The Tale of Genji

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The Tale of Genji is a classic Japanese novel about a self-centered, womanizing prince in Medieval Japan. It was written in the eleventh century by Lady Murasaki, who was well acquainted with life in the Japanese Emperor's court during the Heian Period. "Although fictional, the Tale of Genji is taken to be an accurate representation of aristocratic life in the middle of the Heian period (794-1195).[1]

The Tale of Genji
Japanese name
Kanji 源氏物語

The main character, Genji, was a prodigy/prince who used his beauty and charm to seduce women and kidnap girls. One, named Murasaki, was a ten-year-old whom he made a child bride.[2]

In his old age he dies miserably:

  • Murasaki dies two or three years later, in her early forties. Genji, then in his early fifties, survives her as a mere shell of his former self. It appears that after the reader sees him for the last time, he leaves the world, retires to a Buddhist temple, and dies within a year or two.



  1. [1]
  2. Mary Arnold

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