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Murasaki Shikibu and the Tale of Genji About 1000 years ago, the author known as Muarasaki Shikibu created the complex narrative Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari), which is now considered to be the world's first novel. Murasaki began writing stories about Prince Genji as a way to amuse her close circle of friends, but very soon the texts were recopied and circulated throughout Japan, winning her much admiration and a place in the entourage of Empress Shoshi. In 54 chapters Murasaki described the lives of three generations of courtiers and their families. Those fascinating stories about palace intrigues and romantic adventures have, in turn, inspired later authors and artists to emulate and illustrate various versions of the Tale of Genji. Murasaki's narrative has been one of the major sources of inspiration for the visual and performing arts of Japan for a millennium. Very little is known about the woman who wrote the Tale of Genji, even her personal name is uncertain, although she has long been called "Murasaki" after a major character in her story. Her father Fujiwara Tametoki was a poet and scholar of Chinese literature and held various political appointments during the Heian Period, including one in the Ministry of Ceremonies (Shikibu sho). Murasaki Shikibu demonstrates in her diary, poems and Genji that she had an extraordinary command of both Chinese and Japanese literature, and she is listed among Japan's 36 immortal poets (rokkasen).

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Title Artist Medium & Support Creation Date
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 12, Suma   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1860 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 24, Kocho   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1890 
Genji-maru   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1867 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 23, Hatsune   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1860 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 20, Asagao   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1860 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 21, Otome   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1860 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 36, Kashiwagi   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1860 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 37, Yokobue   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1850 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 18, Matsukaze   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1857 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 35, Wakana Ge   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1857 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 42, Nio no Miya   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1857 
The Morning Glories   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  c. 1850 
Tale of Genji, 54 Chapters: Ch. 19, Usugumo   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1864 
Tale of Genji, 54 Chapters: Ch. 27, Kagaribi   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on paper  1864-1865 
Bridge of Dream   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Tale of Genji, 54 Chapters: Ch. 12, Suma   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1864 
Tale of Genji, 54 Chapters: Ch. 04, Yugao   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  n. d. 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 13 Akashi   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on paper  1847 
Murasaki Shikibu's Genji Playing Cards: Ch. 30 Fujibakama   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on paper  1847 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 5 Wakamurasaki   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 6, Suetsumahana   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink on Paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 1, Kiritsubo   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 2, Hahakigi   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 9, Aoi   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 
Vestiges of the 54 Chapters of Genji: Chapter 11, Hana-chiru-sato   Kunisada II, Utagawa   Ink and colors on paper  1864-1865 

Your current search criteria is: Portfolio is "Genji" and [Objects]Display Artist is "Utagawa Kunisada II" and [Objects]Century is "19th c".