Web materials here and elsewhere on The
Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari). This started as a "Genji
studies" page for my students. Now I keep more extensive
set of pages for GENJI classes elsewhere--all password-protected
for the moment. However you will find much GENJI-related material
on the pmjs
site. Pages open to all include a glossary of characters
by the translator Royall Tyler, a list of chapter titles in various
English translations, a genealogy (all in the pmjs
resources) and logs of several discussions by specialists
in the archives.
As an example of the useful web material that can be gathered
by searches, here is a page of links I assembed for students
reading the first chapter.
Michael Watson, Meiji Gakuin Univ. [ go to top
index | send me a message
English translations (chronological order)
- Suematsu, Kencho. The Tale of Genji. London: Trubner,
1882. [The date of 1881 sometimes seen in online listings is
incorrect, being based on the date of the translator's preface.]
- Waley, Arthur. The Tale of Genji. A Novel in Six Parts
by Lady Murasaki. 1926-1933.
- Seidensticker, Edward G. The Tale of Genji. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.
- McCullough, Helen Craig. Genji & Heike: Selections
from The Tale of Genji and The Tale of the Heike.
Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. [Selections]
- Tyler, Royall. The Tale of Genji. New York: Viking,
- more information available in the pmjs
database of translations
a few lists
Japanese maki (chapter) titles
Romanized list of the Japanese
Chapter titles in the Seidensticker
titles in the Tyler translation (with page nos.)
on this page
- Web searches
pages on this site
- illustrations of Genji
- resources (Japanese)
- teaching resources
related watson pages
- top index
- Japanese studies
- pmjs mailing list
- electronic texts
- Heike pages
- reference pages
Genji on the web: do your own search
The number of relevant sites keeps increasing: academic, commercial,
popular... The quality varies greatly, so you will have to exercise
judgement, but there are some useful sites both in Japanese and
English, particularly if you don't have access to illustrations
of Genji. I introduce a few below, but it is also worth
doing your own searches. Here are a few ready-made searches as
examples for what is possible:
Google search for Tale
Google search for Genji
monogatari (in kanji)
Excite (Japan) search for Genji
monogatari (in kanji)
Hotbot search for Genji
in pages containing images
Altavista search for GENJI
as title of web pages
Google search for images titled genji
Altavista search for images titled genji
Hint: Try names of characters and chapters, e.g. kiritsubo
Hints: use quotation marks for whole phrase ("Tale
of Genji"). Fancy features on Alvista allow searches for
words in titles of pages (title:Genji) or for name of image (image:Genji).
To avoid restaurants called "Genji" and the like, you
can search for specific domain (domain:edu on Altavista), or
filters on hotbot.com. These days I tend to stick to google and
add search terms...
Once again, here is a page of links I assembed for students
reading the first chapter.
A little basic copyright information for readers who regularly
write and ask me " Where can I find an English translation
of the Tale of Genji on the Web?"
The first attempt to translate GENJI into English was the partial
translation published in 1882 by Baron Suyematsu (Kencho Suematsu
as we would now write his name). This is still available in a
reprint from Tuttle, and a pdf
file has been made available from York University, Canada.
The translation was remarkable at its time, but is of only historic
The oldest complete translation of the Tale of Genji
into English is by Arthur Waley (1899-1966). Copyright used to
last "(year of) death + 50 years." Now it has been extended
in many countries to "death + 75 years." For older books,
those published before 1923, there is a rule of "75 years
from publication." This means (according to a knowledgable
correspondent) that Waley's translation of A Hundred and Seventy
Chinese Poems (1918) is now out of copyright, but his Genji
translation (1926-1933) will remain in copyright until fifty (2016)
or seventy-five (2041) years after his death in most countries.
For researchers there does exist an electronic text of a more
recent translation: E. G. Seidensticker's version of 1976 is available
for research purposes in Oxford Text Archives. I obtained it years
ago in what was then the proper manner, by post. Check the OTA website for an application
--Recently (Sept. 2002) I found this is now available as a single
very large page. If your browser/modem can handle it, you can
save to file and read off line at your leisure.
