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Waseda University


Waseda University via edX


The Tale of Genji is said to be the world's oldest full-length story, but it is not just old and long. What should be emphasized above all is that, 1,000 years ago, women such as Murasaki Shikibu were at the center of a great cultural project: the creation of literature with a long life.

The success of these women was an epoch-making event in human history.

On the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that The Tale of Genji is encouraging the creation of the next generation of culture. From Genji-e and Genji Noh to modern manga, movies, and theater, a variety of cultures that can be called ``Genji culture'' continue unbroken.

This course not only introduces the contents of "The Tale of Genji," said to be the world's oldest full-length story, but also covers the lives, customs, and aesthetic sense of Japanese aristocrats 1,000 years ago, as well as the cities and society of that time. , systems, etc., we place emphasis on using materials to explain them. Therefore, students will be able to grasp the world of stories concretely and three-dimensionally.

At the same time, by focusing on The Tale of Genji and the history of its reception, we hope that participants will be able to approach the foundations of Japanese culture that have continued since ancient times, or the roots of Japanese culture's spirituality. It has been constructed.

*This course is produced by the "Top Global University Creation Support Project - Waseda University International Center for Japanese Studies." Learn more about .

*This course has a Japanese version and an English version, and the content is the same. If you would like to take the course in English, please click here .


Section 1: Visualizing the world of “The Tale of Genji”

1.1 Section 1 Overview

1.2 Story content of “The Tale of Genji”

1.3 People seen in “National Treasure: The Tale of Genji Emaki”

1.4 Section 1 Test

1.5 Section 1 Report

Section 2: People and their lives in The Tale of Genji

2.1 Section 2 Overview

2.2 Life cycle of aristocrats

2.3 Heiankyo, Dairi, and annual events

2.4 Costume and living space

2.5 Section 2 Tests

2.6 Section 2 Report

Section 3: The Tale of Genji and the Emperor, Institutions, and Society

3.1 Section 3 Overview

3.2 The Emperors and “The Tale of Genji”

3.3 Era of regent politics

3.4 Central and local governance system

3.5 Section 3 Tests

3.6 Section 3 Report

Section 4: Japanese culture seen through “The Tale of Genji”

4.1 Section 4 Overview

4.2 The influence of “The Tale of Genji” seen through waka poetry

4.3 Japanese culture brought about by “The Tale of Genji”

4.4 Inheritance from The Tale of Genji

4.5 Section 4 Tests

4.6 Section 4 Report

Taught by

陣野 英則



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