AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Discussion > Older Series

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2009-01-19, 13:24   Link #61
Cal-Reflector
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue7/tyler.html

"Gender Relations in the Tales of Genji."

The essay provides a concise and accessible lesson on the background of society and characters in the Tales of Genji. It was certainly informative to me, and I feel as though I better understand the times and customs as a result.

I was surprised to learn that Tales of Genji is cause for shit storms in anime forums and academic circles alike; in brief, people either regard Genji as a considerate and tragic lover or a chauvinistic rapist. The author of the article above, as far as I can tell, tries to analyze the events of Genji based on the norms of Lady Murasaki's time.

Significantly, the author makes the point that a lady of good standing and upbringing could not by her own initiative accept a gentleman's sexual advances, since such a liaison carries many political consequences. Usually, the decision could only be made by direction from a superior authority, usually the lady's father. A problem that arises repeatedly in Genji is when the lady's father is dead, and the lady is reluctant or unable to make the decision whether to accept or not, even though she may be romantically inclined towards the suitor.
__________________
Cal-Reflector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-19, 18:45   Link #62
Nerroth
Alea iacta est.
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 34
Some of the issues raised on that page are troubling - most notably on the kind of twisted rules in a society which would lead to such a result.
__________________
Nerroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-19, 19:45   Link #63
Cal-Reflector
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerroth View Post
Some of the issues raised on that page are troubling - most notably on the kind of twisted rules in a society which would lead to such a result.
I think the important point was: It was a different time, with different norms of morality, so judging behavior back then through a modern lens is problematic. Male-centered societies are certainly not unique to 11th (?) century Japan, so the most fruitful way to enjoy the story may be to accept the narrator's POV as representative of what might be considered good or unacceptable back then; nor does Murasaki fail to mention Genji's failings as a husband and human.
__________________
Cal-Reflector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 01:49   Link #64
Kaoru Chujo
Kuno Misaki
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal-Reflector View Post
http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue7/tyler.html "Gender Relations in the Tales of Genji."....
Fascinating essay by the most recent great translator of the Genji. Thanks for the link. He doesn't put the opposition's points in much detail, but he makes his own in a fair way, it seems to me. As someone who loves this story, I'd like to say:

One, part of the joy of reading the Genji is to find oneself in such a different society. The only way to get the maximum benefit of that is to try to see things as people in those days would have seen them.

Two, I agree with the idea that the real center of the tale is the women in it, not Genji. He is the thread of the tale, but it is the stories of the women he encounters that give the tale its depth and flavour.

Three, using a word like "rape" to describe events in the book is useful for modern political activity, but violates the integrity of this ancient story. It is political commentary rather than literary criticism. Fair enough, but only one way of looking at things.

Four, Genji does coerce at least a couple of women, but in what seems to me and to Tyler to be a fairly humane way, under the circumstances of the time. The results for the women end up being pretty good, as they would not be either today or probably even in real life back then, as opposed to in this romantic tale. The mythical Genji never abandons a woman he has been with even once, and almost always seems to make their lives better than they might otherwise have been.

Five, from the point of view of pure popular literature and fantasy enjoyment, the amazing romantic encounters are certainly an important element of the appeal of the book, both to men and to women, despite or even because of the coercion. We don't just enjoy things that show society as it should be or people acting as we think they should. Literature is not social propaganda, but a voyage into the unconscious.

I'd also like to say that the first ten or so chapters of the novel contain most of the sexual encounters, but although they are the most famous chapters, the novel just gets better after that, and the last ten chapters, which are like a separate novel, are the best, dealing with the young lord Kaoru and the sisters at Uji (who are known as the "bridge princesses," or hashihime).

By the way, Cal-Reflector, the novel was written at the very end of the tenth century and beginning of the eleventh, so I think you could say it represents tenth century society. I'm not sure, but I think the title of the anime Genji Monogatari Sennenki means "Tale of Genji Thousandth Anniversary."

