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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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Physical Space

Physical Space

The Sites of Courtship

(p.11) Chapter 1 Physical Space
Mapping Courtship and Kinship in Classical Japan

Doris G. Bargen

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter maps out the sites of courtship in The Tale of Genji. In the imaginary world of Heian courtship, space is so important that female characters in Genji are often known by their residential location. The spaces that matter, in increasing order of importance, are the city (Heian-kyō, later known as Kyōto) and its environs, the temples and shrines of the city's periphery and center, the Imperial Palace (dairi) within the Greater Imperial Palace (daidairi), and the residence of the woman who is the desired object of courtship. What also matters is the road—that is, the space in between the nobleman's more or less temporary dwelling and the courted woman's residence. In the normative pattern, the peripatetic courtier—unlike the aristocratic woman—cannot easily be fixed in space.

Keywords:   mapping courtship, Heian-kyō, female characters, locations, physical space, residence

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