Genji Classical Hero

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Genji, the protagonist from Murasaki Shikibu’s novel The Tale of Genji, should be considered a classical hero. Although it can be contested whether or not, on the whole, Genji was a total classical hero or not one at all, it is important to consider that the novel was not written with the idea of creating a story about a classical hero. That being said, when comparing the traits of a classical hero to the traits of Genji, there is significant overlap which leads to the argument that Genji is, in fact, a classical hero. For the purposes of this paper, a classical hero will be defined as a person who stands above the rest as they exhibit exceptional qualities that their culture value but these classical heros are also guilty of excess as they 're…show more content…
In the case of the Tale of Genji, the most important things that men could do did not relate to statecraft or fighting but rather to art and beauty. Crucially, Genji throughout the book was described as having these skills as well as other skills more so than everyone else in that society. The first way in which Genji was exceptional was his capabilities in music specifically on the lute. Music in the Japanese court was extremely important and often the focal point of celebrations and other affairs in the court. At one point, Genji plays the lute at a court affair and his performance was so great that his father-in-law had “tear in [his] eyes” (135). Even more importantly, Genji is often described as better than professionals because of his noble birth, which by nature means that he better than someone who trains their entire lives. This supports the idea that Genji is a classical hero because not only is Genji an extraordinary musician but by birth, he was better than the average Japanese man thus seemed destined for something great. Crucially, Genji is not a man who worked to be the best at one skill, but rather by birth, he was better at so many things and is thus a classical hero. Even beyond Genji’s skills in music and the arts, Genji was also incredibly handsome even at a young age for when he was still very young, he was described as a “lad of such beauty that he hardly seemed meant for this world” (18). So despite the fact that Genji was still just a child, he seemed once again by birth to better than everyone and in this instance, it was in his natural beauty. The aspects of beauty and art are especially important as Kukai, an influential Buddhist monk at the time, argued that beauty was linked to the Buddhist truths while beauty was linked to the divine nature of things. So in describing Genji as outstanding in terms of art and
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