Women’s Religious Belief and Writing

Ms Longmei Zhang1, Ms Yan Chen2, Miss Chunquan Qiu3, Miss Ruhui Ma4

1Beijin Foreign Studies University, Beijin, China, 2Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou, China, 3Hunan University, Changsha, China, 4Beijin Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China

Chair: Qiu Chunquan

Overview:

In the Heian and Medieval Period in Japanese history, female writers left a large number of diary literature, which is a very strange phenomenon from the perspective of world literature. Our group aims to explore the relationship between Buddhist belief and the female writers’ creation of diaries and tales. By comparing women’s writings in China and the Choson Dynasty, we analyze the literary works of Michitsuna no Haha, Murasaki Shikibu, Lady Nijō and Hino Meishi.

In Kagerō Nikki, Michitsuna no Haha mentioned that she wished to become a nun. But ultimately her faith was used to improve the practical interests of her worldly life. Murasaki Sikibu was different, because she thought that becoming a nun was the inevitable destination. In the Medieval Period, Buddhist renunciation was the only way for Lady Nijō to escape from prostitution and keep her chastity. And Hino Meishi’s Buddhist act is also her way of proving her chastity. Women in the Middle Ages began to take the initiative to use Buddhist activities to achieve their realistic purposes.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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