The Life of Lady Murasaki
Have you ever heard of the intelligent Lady Murasaki? I will write about the life of Lady Murasaki in my paper. I chose this topic, because I learned a bit about her during the Japanese history unit this year, and I thought it was interesting. I also watched a video about her, and I wanted to know more details about her. Since last year was the 1,000th anniversary of The Tale of Genji, I thought it would be interesting to research about that too. I will write about the basic information of Lady Murasaki, such as the date and place she was born. Her personality and physical appearance will be explained in this section. Next, I will write about the childhood of Lady Murasaki, such as where she lived and how she was educated. Thirdly, I will write about Lady Murasaki’s family, and other members of Fujiwara Clan. Fourthly, I will write about the many accomplishments Lady Murasaki made, which includes The Tale of Genji, The Murasaki Shikibu Diary, and The Murasaki Shikibu Collections. I will also write a brief summary of The Tale of Genji, and explain how and why it was made. You will also be able to learn about the importance of Lady Murasaki as an author and how Lady Murasaki and Sei Shōnagon were rivals. I will also explain how Lady Murasaki’s accomplishments are influencing modern-day Japan. I will also compare Lady Murasaki with Sei Shōnagon, who was another famous Japanese female author, and explain the similarities and differences between them. Lady Murasaki, also known as Murasaki Shikibu, was a novelist, poet, and a lady-in-waiting of the imperial court during the Heian period. She was born about 973 in Kyoto. She is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, which was written during 1008-1020. “Murasaki Shikibu” was not her real name, which is still unknown. Some scholars have guessed that her given name might be Fujiwara no Takako. In her diary, she wrote that she was nicknamed “Murasaki” after a character in The Tale of Genji. “Shikibu” refers to her father’s position in Bureau of Ceremonies, Shikibu-sho. She was married to Fujiwara no Nobutaka in her early 20s and had one child, Daini no Sanmi. Murasaki died in 1025-1031, when she would have been in her mid-50s, which is fairly old by Heian standards. Lady Murasaki was an intelligent woman. However, in Murasaki Shikibu Diary, which is one of her famous accomplishments, she insulted Sei Shōnagon. Many people think that Lady Murasaki was a beautiful woman. Actually, she did not have a beautiful face and she was not skinny either, but she had long and black hair. The men during the Heian period thought women who had long and black hair were beautiful, so many men liked Lady Murasaki. I think the way the men during Heian period ranked the women is very interesting, because nowadays men rank women by their faces and personalities. After Lady Murasaki was born in Kyōto around 973, she stayed there with her mother. During the Heian period, couples lived separately and children were raised by their mother and her family. Her father taught her male education, because he wanted a boy child. Lady Murasaki learned kanji and classical Chinese literature, while other women learned kana and poetry. Her father praised her ability and intelligence, but lamented that she was born as a girl. Also, she liked to read and write from when she was a child. I think the education Lady Murasaki got was important, in order to create The Tale of Genji. Lady Murasaki was born in a family of minor nobility and a member of the northern branch of Fujiwara Clan. Her father was Fujiwara no Tametoki and her mother is still unknown. Her father was talented at waka, which is a genre of Japanese poem. She had a brother named Fujiwara no Nobunori, and he was also talented in waka. Lady Murasaki had a husband named Fujiwara no Nobutaka. There was a huge age difference between them because Lady Murasaki was Nobutaka’s second wife. Nobutaka had a son with his first wife...
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