Heian Court Life In Sei Shōnagon's The Pillow Book

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The Heian period was denoted as the era of the aristocrats in Japan’s timeline. During this period, women created some of the greatest writing throughout Japan’s history, the most sophisticated and highly desired one being poetry. These poems allowed for an outsider to get an insight of Japan’s society and culture at the time. One of the celebrated author’s of this time was Sei Shōnagon, her most famous work being The Pillow Book. Although her work has been consecutively ridiculed as a poor depiction of the Heian court life, it has also been thought of as comical. A deeper look into Shōnagon’s work shows that this comical relief, also known as okashi, has been included to express her own personal observations and opinions. Although, Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book may be viewed as a frivolous portrayal of court life, with the inclusion of satire and okashi it illustrates an insightful and contrasting perspective of the Heian period. At a first glance, The Pillow Book can be seen as a simple diary …show more content…

Due to the false perception they projected to the society by covering their faults. In her excerpt she says, “A women who has taken off her false locks to comb the short hair that remains” (Shōnagon, Pg. 276). During this period “ how one appeared in the eyes of others was the never-ending concern of the members of the court circle” (Hane, Pg. 61). One of the main physical attributes women needed to obtain was long hair to be considered beautiful. Shōnagon is using satire to show how women who didn 't posses long hair wouldn’t be considered in this society and thus had to conform by obtaining “false locks”. By the addition of this sentence to an entry called Things That have Lost Their Power it shows how this one attribute can destroy the life of an

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