I visited the supposed tomb of the author, Lady Murasaki, in Kyoto a couple of years ago. It is just a small mound and a gravestone down a little alleyway opposite the Palace. You can go there and burn a stick of incense to her. Great experience.
__________________
Kuno Misaki 久野美咲 age 21. 2009 - King of Thorn (Alie). 2010 - Oreimo (Bridget). 2012 - Black Rock Shooter (Hiro). 2013 - Problem children (Melln). Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS (Mimi), Log Horizon (Serara), Galilei Donna (Grande Rosso). 2014 - Noragami (Keiichi), Escha and Logy (Kuu), Zvezda Plot (Hoshimiya Kate/Venera-sama), Wixoss (Tama), Mahouka Koukou (Kasuga Nanami), Flag o Oraretara (Kurumiko), Nanana (Saki), Seven Deadly Sins (Hawk).
Hashihime blog | Twitter @nakanokimi | autumn 2014 previews | autumn 2014 schedule |
characters/seiyuus: Sailor Moon Crystal | Akatsuki no Yona | Amagi Brilliant Park | Coffin-Princess Chaika | Cross Ange | Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai | Danna ga Nani ga Itteru | Denkigai no Honya-san | Donten ni Warau | Fate/Stay Night UBW | Le Fruit de la Grisaia | Gugure! Kokkuri-san | Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de | Madan no Ou to Vanadis | Orenchi no Furo Jijou | Seven Deadly Sins | Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso | Shirobako | Sora no Method | Tribe Cool Crew | Trinity Seven | Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete | Wixoss
Kaoru Chujo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 02:05   Link #65
stormy001_M1A2
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Send a message via MSN to stormy001_M1A2
I wonder if the anime going to animate the scene where Genji have butt sex with a boy out of frustration because he unable to screw the boy's sister.
__________________
stormy001_M1A2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 02:51   Link #66
Kaoru Chujo
Kuno Misaki
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormy001_M1A2 View Post
I wonder if the anime going to animate the scene where Genji have butt sex with a boy out of frustration because he unable to screw the boy's sister.
It could. In the novel, it just says he had him stay the night with him. Nothing is ever described graphically of any sexual encounter in the novel. We have no idea -- except human intuition -- of what they did beyond just being with each other. As you know, Alexander the Great, Plato, Socrates...all the great ancient Greeks took that kind of thing for granted, too. Other times, other mores. Don't try this at home, lol.
__________________
Kuno Misaki 久野美咲 age 21. 2009 - King of Thorn (Alie). 2010 - Oreimo (Bridget). 2012 - Black Rock Shooter (Hiro). 2013 - Problem children (Melln). Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS (Mimi), Log Horizon (Serara), Galilei Donna (Grande Rosso). 2014 - Noragami (Keiichi), Escha and Logy (Kuu), Zvezda Plot (Hoshimiya Kate/Venera-sama), Wixoss (Tama), Mahouka Koukou (Kasuga Nanami), Flag o Oraretara (Kurumiko), Nanana (Saki), Seven Deadly Sins (Hawk).
Hashihime blog | Twitter @nakanokimi | autumn 2014 previews | autumn 2014 schedule |
characters/seiyuus: Sailor Moon Crystal | Akatsuki no Yona | Amagi Brilliant Park | Coffin-Princess Chaika | Cross Ange | Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai | Danna ga Nani ga Itteru | Denkigai no Honya-san | Donten ni Warau | Fate/Stay Night UBW | Le Fruit de la Grisaia | Gugure! Kokkuri-san | Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de | Madan no Ou to Vanadis | Orenchi no Furo Jijou | Seven Deadly Sins | Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso | Shirobako | Sora no Method | Tribe Cool Crew | Trinity Seven | Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete | Wixoss
Kaoru Chujo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 03:33   Link #67
Cal-Reflector
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Seeing how the anime has already elaborated so much on events barely referred to in the novel, I'm going to treat this show as it is on its own, ala Romeo and Juliet and Gankutsuou by Gonzo.

