Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

East Asian Languages and Culture: Japanese

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



The Heian classic tale Genji monogatari (c. early eleventh century) follows the amorous adventures of the Shining Prince Genji. After his death, the text continues to depict the romantic affairs of the next generation. Over the course of fifty-four chapters, an image of Heian-era romance comes to life, fraught with ambiguities surrounding romantic entanglements. The term “marriage” itself is contentious, as it is difficult to determine how the text interprets the marriage system and relationship practices at the time. The unclear stratification of women leaves many of the monogatari’s main female figures living in insecurity, where informal marriage seems to entail reliance on the husband’s feelings. An exploration of relationships in the text investigates curiously monogamous elements, namely the appeal of the concept, present within the text. Further, this thesis uncovers feelings of anxiety as they are filtered through the presence of monogatari within the story, which inspire women to lament the discrepancy between fairytale-like marriages and their own stressful realities.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Dr. Jamie Newhard

Committee Members

Dr. Rebecca Copeland, Dr. Marvin Marcus


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