Sample Art Essays on Heian Japanese

Contradictions that have existed within this period were on the role of women and their influences on society. There is the notion that women only understood Japanese writing and not Chinese. The Tale of Genji and Pillow book paint a comprehensive picture of a woman’s life during the Heian period. The idea behind the lack of literacy of reading Chines literature and good reading of Japanese poetry is demystified through the two books (Morrow 7).

The writings indicate that women were given certain creative freedoms than men. It is interesting that men mimicked women so as to write women’s literature. Considering that the society at the time was more traditional, patriarchal society, it can also be argued that women had it rather well than Western standards (Silva-Grondin 5).

Love at that time was very different and the whole concept of fear as was painted in Genji. Society did not accept speaking of parts of one’s body. Women and men could not see each other and were mostly separated by a screen at all times. Men were given priority when it came to showing respect and social standings. Women married to get social standings and at times were stopped from venturing above there stations (Morrow 4).

Men at the time seemed to be given much more freedom than women. They could cheat on them without any consequence while the opposite was not possible. Women were also married off against their will which was the normal. Women were educated in both Chines and Japanese literature but choose to pretend not to have knowledge of Chines out of respect for men. Men mostly were influenced by Chines culture as such the pretense was intended to show respect but they were educated in both literatures.


Works Cited

Morrow, Avery. “What was life like for women during the Heian Period in Japan?” 22 October 2014. Quora. 10 April 2018 <>.

Silva-Grondin, Mallary, A. “Women in Ancient Japan: From Matriarchal Antiquity to Acquiescent Confinement.” 2010. Inquiries. 10 April 2018 <>.