Therefore, my interest in the story so far is: Hot damn, boy. What're you going to do now??
__________________
Cal-Reflector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 03:39   Link #68
jennkei
Screenshot Fiend
 
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Did I hear someone mention yaoi akshun?! XD

Don't worry, I'm past that phase. >.> Hmmm. At the end of ep one Genji's just starting out, eh...so many women to seduce, so little time. -wry-
__________________
jennkei is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 06:35   Link #69
Shiroth
Beautiful fighter.
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: England, UK
Age: 28
Thanks a lot for the novel and maybe anime spoiler, stormy001_M1A2.
__________________
Shiroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 11:11   Link #70
Secca
nya`
*Artist
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
I got to say this is very delicious. Like Kaoru Chujo said it's a tale from a different society entirely. Before watching this show, you just have to close your eyes, forget about everything you know, get rid of other thoughts. Then get yourself absorbed in to the play. I stil blushing from watching the first episode. >_<

ps. Pretty please put spoiler tag for the novels?
__________________
Secca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 11:34   Link #71
Exias
Sock Monster
*Fansubber
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiroth View Post
Thanks a lot for the novel and maybe anime spoiler, stormy001_M1A2.
It is an ancient novel, I don't think that constitutes a spoiler. Here's a spoiler from the bible. Jesus died.
__________________
- Midashi! (Currently subbing Genji Monogatari Sennenki).
Exias is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 11:35   Link #72
Shiroth
Beautiful fighter.
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: England, UK
Age: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exias View Post
It is an ancient novel, I don't think that constitutes a spoiler. Here's a spoiler from the bible. Jesus died.
It's still a spoiler from the novel (and one that could appear in the adaptation). Rules are spoilers from the original source go in spoiler tags, or not posted at all.
__________________
Shiroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-20, 18:39   Link #73
Nerroth
Alea iacta est.
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal-Reflector View Post
I think the important point was: It was a different time, with different norms of morality, so judging behavior back then through a modern lens is problematic. Male-centered societies are certainly not unique to 11th (?) century Japan, so the most fruitful way to enjoy the story may be to accept the narrator's POV as representative of what might be considered good or unacceptable back then; nor does Murasaki fail to mention Genji's failings as a husband and human.
There are some ideas and concepts which are not tied to one particular era or culture, but which have re-surfaced time and again across human history - and which we should not simply cast aside or compartmentalise because it happened in such-and-such a place at this-or-that a time.

No society operates in a vacuum - and indeed, the man who was already having people build temples in his name across the parts of the islands not still under Ainu control would likely have had as much to say against such rigid societal stratification and problematic cultural norms as he did when speaking against the caste system which was all too prominent in the Ganges plain of his time... and which is, even now, the subject of fierce debate in modern times.

So long as our histories, cultural ideas and various heritages play a role in our development as a species, it's as fair to use a critical eye on the past as it is on the present - as we try to figure out what kind of world we want to see in the future.

(It was odd timing to read that post at the time I was watching Michael Wood's The Story of India documentary, at a point where he was discussing the theological debates held under the Mughal emperor Akbar, the efforts at bridging the gulf between Islam and Hinduism under Dara, and the long-reaching reactionary attitude of Aurangzeb - and he made the point "Can we judge the past by the standards of the 21st century? Should we judge our time by theirs?")

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
Three, using a word like "rape" to describe events in the book is useful for modern political activity, but violates the integrity of this ancient story. It is political commentary rather than literary criticism. Fair enough, but only one way of looking at things.
Whether it happened five minutes or five millennia ago, rape is still rape.


(As an aside, in the book accompanying that documentary, there was a mention of the mosque at Ayodhia, torn down by a mob of militant Hindus in 1992 - as a communal act of supposed retribution, since it was said that the mosque was built on the ancient birthplace of Ram, the deified hero of the Ramayana. Only, as it happens, the whole thing was a mass delusion - the archaeological team which was, ironically, funded by a Hindu nationalist government to 'prove the truth of the myth' instead proved that there had been no significant structure on the site prior to the medieval era. Quite sobering to think that the kind of tales and legends that might to some be isolated from the modern world can have - or rather, what happens when the worst, rather than the best, of our ancestors is drawn from for succour.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoru Chujo View Post
As you know, Alexander the Great, Plato, Socrates...all the great ancient Greeks took that kind of thing for granted, too.
And the main thing that many Greeks of his time were bothered with was not that Hephaestion was a man - it was that he and Alexander were around the same age...
__________________

Last edited by Nerroth; 2009-01-20 at 18:53.
Nerroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-21, 06:58   Link #74
WanderingKnight
Gregory House
*IT Support
 
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Age: 25
Send a message via MSN to WanderingKnight
Quote:
As you know, Alexander the Great, Plato, Socrates...all the great ancient Greeks took that kind of thing for granted, too.
The fact that they're famous doesn't make them either great nor right.

