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Tale of Genji 源氏物語 is worth reading!

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Kiritsubo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 Dec 2019 at 12:30
In Tale of Genji (源氏物語)one of the world oldest literature written by the woman author, Murasaki Shikibu, 紫式部 in Japan around the year 1008 was marvelous. Of course, the time was the absolute predominance of men over women, and that women generally weren’t given family names unless she was a wife of the emperor or some sort.  Murasaki Shikibu was an excellent woman who had been employed by the most powerful man in those days, Fujiwara Michinaga 藤原道長, as a tutor for his daughter. In the book, she was writing hilarious and analytical things about life of women as follows;

Things they find unattractive in women:

Hair tucked behind the ears

Doing nothing but housework

Wantonness (e.g. indulging in shameless banter)

Being pious and stuffy

Garlic breath

Cursive writing 



When we are too busy, we tucked the hair behind the ears.
cursive writingErmm

I'll make some research about it and will come back Smile



Edited by Kiritsubo - 02 Dec 2019 at 13:01
Things they find unattractive in women: Hair tucked behind the ears Doing nothing but housework Wantonness Being pious and stuffy Garlic breath Cursive writing
The Tale of Genji (11C)
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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2019 at 14:08
Used to own it, but never got around to reading it, maybe I should consider picking it up again.  
There are Greek and Roman "novels" from late antiquity, but I suspect that those do not compare to the Tale of Genji.  I am not sure which should win the claim of the first novels.  If the Greek and Roman "novels" deserve the title of "novel" then the Greeks and Romans.  If not, then maybe lady Murasaki deserves the title of first novel.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kiritsubo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2019 at 14:45
IMO, The Tale of Genji written by the Lady Murasaki was the first love romance story ever written, as far as I hear.  Greek and Roman have enormous number of great literature, poems, before 8C, right? Genji is popular as its romance of one good looking guy’s love affair, looking for his ideal woman endlessly was interestingWink  
Things they find unattractive in women: Hair tucked behind the ears Doing nothing but housework Wantonness Being pious and stuffy Garlic breath Cursive writing
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Kiritsubo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kiritsubo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2019 at 00:21
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Used to own it, but never got around to reading it,
You used to own it? 
SmileBig smileThumbs UpThumbs Up
Not many people own it! Wow wow wow You must own a lot of books!
Things they find unattractive in women: Hair tucked behind the ears Doing nothing but housework Wantonness Being pious and stuffy Garlic breath Cursive writing
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2019 at 10:32
I have a lot of books, I have read some Japanese literature in translation, Some Prefer Nettles by Tanizaki, Snow Country (forget the author, please remind me if you know who I am talking about, he may have won the Nobel or other prestigious award), 47 Ronin.  I had good intentions of reading Lady Murasaki's Tale of Genji, but never did it.  But, with your insight into it, maybe it is something to pick up again.  I like what I have seen of Japanese movies, Kurosawa of course, but also Taxing Woman, and Taxing Woman II and Woman in the Dunes (originally written by Kono Abe(?))  In the past, (20-25 years ago), I was into manga for a time, and anime, like Rumiko Takahashi.  But, that was a time before manga and anime commercially broke into the American market, and a group of us would watch anything we could get our hands on. 

I think it is part of the nature of men to complain about women, but also for women to complain about men.  And then there is Ranma 1/2, but that is another story.  I do not know about what women think, but I do know that part of the reason men complain is that they cannot help but think about women. Most of the time women and men think in a similar manner, but in some things they differ, and that is part of what makes it interesting:)

It sounds like Greek and Roman New Comedy (plays) is more similar to the story of the Tale of Genji, than what scholars call ancient novels, like Apuleius "The Golden Ass," or the story of Psyche and Eros.  New Comedy is situational comedy, or what on TV would be called sitcoms.  people in life getting into absurd situations of everyday life.

I think that I should look into Tale of Genji again.

by the way (BTW) you wrote about Perry in Japanese but it was too complicated for me to read.  If you want to privately send what you said in English to me, you can do that through a PM (private message).

Kind regards,
John
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Kiritsubo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2019 at 14:58
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I have a lot of books, I have read some Japanese literature in translation, Some Prefer Nettles by Tanizaki, Snow Country (forget the author, please remind me if you know who I am talking about, he may have won the Nobel or other prestigious award), 47 Ronin.  I had good intentions of reading Lady Murasaki's Tale of Genji, but never did it.  But, with your insight into it, maybe it is something to pick up again.  I like what I have seen of Japanese movies, Kurosawa of course, but also Taxing Woman, and Taxing Woman II and Woman in the Dunes (originally written by Kono Abe(?))  In the past, (20-25 years ago), I was into manga for a time, and anime, like Rumiko Takahashi.  But, that was a time before manga and anime commercially broke into the American market, and a group of us would watch anything we could get our hands on. 

