October 8, 2009
STUDY GUIDE ON “Kuniyuzuri”
“Kuniyuzuri” is part of a twenty-chapter larger work,
The Tale of
, written in the late tenth century.
is a predecessor of
Tale of Genji
, often described as the world’s first novel.
By reading this work with
understanding, you will gain insight into the Heian era of Japan in which it was written.
The plot of the translated section is very simple.
A new emperor has taken the throne,
and he has not yet announced his choice for the next crown prince.
Will he keep his
promise to Fujitsubo to choose her son?
Or will he succumb to the pressure of his mother
to choose the son of a Fujiwara woman?
Will Nakatada and others go along with the
, there will be a quiz on “Kuniyuzuri.”
To prepare for this quiz, you
should use the study questions below.
The multiple choice questions for the quiz will be
drawn from the material to which the study questions direct your attention.
Note that the JSTOR link in the syllabus provides you with an introduction as well as
the “Kuniyuzuri” chapter.
You are welcome to read the introduction, but there will
be no quiz questions on it.
When you print out, be sure to print only the pages you
The “Kuniyzuri” chapter, in order to seem like real life, includes many names.
need pay attention only to the ones in the “Cast of Characters” below.
There are notes accompanying the text.
Enjoy them, but unless there is a review
question that draws your attention to a note, the information in the notes will not be
included in the quiz.
Cast of Characters
Lady Jijūden, lady of the previous emperor
Fujitsubo, favorite lady of the emperor
Tadamasa, Fujiwara, chancellor
Kanemasa, Fujiwara, father of Nakatada and Nashitsubo
Imperial mother, sister of Tadamasa and Kanemasa
Masayori, Minamoto, father of Fujitsubo
Nashitsubo, imperial lady, daughter of Kanemasa
Princess Himemiya, daughter of the imperial mother
Nakatada, hero of the longer novel, son of Kanemasa
Chikazumi, brother of Fujitsubo