No illustrations or footnotes, of course. However those referring
to the Japanese text will find the cross-references to pages and
sections of the older Shogakukan (NKBZ) edition helpful.
There is no substitute for a printed edition, however. Royall
Tyler's translation of 2001 is surely the best choice for
anyone about to read--or reread--this great narrative.
Paperback reprints of the translations by Suematsu, Waley and
Seidensticker have been published by Charles E. Tuttle (Rutland,
Vermont, and Tokyo). Seidensticker's translation has also been
reprinted many times in England and North America--avoid the abridged
version unless that is what you want.
If you are looking for Japanese e-texts, be aware that the
copyright lies not only with the author--who died almost a millenium
ago--but also rests in the work of the modern editor. However
OTA again has an electronic text (Shogakukan) and there are also
several sites where a scholar has made his own edition for the
Web. Take a look at the site of Professor Shibuya,
for example. The modern Japanese translation by Yosano Akiko is
also available at genji.co
and elsewhere. More info. below.
resources for English-speaking
Chambers (Wesleyan). Information about a course on Genji
taught by a distinguished translator of modern Japanese literature
Ken Richard (Siebold
University, Nagasaki). Site for classes on Japanese literature
by specialist in Heian literature. Genji pages contain
to guide students in reading and selections from a paper on "Mother
trauma" in Genji.
mono-no-ke killed Yugao? A spirited debate archived
on the pmjs mailing list of specialists. Explore the pmjs
site if you are interested in other aspects of premodern Japan.
chart for the Tale of Genji from Richard Bowring's
Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji.
The electronic texts of the Shogakukan edition and the Seidensticker
translation are available from Oxford Text Archives. Apply to
OTA direct. [all
in one page]
Start with "A
SHORT HISTORY OF GENJI ILLUSTRATION" by Professor Steven
D. Carter (Univ. of California, Irvine). Another page deals with
masks and Enchi Fumiko's Genji-inspired Masks.
Other pictures there include: Tosa Mitsunori
Many sites show scenes from the illustrated scroll: Genji
monogatari emaki. Here's one.
Dartmouth has a scroll by Tosa Mitsuyoshi (ca. 1690). Illustrated
is the Kiritsubo
Cornell has a picture from Wakana
(New Herbs, Part 1)
Some pages won't be there forever. A German ukiyo-e dealer
is offering for sale a Kunisada print (1858) inspired by the
episode (Click the thumbnail for a bigger picture.).
Another ukiyo-e by Kunisada (+ Hiroshige) is at the University
of Missouri museum: Genji
The Kyoto "Costume Museum" (a small place, Fuzoku
hakubutsukan) is exhibiting scale models of scenes from Genji.
Some give a good idea of interiors.
Yang Kuei Fei (Yang Gui Fei) is still a popular theme in
Chinese art. A dramatic painting
by modern Chinese Peng Xian-Cheng.
The poem Chang Hen ge by Po Chu-i (Bo juyi) is referred
to many times in Genji. Here is an older English
translation (watch for misprints). Can anyone identify the
in Genji Monogatari: with photographs and quotations from
Seidensticker's English translation.
of opera by Miki (operajaponica site)
(incense types) Page by J. Fiorillo
Yosano Akiko's translation: one of the
most readable of modern Japanese translations. Two versions are
bunko version: Complete up to Chapter 36 "Kashiwagi".
Includes readings of more difficult kanji in parentheses. Akiko's
waka included. Save as "HTML source" onto your hard
disk and read off-line with a browser. Based on Kawade-shobo
text. No page numbers.
