Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Jon Blandford

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Barker

Third Advisor

Dr. Kendra Sheehan


This thesis looks at the relationship between gender and the supernatural in Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji. The goal is to show how Lady Rokujo uses spiritual powers to rebel against the sexual hierarchy of Heian Japan while not fully defying its sexism. This is supported by historical background of the Heian period, examples of the mistreatment of women in the novel, and close analysis of instances of Lady Rokujo's supernatural actions. This analysis shows there is a complicated background to the vengeful spirit trope that still haunts the global imagination.