Women in Japanese Literature

Publication Year



Women, Japan, literature, gender


Comparative Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Japanese Studies


As can be observed from the conversation between several men, namely Genji, To no Chujo, and some of the latter's retainers, recounted by Lady Mueasaki Shikibu in The Tale of Genji, Japanese men seem to have been judging the worthiness of women according to certain characteristics from the earliest beginnings of Japanese history. These judgments were not always favorable towards women and were often times based on merely physical aspects: "There are surprisingly pretty ladies wasting away behind tangles of weeds, and hardly anyone even knows of their existence. The first surprise is hard to forget. There she is,a girl with a fat, sloppy old father and boorish brother and a house that seems common at best. ...She is not the equal of the one who has everything, of course, but she has her charm. She is not easy to pass by (Lady Murasaki 23/4).

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Asian Studies

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