1. Drawing evidence from the text, describe Lady Murasaki. Who is she? What is important to her? How important is she politically? Why do you think she keeps her diary? What are her frustrations with life at court? How typical/atypical is she as a woman in Heian Japan?
Lady Murasaki was a Japanese poet at the Imperial court and served under Empress Shōshi. She writes this diary during her experiences at court and she finds the life of a lady-in-waiting, or a servant that has social certainty, and the events that are unfolded in court are important. She describes in her diary how she feels helpless at court and she is unhappy with her low rank in society compared to others in the Fujiwara clan which frustrates her, but makes her more inclined to write about it and keep a diary. She is a pretty typical woman in Heian Japan, but she often writes about how the other court women were less educated than her and that she was stronger-willed.
2. What does the text reveal about the political world of Heian Japan? What is the role of the emperor? What is the role of the regent? Which is more ‘important’? How do people gain and maintain political power? What happens to those who lose political power?
During the Heian period of Japan the land was controlled by family clans and whoever was the most powerful family held the most importance. Within the family there is also ranks of political power branching down from the Emperor and Empress, but most of the other ranks are all related to each other through the family clan. The Emperor is the head of the family clan is said to be in that position by a heavenly right, while a regent is more of a governor addressing political issues. Both are important, but while the Emperor is the symbol of the people and their unity, the regent sparingly makes the differences in how the people get to live.
3. What does the text reveal about the roles of men in Heian Japan? How are they...