Genji's Ideal Ideal Attitude

Prince Genji's Ideal Woman

In the Tale of Genji, Genji mentions about women's virtue in the second chapter that introduces one of the main themes of the novel: types of femininity and the qualities of an ideal woman. Genji and three companions regale each other through a night with anecdotes of women they have known and loved, describing somewhat clinically each womanfs faults and virtues.

To-no-Chujo, one of Genji's friends tells of a lover who bore him a daughter but who, ironically, lost his affection by being too meek and accommodating.

An ideal woman, they conclude, gdoes not try to display her scanty knowledge in full,h nor does she gscribble off Chinese characters,h rather she shows taste and restraint and is prepared to gfeign a little ignorance.h

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Also, when Genji had educated his lawful wife, Murasaki-no-ue, since he kidnapped her in her childhood. He taught her " Women should be meek and pretty," and "Young ladies should do as they are told." As he thought if he could take her into his house and make her his ideal, he succeeded to make her the second lawful wife though it is very doubtful if she was happy.

Here, he is describing his favorite type of women that they should be absent-mindedly soft instead of being intellectual.

" A woman who looks unreliable is pretty. Those who have a steady character and strong-minded can not be my favorite. Maybe because myself is not brisk and unreliable character, a woman who is honest and pure, and looks she is cheated by men unguardedly, and obeying her husband completely is pretty for me. If I could re-discipline this kind of woman as I like and live together, we would be able to live harmoniously."

Ideal Women in Edo period is defined exactly in Onna-daigaku which I introduced in "Learning for Woman" textbook in Edo.
It describes the various rules women must follow in order to effectively serve three generations; their fathers, their husbands and then their sons.