Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 12, Suma, c. 1860
Ink on Paper
13 1/16 in. x 9 3/16 in. (331.79 mm x 233.36 mm)
Signed: Kochoro Kunisada ga.
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print.
Because Genji was caught having an affair with a woman intended for the Emperor, Genji was exiled from Kyoto and went first to Suma. There he was impressed with the rugged beauty of the coastline and the rustic ways of the people. However, he longed for his friends and family in the capital and composed the poem:
Cries of plovers in the dawn bring comfort
To one who awakens in a lonely bed
translated by E. Seidensticker
Kunisada depicts the plover (chidori) rising up from the beach at daybreak, but Genji hardly seems lonely and heartbroken, as the text would suggest.
Publisher: Tsuta-ya Kichizo.
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