medieval Japanese society

History Reading homework

Must Read Book 《The Confessions of Lady Nijo》

You are reading a memoir of a court lady from medieval Japan.  The author reflects on her relationships with some of the leading political, religious, and cultural figures of her era.  Your assignment is to write an analytical paper about medieval Japanese society using this source as your primary evidence.  Identify some theme or issue and use the book to document and analyze this aspect of Japanese society.


Questions you could ask might include for example, what does the book tell you about the religious beliefs of the author and those around her?  How does the author describe and reflect on women’s status and or gender roles more generally? How do cultural or artistic practices influence the way people interact with one another?  Your paper should have a clear and original thesis statement that reflects your take on the contents of the source.  You are free to choose the focus of your paper as long as you support your points with specific examples from the book.


Specifications and format

·       Length: 1000-1500 words

·       Provide a “works cited” with citations for each source that is used in the essay (as well as any other text or source that was used to prepare the argument). You do not need to put this on a separate page (save paper and put it on the last page of the text). There is also no need for a title page.

·       Citation format: All citations should use footnotes that follow the format established by the Chicago Manual of Style.  You will find the quick guide for this here:


Tips and Hints

·       This is an argumentative paper that should make a historical argument. This argument should be what drives the paper (and determines its organization).

·       The main conclusion should be expressed in a clear thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.

·       Make sure to combine claims with evidence: each claim should be supported with observations (or quotes) from the source; no observation (or quote) should remain without explanation or commentary.

·       The guideline for quotes is: paraphrase if you can, quote if you must (for example, when the tone of the source is your focus). Quotes must be integrated logically and grammatically: never leave a quote without commentary; sentences with quotes must still make sense and be grammatically correct.

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