Dear franciscosan, or John, 

I was very impressed reading your replyHeart Smile Because whatever you named were one of the masterpiece or hidden masterpiece of Japanese literature (including manga).  If you had encountered these literature by chance, you were lucky or your inherent good taste in literature lead you to choose those books and movies.  Nettles蓼£う虫 by Tanizaki! He is one of the greatest authors in Japan.  He kind of pursued elegance of women beauty, as you can find some four sisters story in a family of high social class in Ashiya(between Kobe and Osaka).  I am not humblebragging about myself but my mother's family had grown up just like that. Of course, those kind of aristocracy no longer exist in Japan though. My mother only had a little good experience in her childhood, whereas I don't at all.  I am just one of those commoner lol   47 Ronin was exciting, wasn't it? It is a story based on chushingura忠£蔵 the famous sword battle story in Edo period 18 C.  Taxing woman and Taxing Woman II wow!! did you see them ? Those were hilarious! But sadly Itami Juzo,伊丹十三 the film director, and an author, committed a suicide...I liked his movies so much that I regret his death.   Re Women in Dunes 砂の女by Hiroshi Teshigahara, I don't know about this film and the book.  Rumiko Takahashi..you liked her works!! In this case, you can be proud of being a first Japanese manga fan before the big waves came into the world.  Takahashi Rumiko is genius.  You read Ranma? I was also a big fan of hers and still now my sons, college students read them.  Her works, such as Urusei Yatsura うる星やつら was about the one way? love story between the ordinary boy, Ataru and the girl Rum who is an extraterrestrial being one day found the boy and crazily fell in love and started persistently follow the boy.  This story was based on the Japanese classic folklore, called 道成寺between the story of Anchin and Kiyohime 安珍と清姫。It is a classic theme and show often in  Noh 能.  I was so happy that you found such great artworks of Japan!!! I was away for a while but I'll try to post some more and if I could answer the other posts as well, I'll do my best with my limited English and knowledge!Smile
Things they find unattractive in women: Hair tucked behind the ears Doing nothing but housework Wantonness Being pious and stuffy Garlic breath Cursive writing
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2019 at 06:42
I took two years of Japanese, Takemoto Sensei was a Nisei who, I believe, during the Vietnam War stayed with his uncle (a priest) in Japan instead of going to Canada (to dodge the draft).  He became a priest and was very much into Japanese traditional culture, teaching it college.  He also read Tibetan.  He did tea ceremony and bonsai, calligraphy and taught a class on Japanese art work.  I like woodblock prints like Hiroshige and Hokusai (the wave), Kamakura Daibutzu, enamel work, netsuke and so on.  I did not learn about Japanese pop culture from Takemoto Sensei though, but through anime fan clubs, one in Walla Walla, and a group of us in Denver.  But, yes Rumiko Takahashi: Lum (U.Y.), Ranma 1/2, Mermaid's Scar, Maison Ikkoku, Inuyasha (sp?).  Some, I just saw the anime, some, I just read the manga, some did both.  Also, like Miyazaki of course.  Miyazaki is on DVD, but much of those TV shows and OAVs were on VHS.  You should understand that some of these I saw, once, 25 years ago. 

If I did a Japanese art, I would try Ikebana (flower arrangement).

I am sorry to hear that the director of Taxing Woman killed himself.  (for those who don't know Taxing Woman I was about a woman tax collector, and her rivalry with a tax evader.  She was not that beautiful, but very smart and the man has a begrudging respect and admiration for her if I remember right.  She was a very strong woman, and he admired that even if she was out to ruin him.  But, because of who each of them are, it was a romance that never could happen.

But, I really don't know ancient Japan very well.  Mainly just pop culture references.  I would like to know more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kiritsubo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2019 at 16:23
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


I am sorry to hear that the director of Taxing Woman killed himself.  (for those who don't know Taxing Woman I was about a woman tax collector, and her rivalry with a tax evader.  She was not that beautiful, but very smart and the man has a begrudging respect and admiration for her if I remember right.  She was a very strong woman, and he admired that even if she was out to ruin him.  But, because of who each of them are, it was a romance that never could happen.

But

What  you said about the relationship between the tax woman and the evader, who found the tax woman charming but ended up with no romance was true, and the emotion of both sides were mature and good.  I’m so happy that you mentioned about their subtle feeling, also the time it aired was in 1980’s when describing women in general were still stereotyped as sexual object so with no sexual appearance, the tax woman could play the main role was new to us.  Although not being attractive as a woman, she was still attractive as a human was impressive!  I would say that Itami’s films were very advanced in terms of male and female inequality. For the side note, the actress was Miyamoto Nobuko.  She’s Itami’s wife😃

You had a wonderful experience, learning from Mr Takemoto when you were still very young!  Your experience and knowledge of Japan must have helped to form your personality and life!!👍


Edited by Kiritsubo - 11 Dec 2019 at 16:45
Things they find unattractive in women: Hair tucked behind the ears Doing nothing but housework Wantonness Being pious and stuffy Garlic breath Cursive writing
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2019 at 12:32
a note on names for anyone reading this, western names are personal name first, family name second, i tend to do that order for Japanese names too.  Japanese names, however, are family name first, personal name second, so Miyamoto Nobuko, or Takahashi Rumiko (-ko is a diminutive that shows the individual is female). -chen in Germany (Madchen) is similar.  But, of course in the States, we tend to put the personal name first, family name second, even if it is a Japanese name.

I don't know when personal and family names were introduced, in the Western style.  I believe before that people had personal names, and they were associated where they came from, sort of like in medieval West.  Augustine of Hippo, Robin of Sherwood Forest.  Only nobles had both personal and family names.

About the four sisters? by Junchiro Tanizaki, is that the Makioka Sisters?  I think my mother read that, but I am not sure.  All this in translation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kiritsubo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Dec 2019 at 17:05
Franciscosan, Thank you for adding the information about name.  Yes, family name first in Japan, China and Korea, and some other countries in Asia as well.  Also, in ancient times, nobody could have given family names unless they were related to noble families.  If we look at the family trees of ancient time in Japan, there usually said father's name with his full name, whereas mother's name was just written as onnna女、a woman.  So we never know who's this well known worrior's mother's name etc.  Only noble people were considered human and others were just as same as cattle or horses.  We are lucky to have been born this age...
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