- (J) ^Óì»q(=äoÓì»q )wVó¹¨êxihtmlÅjiÂó¶Éj
Now complete. No rubi. Base text: Kadokawa bunko. Page numbers
- 54 maki in 3 versions each: Japanese original, his own modern
J translation, romanization (kunreishiki not Hepburn) . The Japanese
text has been edited afresh (it seems) from the Teika-bon. Textual
variants listed at end of each maki, together with "shutten"
(allusions to poems, sutras, Chinese classics). Summary at the
top of each (original, trans., roman.) with hot link to jump
to place in text. Romanization has summary translated into English
(of sorts). Other good features. This site has won my respect.
- (J) aJhêæ¶içä¤Èåw)FeLXgE»ãêóE[}
- "koten sogo kenkyu home page" (comprehensive study
of the classics?). Yosano Akiko's translation here too. I had
my doubts about this site as well, but find it now contains material
of solid academic value, including reports of a project on word
use in Genji monogatari based on a study of the full text
monogatari emaki no shokai
- Introduction to the illustrated scroll. In Japanese but with
- (J) ¹¨êGªÌÐî
- Don't be put off by the manga graphics, worth a visit.
- (J) ¹dqÙiÉ¡Sçæ¶j
Fujitsu has produced a two CD-ROM set with chapter by chapter
summaries, illustrations, and with selected passages in English
and modern Japanese translation as well as the original (hear
it read aloud too). Japanese displayed without Japanese software
(every page is graphically rendered). Available in U.S. from
(links are to pages with more information)
The Tale of Genji (animation, Japan, 1991). Subtitled video
is available from Amazon.com
video and elsewhere. Comments about this anime here
Here and there on the Web there are illustrations of Genji
monogatari from all periods. To search yourself use HotBot--limiting
the search to pages containing images. Not all images will be
the kind you are looking for, but at least you'll avoid hundred
of syllabus / library / bookshop pages where the title Genji
is mentioned as text only. (I have defined the search so that
they page must contain the phrase "Tale of Genji" and
also have a .jpg file; by including "Tale of..." we
avoid the home pages of U.S. sushi bars & the like). See
the "do your own search" section
For new and second-hand books in English, I use Amazon.com
and Barnes & Noble.
Periodical articles in English can often be located on UnCover, which also can fax
you a copy, for a price.
For second-hand Japanese books, see kanda
books, and for new books, Kinokuniya
books. I have some notes on the subject of looking for books
in Japan on a page called search.
Titles of Japanese periodical articles can be found on the Nichigai
database, but you'll have to find a library that has signed up
for the service. NACSIS will provide a similar service (free
to all? to subscribers only) from Jan. 1, 2000, using a Web-based
other resources, especially
modern Genji "reception"
Murasaki Shikibu now has a deserved place in the new canon
of "Women Writers" or "Women in History"--a
process begun, perhaps, by Virginia Woolf's review of the first
volume of Arthur Waley's translation (signed review in Vogue,
late July 1925; reprinted in The Essays of Virginia Woolf,
Volume 4: 1925 to 1928, ed. Andrew McNeillie [London:
The Hogarth Press, 1994], pp. 264-9).
The Web provides many examples of how Murasaki Shikibu has
become better known, as a name at least, in English-speaking
countries. She is one of Danuta Bois' "Distinguished
Women" (her biography
is taken from Microsoft's Encarta and accurate enough). A U.S.
high-school teacher and her students include her after Sappho
in their list of Women
Writers (the photo is of the anime cover).
Murasaki Shikibu shares the syllabus with an interesting
variety of writers in survey courses. A course
entitled "The Middle Periods of the World" puts her
in the company of Marie de France, Omar Khayyam, Dante and Cervantes
(Dr. Barbara Mathieson / Southern Oregon).
For an example of popular modern illustrations of The
Tale of Genji see the pages of the "painter and calligrapher"
Shuseki. Manga style.
(The title of chapter 11 should read "Hana chiru sato").
additions, corrections welcome
Michael Watson <watson[at]k.meijigakuin.ac.jp>
Faculty of International Studies, Meiji Gakuin University, Yokohama