Beyond “In Spring, the Dawn”: Redeeming The Pillow Book through Manga

Gergana E. Ivanova


This paper examines three manga adaptations of The Pillow Book (Makura no sōshi, early 11th c.) published in the past thirty years to show how popular culture challenges Japanese school education and its approaches to teaching classical literature. It argues that manga rewritings of the Heian-period text aim to increase modern interest in this ancient work and help to rectify misconceptions of it generated by national literature (kokubungaku) scholarship and traditional methods of teaching classical literature in Japan. Prioritizing the content instead of its formal features, these rewritings offer a new approach to the eleventh-century work by presenting the material in an engaging and relevant way that resonates with modern readers.

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