Old-Fashioned Lover Boy

He danced gracefully, powdered his face, wrote delicate poetry and wore layer upon layer of color-coordinated robes. He mixed his own scent, which women recognized when he entered a room. Genji, the son of an Emperor, had the stuff that made women—and even men—swoon in Japan's 10th century Heian era. In Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji), the first psychological novel ever written, he's known as the "shining" prince.

Today, 1,000 years after author Murasaki Shik-ibu created him, Genji is a reigning studmuffin in the land of his birth. A big-budget cinematic version of The Tale of Genji...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!