Shōjo Murasaki, Seinen Genji: Sexual Violence and Textual Violence in Yamato Waki’s Fleeting Dreams and Egawa Tatsuya’s Tale of Genji Manga


  • Otilia Milutin Middlebury College



This paper examines how two manga versions of the Heian classic Tale of Genji, belonging to two different genres and targeting different readership, engage with and interpret the tale’s episodes depicting sexual encounters, which may be read as problematic in the original text.


The shojo version, Yamato Waki’s Asaki yumemishi, published between 1980 and 1993, and targeting predominantly female audiences, how two distinct approaches in its treatment of certain potentially uncomfortable episodes: some episodes which verge too close to a reading of sexual violence, are outright erased from the manga versions. Others, whose presence is invaluable to the narrative, are remarkably faithful to the original text, while at the same time contextualizing and domesticating all threats of sexual violence that might have marred the original text.


By contrast, Egawa Tatsuya’s seinen version of Genji monogatari, marketed towards a young male adult readership, takes the extreme approach of depicting all sexual encounters in the tale as consensual, pleasurable and highly explicit. The ambiguity of the original text is simply done away with by juxtaposing said text and its fairly accurate rendition into modern Japanese with quasi-pornographic, shunga-evoking scenes of sex.

Author Biography

Otilia Milutin, Middlebury College

Otilia Milutin is an Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at Middlebury College. She received her Ph.D from the University of British Columbia in 2015 and her M.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She taught at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) and Knox College (Galesburg, Illinois). She specializes in premodern Japanese literature, language and culture, with a focus on issues related to sex, gender and sexuality in Japanese court tales. She is currently finalizing her research on representations of sexual violence in Heian and Kamakura monogatari and conducting new research on contemporary adaptations of Japanese classics in manga, anime and film. Her other research and teaching interests include femmes fatales in Japanese literature, monsters in Japnese culture, and sex and censorship in Japanese cinema.


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