Added: October 3, 2015 – Last updated: October 3, 2015


Author: Otilia Clara Milutin

Title: Sweat, Tears and Nightmares

Subtitle: Textual Representations of Sexual Violence in Heian and Kamakura Monogatari

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of British Columbia

Year: August 2015

Pages: x + 348pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 10th Century, 11th Century | Asian History: Japanese History | Representations: Literature / Murasaki Shikibu


Link: cIRcle: University of British Columbia's Digital Repository (Free Access)


Author: Otilia Clara Milutin, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia


»Readers and scholars of monogatari—court tales written between the ninth and the early twelfth century (during the Heian and Kamakura periods)—have generally agreed that much of their focus is on amorous encounters. They have, however, rarely addressed the question of whether these encounters are mutually desirable or, on the contrary, uninvited and therefore aggressive. For fear of anachronism, the topic of sexual violence has not been commonly pursued in the analyses of monogatari.
I argue that not only can the phenomenon of sexual violence be clearly defined in the context of the monogatari genre, by drawing on contemporary feminist theories and philosophical debates, but also that it is easily identifiable within the text of these tales, by virtue of the coherent and cohesive patterns used to represent it. In my analysis of seven monogatariTaketori, Utsuho, Ochikubo, Genji, Yoru no Nezame, Torikaebaya and Ariake no wakare—I follow the development of the textual representations of sexual violence and analyze them in relation to the role of these tales in supporting or subverting existing gender hierarchies.
Finally, I examine the connection between representations of sexual violence and the monogatari genre itself. By drawing on an extensive comparative approach that contrasts the Japanese monogatari with the Western genres of fairy tale, novel, romance and fan fiction, I argue that female readers and writers of monogatari could only address the topic of sexual violence within the confines of a genre avowedly fictitious, which, precisely because of its fictitiousness, provided a textual safe space.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Preface (p. iii)
  List of Tables (p. vii)
  Acknowledgements (p. viii)
  Dedication (p. x)
  1. Introduction: Rape across Time (p. 1)
    1. 1. The Ugly Beautiful World of Japanese Monogatari (p. 1)
    1. 2. Overview of the Study (p. 4)
    1. 3. Contemporary Theories of Rape (p. 6)
      1. 3. 1. Rape Between Sex and Violence (p. 6)
        1. 3. 1. 1. Brownmiller and Liberal Feminist Theory (p. 6)
        1. 3. 1. 2. MacKinnon, Dworkin and Radical Feminist Theory (p. 10)
        1. 3. 1. 3. Recent Developments in Feminist Theories of Rape (p. 14)
      1. 3. 2. Rape Between Coercion and Consent (p. 21)
        1. 3. 2. 1. The Preeminence of Consent (p. 21)
        1. 3. 2. 2. The Preeminence of Coercion (p. 28)
    1. 4. Theories of Rape and Pre-modern Japanese Literature (p. 36)
    1. 5. The Terminology of Sexual Violence and Rape in Japanese Tale Literature (p. 46)
  2. “Turning into a Shadow”: Representations of Rape in Pre-Genji Monogatari Tales (p. 50)
    2. 1. A History of the Monogatari Genre (p. 50)
    2. 2. The Disappearing Heroine: Textual Management of Rape in Taketori monogatari (p. 60)
    2. 3. The Sound of Silence: Contrasting Femininities and Conspicuous Absences in Utsuho monogatari (p. 68)
    2. 4. Sweat and Tears: Domesticating Rape in Ochikubo monogatari (p. 85)
  3. “Assaulted by an Evil Spirit in a Nightmare”: Rape in The Tale of Genji (p. 103)
    3. 1. The World’s First Novel (p. 103)
    3. 2. “Genji-Haters,” “Genji-Lovers” and the Rape Controversy (p. 113)
    3. 3. Rape and the Shining Prince (p. 126)
      3. 3. 1. Feminine Resistance: Utsusemi and Murasaki (p. 126)
      3. 3. 2. Feminine Desire: Nokiba no Ogi and Oborozukiyo (p. 156)
      3. 3. 3. Rape and Genji’s Descendants (p. 174)
  4. “Powerless and Ashamed”: Representations of Sexual Violence in Post-Genji Court Tales (p. 193)
    4. 1. Less Than a Novel: Western Popular Romances and Post-Genji Tales (p. 193)
    4. 2. Young Bamboo and Willow Branches: Rewriting Genji Rape in Yoru no nezame (p. 206)
    4. 3. The Curious Case of the Two Naishi no Kami: Rape and Im/penetrable Bodies in Torikaebaya monogatari (p. 232)
    4. 4. Female Powerlessness and Rape as a Tool of Sexual Regulation in Ariake no wakare (p. 252)
  5. Conclusion. Reading Monogatari, Writing Rape: The Monogatari Genre and Its Representations of Sexual Violence (p. 261)
  Bibliography (p. 284)
  Appendix: Original Texts (p. 317)

Wikipedia: Heian literature: Ochikubo Monogatari, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Torikaebaya Monogatari, Yoru no Nezame; Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji;