EGAWA TATSUYAâ€™S REINTERPRETATION OF THE TALE OF GENJI
Egawa Tatsuya is a male author who reinterpreted the Tale of Genji in the years of 2000-2005 to resonate with male readers (Rowley, 2020).The manga is the latest among the many mangaâ€™s on Tale of Genji. The reinterpretation by Egawa has been a source of Japanese national pride. He has represented the Japanese culture in a different genre by using picture scrolls. Egawa’s way of presenting the themes, plot, and his style of presenting the characters has been a basis for other male writers to derive ideas from. The original book was however written by Murasaki Shikibu during the Heian period. She presented her work to the women audience. Murasaki is one of the oldest eminent writers of the world. Being that she had acquired education, she was able to write excellently in both Japanese and Chinese linguistics.She accredits her work to her stay in the Heian courts, the ruling class from the Fujiwara family took her in immediately after the death of her husband, and hence she was able to witness the activities in the court. Murasaki’s work entailed love relations, activities of emperors, women problems, religion and the concept of death (Kamens, 2020).
In my work, Egawa has reinterpreted the facts of the original text through resignifying the main themes of the story such as women oppression and sexual violence caused by male chauvinism, political systems by the royal class, genuine romance and the theme of love as a substitute. Therefore I can argue that Egawaâ€™s manga of the Tale of Genji has remained faithful to Murasaki Shikibuâ€™s story. Egawa has also put into consideration the theme of death, though briefly, to reverberate with the traditional culture of Japan and the contemporary audience.Additionally, the points mentioned by Egawa are the true happenings of today’stoday’s world.
Sexual Violence and Women Oppression in Egawa Tatsuyaâ€™s Manga and How He Has Resignified It to Remain True to the Original Story
The manga of Tatsuya captures the scenes of sexual violence using different characters (Milutin, 2021). However, he portrays the sexual violence has consensual and mutually reached between the characters involved. He lengthens the instances of sexual encounters to discuss the episode comprehensively. For example he devotes at least 20 pages for the encounter between Utsusemi and Genji. He tries very hard to bring to the readers an affirmative sexual meetings because he doesnâ€™t want his male protagonist to be viewed as a guilty party. In the episode of the meeting between Genji and Utsusemi he adores Genji by describing him as a handsome and charming that the lady Utsusemi could not resist his advances.On one evening Genji tiptoes into Utsusemi and escapes with her to a quiet area and engages with her sexually. Egawa makes it known that Utsusemi reacted positively to the sexual act, in fact, she is heard sighing happily praising Genji for making love to her. Utsusemi describes the experience as if she had been possessed by a spirit. Egawa makes it ironical to see sex victims becoming affectionate to the agents of such acts.
Similarly in the pre-text Murasaki explores this scene widely, but she presents it as a real sexual violence that the victims always feel embarrassed and used. To her, Genji is the cunning characters who engages with women he doesn’t even have feeling for. In the case of Utsusemi Genji takes her to a hidden place against her will and abuses her sexually, forcing her into things he wasn’t prepared for. In as much as Genji feels happy for having satisfied his sexual needs, Utsusemi on the other hand feels angry and cries a lot. She uses this approach because she speaks for women, hence depicting Genji as a powerful character who doesn’t care about other people’s emotions and gets away with all the erroneous things he does.
How Egawa Tatsuyaâ€™s manga has Reinterpreted the aspect of Romance in the Tale of Genji
Egawa exploits the love encounter between Murasaki and Genji in a similar manner put by the original author, however he sexualizes the young Murasaki even before Genji makes her a wife. Egawa presents the lady Murasaki as a very beautiful child with long black hair that attracts Genji when he had gone to seek treatment for his illness. Genji sports Murasaki playing pet sparrow game with other children while he is eavesdropping with his companion. Later the associates of Murasaki releases her pet and she began crying, upon seeing this Genji goes out of his way to find the pet for Murasaki and their love sprouts. This episode is key because it serves as the main point from which the romance between the two lovers grows. In Genjiâ€™s heart and mind Murasaki is the epitome of beauty and the champion among all the women he has ever interacted with. He therefore goes to meet Murasaki grandmother who is also her caretaker since Murasaki had lost her mother sometimes back. Genji tries to convince the grandmother that he wishes to return with Murasaki to his place of origin.Unfortunately the grandmother refuses to give her away. Genji feeling disappointed goes back to his place. Later, upon learning the death of the old woman he plans to run away with Murasaki. Egawa depicts Murasaki as a terrified child and one who is disturbed.But the tactful Genji uses the fatherly approach to make Murasaki comfortable in his home. He further trains in all aspects of life. His style of raising Murasaki polishes the young lady to be the woman hedesires. The introduction of this chapter by the manga artist is keen on building the relationship between characters.
In the manga Genjiâ€™s feelings towards Murasaki is justified by the following reasons, one because the lady is outgoing and secondly because she bears resemblance to Fijitsubo, hence in her he would find the lost love in Murasaki (Kern, 2018).Years later after the death of Aoi the chief spouse to Genji perishes, Genji formalizes her union with Murasaki and together they become husband and wife.Egawa designs the scene to portray Murasaki as the proposer of the affair. She has matured up to a full woman and therefore encourages Genji to view her as a wife because she is no longer a teenager.Egawa’s use of the traditional story serves to enhance male character while subjecting the women to be objects of possession.This statement can be supported by how he exemplifies the sexual scenes, he doesn’t embody Genji as a womanizer but instead brings to the reader’s attention that it is the women who Genji interact with are the initiators of such acts. However for Murasaki Shikibu some women characters in her book are victims of unplanned romance. To her she omits the sensual feelings of Murasaki to Genji, instead she discusses the scene very briefly by just describing how Genji had been spying on Murasaki and then taking her home to give her time to learn and grow.