But that's ignoring the fact that they considered women only worthy of attention when it came to procreation. That's why later in life all the philosophers, who could afford a longer lifespan due to the fact that they didn't have to work their asses off, turned their attention towards men.

Ancient Greek society was probably several times more misogynistic than Japan ever was.
__________________


Place them in a box until a quieter time | Lights down, you up and die.
WanderingKnight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-21, 08:54   Link #75
SuperKnuckles
Anime Hobbyist
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
I heard the same thing from a college lecture too, and the professor had the same idea as the students. No matter the era they were in, forcing themselves sexually was just a messed up thing, normally to get that all important attention. We see the same thing with a lot of romance novels nowadays as well. lots of wedlock situations, lots of rape, incest, all that stuff. When kings and leaders took it for granted, it's because they were in absolute seats of power. You call them for it and you're getting beheaded. And of course, that's not the same as the homosexual stuff that occurred consensually. That's a different issue altogether.

Also, all the crazy sexual adventures within family reminds me of many ancient mythologies. I guess the overall idea is the same. Put weird family connections and yet weirder morality on top. That basically is Genji in a nutshell.
SuperKnuckles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-21, 20:17   Link #76
Kaoru Chujo
Kuno Misaki
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Nice discussion. Just wait until we actually have more of the real story to discuss, lol.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperKnuckles View Post
...Also, all the crazy sexual adventures within family reminds me of many ancient mythologies. I guess the overall idea is the same. Put weird family connections and yet weirder morality on top. That basically is Genji in a nutshell.
That is Genji leaving out all the important bits, lol. I just come back to the necessity of trying to see a narrative from another time in the context of its own time. If you don't, then it is impossible to see the characters as anything other than caricatures. You just can't understand them or their stories. I think they and their stories are worth knowing and taking seriously on their own terms.

And Nerroth, rape is still rape only if it's rape. The piece by Tyler wraps the events in a number of important subtleties. In some sense, a lot of marriage in the past was not much different from rape. Understanding the psychology of women in such a harrowing society is one of the interesting things about the Genji.

And WanderingKnight, the great ancient Greeks were, in my opinion, right enough for their time. Sure that society was ridiculously misogynistic, but not moreso than too many others, even today. It would be hard to go through history and find many societies that weren't. I was just trying to say that moral standards vary from society to society, and most can make a case for saying they are following the rule of not doing to others what they wouldn't want done to them, which is the only universal standard of morality I can think of.

Genji's society was as patriarchal as any other, but women in those days created Japanese literature. Men all wrote serious prose and poetry in Chinese, the way people in medieval Europe wrote in Latin. Almost all of that stuff is forgotten, but the diaries in Japanese of several women, and this novel, still remain among the greatest classics of Japanese literature. As do the short poems written in Japanese by men and women as a sort of social exchange, in poetry contests, or like text messages after a date.

In any case, morality is important, but we can't see every story as some kind of sermon, and reject all stories that contain events of which we would disapprove if they happened in our own time. I imagine our ideas will seem quaint or brutal in a few centuries from now, too.

