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The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

The work recounts the life of a son of the Japanese emperor, known to readers as Hikaru Genji, or "Shining Genji". For political reasons, Genji is relegated to commoner status (by being given the surname Minamoto) and begins a career as an imperial officer. The tale concentrates on Genji's romantic life and describes the customs of the aristocratic society of the time. Much is made of Genji's good looks.