By Patrick W. Caddeau
Murasaki Shikibu’s eleventh-century story of Genji is the main respected paintings of fiction in Japan. This booklet explores Genji’s reception through the years and its position in jap tradition.
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Extra info for Appraising Genji: Literary Criticism And Cultural Anxiety in the Age of the Last Samurai
He associated the years spent in the company of his mother and her family with a sense of comfort and promise that was never to be regained. ”8 The following summer Tami died at the age of ﬁfteen. Only two months later, family tragedy compounded even more deeply when Hiromichi’s mother died. He writes of her death: I was just six years old at the time so I was probably looking in at things I should not have seen. I was told I was in the way and that I should go stay with my uncle Kaneko. . That night there was a storm and the wind came in strong gusts.
The year following Hiromichi’s birth, Eizaburo¯’s health did not improve. Pleading illness, he requested that he be relieved of his duties in service to the Ikeda clan in 1817. As a result, his stipend from the daimyo¯ was reduced. Forced to seek gainful employment, he quickly accepted a minor post as caretaker and part-time instructor at a local school. Either the position provided such meager accommodations that Eizaburo¯ was unable to permanently house his family or he lived apart from his wife and son for most of the year by choice.
Fifty years later, Genji is retold in a way that emphasizes coming to terms with loss. This notion was particularly compelling for audiences at the time. After more than a decade of economic slowdown, accompanied by a series of terrorist acts and national political scandals, there was a sense that the era of growth and prosperity that had been building since the post-World War II era had ﬁnally come to an end. The commercial success inspired by this adaptation suggests that Genji’s quest to accept the loss of his greatest love resonated deeply with audiences who perceived that an era of afﬂuence had passed from their own lives and was not soon to return.
Appraising Genji: Literary Criticism And Cultural Anxiety in the Age of the Last Samurai by Patrick W. Caddeau