period, gives a good idea of what the model Heian man and Heian woman should look like. Genji himself is like a physical embodiment of male perfection, while a large portion of the Broom Tree chapter outlines the ideal of a woman—that it is men who decide what constitutes a perfect woman, and the fact that even they cannot come to decide which traits are the best, and whether anyone can realistically possess all of those traits shows that the function of women in the eyes of men of that period was largely to cater to their husbands and households....   [tags: Japanese Literature, Heian Period]

Strong Essays
1227 words (3.5 pages)

Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essay example

- Murasaki Shikibu has given us great insight into what the ideal man and woman in court is in her work The Tale of Genji. Although in the abridged version we have read there are no concrete physical descriptions, the depth of personality in certain characters show us the ideal being one should be in the Heian court. Compared to today’s perceived ideals, the ideal man and woman seem to only have changed because of the influence of media. First, the ideal man seems to have been what Genji was painted as throughout the book....   [tags: Heian Society, Japanese Culture]

Strong Essays
1555 words (4.4 pages)

Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essay

- Genji monogatari has been called to be the world’s finest and first novel, completed in the early Heian period in 1008. Many people doubted if Murasaki Shikibu was the true authorship, but evidences from Murasaki Shikibu nikki and Sarashina nikki have proven that she is the author of this masterpiece. I personally think that it is important to talk about some of the important events happened in Murasaki’s life before examining the ideal woman and man of the Heian court. “Shikibu was born into the Fujiwara family, daughter of the governor of a province, who also was a well known scholar....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Strong Essays
1492 words (4.3 pages)

Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essay

- As with all cultures of ancient times the difference in though process and the way people deal with everyday situations are totally different from our modern times of today. This paper will be about such a culture. The culture that is presented within this paper is about the Heian period of Japan, and what men and women of the Heian court thought of each other in terms of marriage, and relationships. This paper will analyze this subject through one of Japans great tails about court intrigue The Tale of Genji: by Murasaki Shikibu....   [tags: Japanese Culture, Marriage, Heian Society]

Strong Essays
1325 words (3.8 pages)

Ideal Man and Woman in The Tale of Genji Essays

- The Heian period was a very long time ago and everything back then was completely different. Men were considered to be powerful and would be in charge of women, while women would have to be submissive. The men would spot a woman and it seems almost instantly, he would be extremely attracted and want her. There are many different characteristics that make up men and women of the Heian period, compared to present day; love, attraction, and power are perceived very differently. The definition of an attractive woman during the Heian period is definitely not the same as women today....   [tags: Heian Period, Japanese Culture]

Strong Essays
1314 words (3.8 pages)

The Ideal of a Man and Woman of the Heian court Based on the Tale of Genji

- In this modern day and age, the epitome of manliness, at least to the Western world, includes a few main things – masculinity, or physical strength, mental acuity, and being an emotional rock – one who is emotionally stable and almost stoic, capable of comforting and lending strength. The modern epitome of womanliness is one encompassing sensuousness, gentility, emotion, cunning, and more and more often, strength of mind. This plays in stark contrast with the Japanese Heian-era notions of the ideal man and woman as portrayed in Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji....   [tags: Japanese Culture, Heian Society]

Strong Essays
1322 words (3.8 pages)

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

- Seen from descriptions in the most prominent literature works in Heian era, such as Ise Monotagari, Kagerō Nikki, Izumi Shikibu Nikki, Makura-no-Shōshi, and Genji Monogatari, gender roles during the period were implicitly or explicitly defined, and I assume, because of this climate, they were considered as major parts of the society, and vice versa. There are many characters appearing in Genji Monogatari. I think each of them is a representation 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....   [tags: Gender Studies]

Strong Essays
1455 words (4.2 pages)

The Ideal of a Man and Woman of the Heian court Based on the Tale of Genji

- In this paper I will be discussing the ideals of a man based on the Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu with translations by Royall Tyler, beginning with some background information on what the Tale of Genji is, then moving on to discuss the ideals that were presented in the story and how the ideals are contradicted. The Tale of Genji, otherwise known as Genji Monogatari, is a classic Japanese literary work that was written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century and is considered to be the world’s first novel, depending on who is asked....   [tags: Japanese Culture, Heian Society]

Strong Essays
1250 words (3.6 pages)