Professional Course

Invitation to The Tale of Genji

edX, Online
4 weeks
4 weeks
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Course description

Invitation to The Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji is said to be the oldest long story in the world, but it is not just old and long. What should be emphasized above all is that 1,000 years ago, women, including Murasaki Shikibu, stood at the center of a large cultural project, the creation of literature with a long life force.

The active participation of women in this way was an epoch-making event in the history of mankind.

On the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that The Tale of Genji encourages the creation of the culture of the next generation. From Genji-e and Genji-noh plays to modern comics, movies, and theater, various cultures that can be called "Genji culture" continue uninterruptedly.

This course not only introduces the contents of The Tale of Genji, which is said to be the world's oldest long story, but also explores the lives, customs, and aesthetics of Japanese aristocrats 1,000 years ago, as well as the cities and society of that time. , systems, etc., we place importance on explaining them using materials. Therefore, students will be able to grasp the world of stories concretely and three-dimensionally.

Who should attend?


People who have read The Tale of Genji, or people who are willing to read it in the future

Training content

Section 1: Visualize the world of The Tale of Genji

  • 1.1 Section 1 Overview
  • 1.2 Contents of The Tale of Genji
  • 1.3 Appearances of people in the “National Treasure: The Tale of Genji Emaki”
  • 1.4 Section 1 Testing
  • 1.5 Section 1 Report

Section 2: People and their lives in The Tale of Genji

  • 2.1 Section 2 Overview
  • 2.2 Life cycle of nobles
  • 2.3 Heiankyo, the Imperial Palace, and Annual Events
  • 2.4 Costume and living space
  • 2.5 Section 2 Testing
  • 2.6 Section 2 Report

Section 3: The Tale of Genji and the Emperor, Institutions, and Society

  • 3.1 Section 3 Overview
  • 3.2 Emperors and The Tale of Genji
  • 3.3 The era of regency
  • 3.4 Central and Local Governance System
  • 3.5 Section 3 Testing
  • 3.6 Section 3 Reports

Section 4: Japanese Culture Revealed from The Tale of Genji

  • 4.1 Section 4 Overview
  • 4.2 Influence of The Tale of Genji as Seen from Waka
  • 4.3 Japanese culture brought about by The Tale of Genji
  • 4.4 Inheritance from The Tale of Genji
  • 4.5 Section 4 Testing
  • 4.6 Section 4 Reports

Course delivery details

This course is offered through Waseda University, a partner institute of EdX.

4-5 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$49
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • Introduction to "The Tale of Genji" and characteristics of expressions including waka
  • The lifestyle, customs, and aesthetics of the aristocrats in the Heian period
  • Heian period city, space, society, system, etc.
  • Reception of "The Tale of Genji" and Development of "Genji Culture"

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