The World of the Shining Prince

By Ivan Morris,

Book cover of The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan

Book description

Ivan Morris’s definitive and widely acclaimed portrait of the ceremonious and melancholy world of ancient Japan.

Using The Tale of Genji and other major literary works from Japan’s Heian period as a frame of reference, The World of the Shining Prince recreates an era when women set the cultural tone.…

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

1 author picked The World of the Shining Prince as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is essential background for any reader of the Tale of Genji, the famous novel written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century. In a breezy style that pulls the reader along, Morris describes how the court nobles of Heian—the original name for  Kyoto—had created a distinctive high culture inspired by borrowings from China but uniquely Japanese. We learn about a polygamous society in which males among the court nobles competed for the affection of high-born females through poetry and aesthetics. Political ambitions were channeled into the pursuit of higher social rank rather than into government works…

From David's list on captivating Japanese history.

Want books like The World of the Shining Prince?

Our community of 7,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The World of the Shining Prince.

Browse books like The World of the Shining Prince

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Japan, civilization, and the Heian period?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Japan, civilization, and the Heian period.

Japan Explore 376 books about Japan
Civilization Explore 167 books about civilization
The Heian Period Explore 7 books about the Heian period