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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).

Showing 1 to 50 of 65 Records


The Tale of Genji: Chapter 42, Master Archers

Utagawa Yoshiiku
Ink and colors on paper
19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

The Tale of Genji: Chapter 34, Princess Wakana and Magic Spider

Utagawa Yoshiiku
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

"Kokusenya Kassen" Act 1

Utagawa Kunikazu
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19th c Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 11: Hanachirusato

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 12: Suma

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 13: Akashi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 18: Matsukaze

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 20: Asagao

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
Ink on color on paper
19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 22: Tamakazura

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 24: Kocho

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 27: Kagaribi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 28: Nowake

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji: Ch. 3, Utsusemi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 31: Makibashira

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 32: Umegae

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 33: Fuji no Uraba

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 34: Wakana Jo

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 35: Wakano Ge

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 36: Kashiwagi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 37: Yokobue

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 38: Suzumushi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 40: Minori

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 41: Maboroshi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 42: Nio no Miya

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Japanese Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 43: Kobai Nakazawa

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 44: Takegawa

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 45: Hashihime

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 46: Shigamoto

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 47: Agemaki

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 48: Sawarabi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 49: Yadorigi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 5: Waka Murasaki

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 50: Azumaya

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 51: Ukifune

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 6: Suetsumuhana

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Suetsumuhana

Utagawa Kuniyoshi
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Bridge of Dream

Utagawa Kunisada II
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Momiji no Ga: Chapter 7

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
Ink on paper
19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji: Ch. 1, Kiritsubo

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch.10: Sakaki

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 14: Miotsukushi

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 15: Yomogiu

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 16: Sekiya

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
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19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Rustic Genji, Ch. 19: Usugumo

Utagawa Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III)
Ink on color on paper
19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print


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