The Diary of Lady Murasaki Reflection

Topics: Murasaki Shikibu, Heian period, Childbirth Pages: 2 (480 words) Published: November 5, 2012
The Diary of Lady Murasaki, gives the reader a glimpse of the imperial court during eleventh century Japan. Being an attendant in the imperial court, Murasaki is frequently involved with the activities of elite. As a woman, Lady Murasaki's descriptions are oriented around clothing, appearance, and the position of woman in Heian Japan.

Lady Murasaki was the most educated woman in the court. She acknowledges learning the Chinese classics from listening to her brother’s lessons. She cautiously expressed for discretion in regards to her knowledge, since education was restricted for women due to the prejudices against women in the Buddhist convictions. Murasaki kept a personal diary, and spent her days filling it with notes from the daily activities of the court. I was a form of entertainment for Murasaki due to the lack of “excitement” in the court. The notes were almost making a mockery of the court and their way of life. She talked a lot about women and their role during the time period in Japan. There wasn’t much going on inside the imperial court. The ladies-in-waiting spent there days engaged in gossip they had no other real responsibilities. The woman of the court wore lavish colorful garments. There were very strict rules on what colors the women were allowed to wear. For example, only woman from a certain rank were allowed to wear yellow-green or red, but it was restricted to only jackets, figured silk and printed trains. Only on special occasions, like the birth of a prince, were all ranks dressed in white. The woman also had very long luxurious hair. This was also a sign of rank in the imperial court.

The way Lady Murasaki describes the women of the court, it seems that their true position was to serve as the eye candy. They weren’t educated, except for a small number of them, and they didn’t have any real power in the dynasty. During this time women faced severe isolation with limited education. Women in the Heian period were defined by restrictions of...
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