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Middle Heian Era
Terms in this set (25)
When was the Middle Heian Era?
Sekkan politics of the Fujiwara family
Sesshō and Kanpaku
Who was the first Fujiwara sesshō?
Fujiwara no Yoshifusa
When was the height of the Sekkan politics of the Fujiwara family?
1000CE with Fujiwara no Michinaga
Shōen: Privately owned (by aristocrats / imperial family); Tax-free
Kōryō: Public land, belong to the nation; Taxed. Governor (Kokushi)
Syllabic Japanese scripts developed during the Middle Heian
Tale of Genji, Pillow Book, Kokinshū, Diaries
Author of the Tale of Genji, served Fujiwara no Shōshi
Author of Pillow Book, served Fujiwara no Teishi
Who was both Fujiwara no Shōshi and Fujiwara no Teishi married to?
What are some of the characteristics of the Heian Aristocracy?
Blackened teeth, plucked eyebrows, scent (incense), layers (12), directional taboo, and excorcisms
Bittersweet awareness of the transience of things
"Circle"; symbolizes the Absolute, enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void
Something that is charming, amusing, delightful
"Elegance," "refinement," or "courtliness"
Pillow Book and Bug Lady: What can you tell about aestheticism of the Heian Era? Consider her sensibilities to season, color, smell, etc.
From reading the Pillow Book, you can learn a little about the aestheticism of the Heian Era. For example, throughout the Pillow Book, Sei Shonagon mentions colors that people shouldn't be wearing during certain times of the year, such as "wearing a red-plum robe in the Third or Fourth Month" or "wearing layered white robes in the Eighth Month." You can also learn in the Pillow Book about how important letters were and how important that it was to make them look as nice as possible by using the right paper, writing as prettily as possible, etc. which is why Sei Shonagon talks about how disappointing it is when the letter is sent back damaged because the messenger couldn't deliver it.
Pillow Book and Bug Lady: What can you tell about the ways animals are treated by the noble class of the Heian Era?
The way animals are treated by the noble class depends on whether or not they own the animal and how much affection they give the animal. For example, the Emperor loved his cat whose name was Lady Myobu of Fifth Rank and even had a servant appointed to watch over her and take care of her. At the same time, the Emperor orders one of the palace dogs, Okinamaro, to be killed after he chased Lady Myobu.
Pillow Book and Bug Lady: What can you tell about the religious beliefs or practices (consider Buddhism, Shinto as well as superstitions)?
In the Pillow Book, you can learn a small amount about Buddhist monks when Sei Shonagon talks about how she believes it is sad when parents send their son away to be a monk. Sei Shonagon describes how the son would have to eat vegetarian food, practice celibacy, constantly be criticized, and learn how to conduct exorcisms. She also points out some superstitions such as moving to a new house to avoid a directional taboo and people looking down on the north side of a house.
Pillow Book and Bug Lady: What role did composing poem play in the lives of nobility? How were they evaluated?
Composing poem play in the lives of nobility was a big deal. They were expected to be able to craft clever poems and were criticized and faced disappointment if they were found to have sent a mediocre poem. They were also expected to make sure that the paper the poem was written on was the best possible paper for that poem and to make sure that the poem was written beautifully.
Pillow Book and Bug Lady: Read, Keene, Anthology of Japanese Literature, pp.170-176 (The Lady Who Loved Insects). How is the main character defy the expectations of noblewoman?
Some of the ways that the main characters defy the expectations of a noblewoman is that she loved insects and wasn't afraid to collect or hold them, refused to pluck the hair from her eyebrows, and refused to blacken her teeth. She would also never sit in the same room as her elders.
Pillow Book and Bug Lady: What lesson /moral story does "The Lady Who Loved Insects" try to teach to the readers?
The lesson/moral of the "The Lady Who Loved Insects" is that you should not have to always follow the cultural expectations and instead should just be yourself. The girl throughout the story shows this by constantly explaining to people that it should not matter if she likes insects, doesn't blacken her teeth, doesn't trim her hair, doesn't pluck her eyebrows, etc.
Tale of Genji: How did Prince Genji meet "Lady Yugao"?
Prince Genji met Lady Yugao when he went to visit his old foster mother and saw Lady Yugao flowers when he was waiting for someone to open the gate for him. He requested that his servant pick some of them so he could take them and as the servant went to pick them, a woman appeared and left a fan with a poem written on it.
Tale of Genji: How do you describe "Lady Yugao"?
If it weren't for the fact that the summary said that Lady Yugao was technically a part of Genji's lowest class for woman, I would not be able to tell that Lady Yugao was suppose to be a part of that class. She is described vaguely in the story to seem as if she was the most beautiful woman that Genji had ever seen.
Tale of Genji: What happened to "Lady Yugao"?
Prince Genji had her sent to a deserted mansion after finally being able to meet her like he wanted to and when Lady Rokujo found out about Lady Yugao, she becomes a jealous spirit and kills Lady Yugao in the deserted mansion.
Tale of Genji: Who was "Lady Rokujo"?
Lady Rokujo was one of Prince Genji's lovers who he had been visiting when he met Lady Yugao. She was a possessive spirit who was incredibly jealous and ultimately ended up killing Lady Yugao in a fit of anger and jealousy.
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