To Murasaki Shikibu, the author of The Tale of Genji, Genji was a handsome, intelligent, and artistic gentleman. In spite of his promiscuity and infidelity—or perhaps even because of it—he personified the ideal Heian man in many respects. Assess the text’streatment of masculinity and femininity. What characteristics and behaviors are expected of both men and women? Do you think Genji possesses any traits that align with contemporary notions of masculinity? Or do you consider Genji a more feminine protagonist? Do you think the depiction of Genji was affected by the fact that the author was a woman? Explain.
The tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature that was written by the Nobel peace prize holder Murasuki Shikibu in the ancient times of the 11th century. Though the original manuscript no longer exists, the work was a unique depiction of the lifestyle of high courtiers during the times of Heian, written in archaic, poetic and confusing style that makes it highly unreadable for an ordinary reader with no dedicated study. It's generally a recount of the life and times of Hikam Genji, the son of an ancient Japanese emperor Kiritsubo and a low-ranking concubine.