Egawa’s Reinterpretation of Hierarchy in the Heian period to enrich the subject of culture in the Tale of Genji
In the Heian period, there were political hierarchies. Egawa brings to the attention of readers characters who represented the hierarchy (Minguzzi, 2021). He depict lady Aoi a woman of noble upbringing whose father holds a ministerial position in the regime. Lady Aoi therefore enjoys political autonomy and economic empowerment bestowed upon her with his family. It is from her social status that prompts Genji to marry her despite the duo having no signs of love nor commitment to one another (Ogi, 2019).Their consummate their marriage through having a wedding as seen in Figure 1. Their union bore them a child who is expected later to hold royal positions as her motherâ€™s background is strong. From the description of Lady Aoi, it is evident that there were strong political systems in the Heian era (Sarra, 2020). Also, Prince Genji came from a royal family, were it not for the death of his mother he would have risen to the position of an emperor. This shows that mothers with strong backgrounds could enhance their sonâ€™s ability to get powerful roles.
Egawaâ€™s has resignified the political happenings of the old periods in Japanese culture. Lady Rokujo is also another key character who depicts the hierarchy situation (Xu, 2019).She is backed up with royalty family, and as a result a prince marries her, and they beget a daughter. Soon after having a baby, her husband’s passes away, and she becomes a widow. Her anticipations of becoming a princes vanish, and began looking for love again. Genji becomes her second lover, but Genji continuously disappoints her by bringing in other women in their relationship. Such women includes Yugao from lowly families. Rokujo burns with jealousy and dies having seen Genji with the lady. Hence she sends her wicked spirit to kill the girl as seen in Figure 2. To Rokujo she canâ€™t stand the mockery of sharing a lover with such a simple background. In this episode the poor Genji is overwhelmed with shock, he cannot believe that the young soul has perished (Carter, 2019).Genji mourns Yugao and blames himself for having not protected her from Rokujo as seen in Figure 3.
Figure 1: Illustrating Genjiâ€™s wedding to Aoi
Fig 2: Displaying evil spirit of Rokujo Fig 3: The sad Genji after Yugaoâ€™s death
Love as a substitute Reinterpretation of the Tale of Genji by Egawa Tatsuya
Egawa has used anexclusive stylistic devise to describe the theme of love as a substitute. Women in the pre-text have been taken advantage of by men in several occasions just as like Murasaki Shikibu had illustrated. Murasaki has described the subject of love as a substitute using the character of Genji who happens to win all womenâ€™s love (Wittkamp, 2020). At first Genji gets into a relationship with Murasaki to fill in the love gap that Lady Fujitsubo had left in his heart following their separation after their secretive relationship became known to the eyes of the public. It takes Murasaki’s love to heal the heart of a heart broken Genji. In this context therefore Murasaki has been used as a substitute for Genji’s first love. Additionally, the father to Genji, who is also the emperor goes out to find Fujistubo to substitute the love he had for his deceased wife, Lady Kiristubo. Fujistubo resembles Lady Kiristubo, hence by having her close he will relieve the pain he has for having lost the love of his life. Additionally Lady Fujistubo is a very beautiful woman that enlightens the heart of the emperor as seen in Figure 4.
Fig 4: Showing the beauty of Lady Fujistubo
The issues discussed above are a replica of some of the crisis women in all parts of the world have found themselves in but especially the career women in Japan. Married women with children are in a dilemma to focus on their jobs or raise their children (Dumas, 2018). Educated women have therefore resorted to dedicate their energy and time to excel in their careers, ignoring the dictates of the society that women should have children because they do not want to be laid off by their employers. This situation has led to population decrease, especially for the younger generation while the old generation continues to rise. The society has given the male gender too much authority over women, hence women are not fully recognized in the society (LaLonde, 2019). Egawa therefore proposes that young men in Japan should take the lead and be in the front line to defend women and help them achieve economic, political and social strength.The pressure on women is too much, hence their men counterparts should give them a helping hand in their endeavors (Binder et al., 2019).
To end, Egawa’s adaptation has remained the truthful of Murasaki Shikibu Tale of Genji by reinterpreting the details of the story correctly and limitlessly to make the story interesting to his male audience in the contemporary world. He also exploited all the themes in a clear manner as illustrated by the original author using characters, whom he has painted to make the comic adaptation significant (Prough, 2018). He has resignified the traditions of the Heian period in regard to cultural dressing, language, structural buildings and religion. Egawa has discussed nobility and love relations in details which form the core of the original story by using influential individuals and common persons (Ivanova, 2021). Moreover, Egawa has tried to put a balance between male and female characters, by showing the audience that men should not be totally blamed for the happenings in the pre-text, because some of the actions in the book have been bolstered by women. He has also mastered the art of delivering the plot of the story carefully, to avoid losing the taste of the story, hence it is significant to appreciate the comic adaptation of Egawa by suggesting that he has reinterpreted and resignified all aspects of Murasakiâ€™s novel in the finest knowledge.
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