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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 76 Records


Tale of Genji: Ch. 05, Wakamurasaki

Ogata Gekko
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Four: The Twilight Beauty (Yon: Yugao)

Ogata Gekko
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Modern Times, 54 Chapters: Ch. 23, Hatsune

Toyohara Kunichika
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 50, Azumaya

Utagawa Yoshiiku
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Parody of Genji

Yoshu Chikanobu (aka Chikanobu)
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

The Tale of Genji - Chapter 16 Sekiya

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

The Tale of Genji - Chapter 4 Yugao

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink and colors on paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

The New Tale of Genji - Cover Page

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink and colors on paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

At Night

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink, colors, and silver metallic pigment on paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 9

Ink on paper
19th c Japan Edo Era, Japan Print

Modern Times, Chapter 1: Kiritsubo

Toyohara Kunichika
Ink and colors on paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

Hana no en: Vol. 4, Chapter 8

Mitsuoki Tosa
ink, colors, gold and silver on paper
19th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

Modern Times, 54 Chapters: Ch. 10, Sakaki

Toyohara Kunichika
Ink and colors on paper
19th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 12, Suma

Ogata Gekko
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 39, Yugiri

Ogata Gekko
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 40, Minori

Ogata Gekko
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 09, Aoi

Ogata Gekko
Ink on Paper
19th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 28, Nowake

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 29, Miyuki

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 38, Suzumushi

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 3, Utsusemi

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 40, Minori

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 46, Shigamoto

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 48, Sawarabi

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Meiji Era, Japan Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 49, Yadorigi

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

The Twilight Beauty

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print

Tale of Genji: Ch. 19, Usugumo

Hiromitsu Nakazawa
Ink on Paper
20th c Japan Ukiyo-e Print


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