The Dairy of Lady Murasaki is a paramount historical document that marks one of the major turning points in women’s history. The book has great insights into the 11th century of women experiences at the court of the Japanese emperor. This is significant because during the height of the Heian Period (794-1192), which Lady Murasaki lived, Japanese had no writing system of their own. Also, it was considered improper for a woman to know how to write Chinese, the writing system Japanese used then. Men were not happy. They wanted to “keep the language of bureaucracy in male’s hands.” This however, did not stop the women of Japan from striving for success.
Women went on and developed the written Japanese language. This was the first attempt woman made in Japanese history, and in their quest to become the “sound voices” instead of the “silence voice.” One can compare these women to the famous black man Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass had to struggle to learn to read because his slave master did not want him to. Nevertheless, we saw that the more they tried to prevent him from learning, the more he strove for success, just as these women. The Japanese Women did not stop after the development of the written Japanese language. They went on to write poems, prose, and dairies, thus proving to the males that they are capable of writing; also that no one could hold them back from reaching success.
Lady Murasaki was one of these women that strove for success. She was the Empress companion and tutor. She had knowledge and court values that she inherited from her father. Due to this she was able to handle her position very well. Though she held her position well, as a consequence of her gender her experience of the court life was different from those of males. She couldn’t discuss what she knew about what was going on in the court because of fear of being known as a gossip. We see this when she states, “now if I go and describing for you in this manner, I am sure I will get the reputation for being a gossip, especially if it concerns those close to me. It is so difficult to discuss people I meet every day and I should avoid commenting on anyone about whom I have second thoughts.” One can say she feels this way because women were mainly known for gossiping and nothing else in those days. She wanted to know for more then just that. That’s why even though Lady Murasaki knew what almost everything that was taking place in the court, she kept it between her and her dairy.
As one sees, religion is not something that Lady Murasaki paid much attention to. She did not see Shinto and Buddhism as “being traditions in any way commensurate.” Her reason for that was Buddhism entered the Japanese court system the merging Indian and Chinese religion was considered unoriginal. There are however many types of Buddhism and ritual side we see in her dairy. “Murasaki herself must have been well aware that Buddhist rituals she saw at court and the path of salvation through the worship of Amida were a root connected.” Amidism has “provided the major source of personal solace for these women.” Shinto was not an actual system in any sense. It was rather the practice of certain rituals connected with fertility, avoidance of pollution, and pacification of the spirits of myriad gods. Therefore, it was not linked to matters of private concerns.
In essence, I accept that such a thing, as “fundamentally gendered experience of history” exists. After reading the diary, I am convincing that women had to work hard to get recognition from male elite. Such “gendered approaches to history are valuable” to humanity and are more valuable to women as a whole. This gendered approach was the start for women in Japan along stride to become people “with history.”