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Mapping Courtship and Kinship in Classical JapanThe Tale of Genji and Its Predecessors$
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Doris G. Bargen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824851545

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824851545.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Mapping Courtship and Kinship in Classical Japan

Doris G. Bargen

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter emphasizes the interconnectedness between the place of courtship and the literal and figurative movements of its participants by exploring anthropological and political approaches to The Tale of Genji. It looks closely at a scene from Chapter 13 (“Akashi”) that features hybrid courtship combining parental arrangement with an individual courtship initiative without kaimami (lit., “looking through a gap in the fence;” a uniquely Japanese form of erotic hide-and-seek that is the central trope of courtship in the Genji). Taken together, the courtships described in this chapter drive the narrative in ways that critics of the Genji have sometimes touched upon but never fully explored. They form the vital core of this book's attempt to map the phenomenon of courtship in the Genji and in a number of other tenth-and early eleventh-century texts that shed light upon the courtship scenes in Murasaki Shikibu's immensely complex masterpiece.

Keywords:   The Tale of Genji, kaimami, Heian courtship, mapping courtship, courtship scenes, hybrid courtship, political approaches

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