Apologies for any novel spoilers in previous posts. I will try to restrain myself.
__________________
Kuno Misaki 久野美咲 age 21. 2009 - King of Thorn (Alie). 2010 - Oreimo (Bridget). 2012 - Black Rock Shooter (Hiro). 2013 - Problem children (Melln). Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS (Mimi), Log Horizon (Serara), Galilei Donna (Grande Rosso). 2014 - Noragami (Keiichi), Escha and Logy (Kuu), Zvezda Plot (Hoshimiya Kate/Venera-sama), Wixoss (Tama), Mahouka Koukou (Kasuga Nanami), Flag o Oraretara (Kurumiko), Nanana (Saki), Seven Deadly Sins (Hawk).
Hashihime blog | Twitter @nakanokimi | autumn 2014 previews | autumn 2014 schedule |
characters/seiyuus: Sailor Moon Crystal | Akatsuki no Yona | Amagi Brilliant Park | Coffin-Princess Chaika | Cross Ange | Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai | Danna ga Nani ga Itteru | Denkigai no Honya-san | Donten ni Warau | Fate/Stay Night UBW | Le Fruit de la Grisaia | Gugure! Kokkuri-san | Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de | Madan no Ou to Vanadis | Orenchi no Furo Jijou | Seven Deadly Sins | Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso | Shirobako | Sora no Method | Tribe Cool Crew | Trinity Seven | Ushinawareta Mirai o Motomete | Wixoss
Kaoru Chujo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-21, 21:12   Link #77
Ascaloth
I don't give a damn, dude
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In Despair
Age: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
The fact that they're famous doesn't make them either great nor right.
Interesting. Please define "right".
Ascaloth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-21, 21:17   Link #78
Nerroth
Alea iacta est.
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 34
The ancient Greeks were notably stricter with their women than many of their neighbours - a point they, and the Romans, made pains to point out (and disparage) when they saw different gender relations among the likes of, for example, the Gauls and ancient Britons.

(Unfortunately, certain of their former neighbours, such as the Carthaginians, have lost much of their own voice, in terms of telling us about their own cultures - thanks to a certain group's 'activities'...)


And in the case of Heian-era Japan, again, the culture of the time (if there really was just one culture - one could argue that the city was rather different depending on whether you were stuck in one of those closed-off cho or not, even without referring to the various regional groups which would eventually shift the economic weight to what would become Osaka, the political prominence to Kamakura, and the demographic weight into a wider range of sites than had hitherto been the case) was neither static nor in isolation, not from its neighbours, nor from either its antecedents or its successors.

(There were Empresses in earlier times, and the first named leader in Yamataikoku in Chinese records was the priestess-queen Himiko - plus there is the matter of how the Ainu, who still held much of northern Honshu and Hokkaido at the time, did things.)


Ultimately, I would argue - again - that judging a work, any work, purely on the standards of the day is limited, as indeed would only referring to the present day as a contrast (although trying to plumb the highs and lows of human society over the last several thousand years is a lot for anyone to try and chew on...) but ultimately tie into certain concepts which could be argued to be common to all of humanity.

(While the example I made of Ayodhia was an extreme one, there are those who claim to look to certain eras and groups as paragons of virtue, which they would intend to see replicated in the present day - and we leave those kinds of questions unargued at our peril...)

Besides, it's not like we won't be judged in times to come - and how will they accept our failings and successes, and judge our place in the development of the species?
__________________
Nerroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-21, 23:41   Link #79
Leo_Otaku
俺たちはリトルバスターズ!
 
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Canada/ Winterpeg
Age: 28
Send a message via AIM to Leo_Otaku Send a message via MSN to Leo_Otaku
0_0 oh god how can this not be an OVA XD I've got to see this.
Leo_Otaku is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2009-01-22, 00:12   Link #80
Cinocard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
You do know how illicit couples were treated back in those days, even if there were royal blood involved, right? What's with those "rape was acceptable" ?

Spoiler for Novel:


Quote:
In some sense, a lot of marriage in the past was not much different from rape.
You said we shouldn't rely on modern ethic to view accent literature characters. With people in the past that kind of forced marriage wasn't rape. Rape was rape.

And even if he does love his women, and MOST OF THE TIME, the women also do love him and willing to be in an adventure, wrong is wrong, despite the motive. That said, there were also time he acts like animal.

Just admit it. I know, we all know, the higher a man is in society, the more fuck up his relationship gets. It's true for the past. It's true for today, and may be even for the far future. But rape and incest would never become a right thing. Rapers never are great. Unless someday having sex replaces a handshake.
Cinocard is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
noitamina

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 13:41.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.