pmjs logs for June, 2000. Total number of messages for month: 99 (59 in log)

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Moon and enlightenment [archived] (Shigeki Moro, continued from May) 

haikai saijiki, illustrated (Lewis Cook, Lawrence Marceau) 

Kokusho kihon database (Shigeki Moro) 

Lotus Sutra/gendered literacy (Denise O'Brien) [moved to public archive] 

Oriori no uta/Poems for All Seasons (Janine Beichman) 

new web site --> "classics" / "clarification" <--> ignored classic --> dual dimensions of classics (Michael Watson, Wayne Farris, David Pollack, Janine Beichman, Morgan Pitelka, Richard Bowring, Leith Morton, Bjarke Frellesvig, Lewis Cook, Rein Raud, Philip C. Brown, Robert E. Morrell, Joshua Mostow, Norma Field) [moved to public archive] 

Kamo no Chomei's Hojoki (Jordi Escurriola, Hank Glassman, Robert Borgen, Richard Bowring, Noel John Pinnington) 

Hiraizumi (Daniel Gallimore, Michael Watson, Robert Borgen, Anthony J. Bryant, Haruo Shirane) --> link 

Kurano Takezumi, Miwa Sugikado (Lewis Cook) 

Ancient Asian Musics Preservation Project (Elizabeth Markham) 

Literary Accounts of Warring Kyoto (Matthew Stavros, Mack Horton) 

Opening of Niigata Prefectural Museum (Mark Hall) 

Tale of Genji Opera --> World of Shining Scholarship (Kendon Stubbs, Robert E. Morrell, Elliot Berlin, Royall Tyler, Karel Fiala, Denise O'Brien) --> link 

Suhoo Naishi (Jordi Escurriola, Rose Bundy, Lawrence Marceau) 

shiryo on the web (Matthew Stavros, Niels Guelberg) 

Windows 2000 (Amanda Stinchecum, Mark Hall) 

Electronic Materials and Classical (pre-modern?) Japanese Studies (X. Jie Yang) 

Tale of Murasaki (Elliot Berlin) 

Chushingura (Aaron M. Cohen) 

new members this month: Beatrice M. Bodart Bailey, Alari Allik, Naoko Yamagata, Leila Wice and Steven Nelson, Rosa Wunner , Aaron M. Cohen, Yayoi Uno Everet

Lightly edited (see "principles"). Editorial comments in italics.
This "page" is equivalent to some 34 printed pages--even with two long threads ("Lotus Sutra..." and "classics") removed and placed in the public archives.

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From: Shigeki Moro <>

Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000 14:44:10 +0900

Subject: Re: moon and enlightenment

Dear Miller-san,

On Thu, 25 May 2000 09:20:40 -0600
"Stephen D. Miller" <> -san wrote:

> A student of mine is interested in finding out the source of
> the moon=enlightenment trope in Japanese literature/poetry.

One of the answers may be the metaphors of the moon and a finger pointing the moon, which have been regarded as important teaching especially in Chan/Zen tradition.

Originally the metaphors can be found in some Mahayana sutras, such as the Lankavatara sutra (Ryouga-kyo, see T XVI 670 iv 510c17 or so), the Lengyan-jing (Ryougon-kyo, see T XIX 945 111a9-13) and the Yuanjue-jing (Engaku-kyo, see T XVII 842 917a25-28) etc..


Shigeki Moro

From: "Lewis Cook" <>

Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000 18:27:56 -0500

Subject: haikai saijiki, illustrated

I'd very much appreciate hearing from anyone who can tell me whether any illustrated haikai _saijiki_ were published during the Edo period, especially things with illustrations in color. I haven't been able to find bibliographical material or leads on the web (perhaps I'm not looking in the right places?) and don't have much relevant printed
matter at hand.
Many thanks in advance.

Lewis Cook
Queens College, C.U.N.Y.

From: Shigeki Moro <>
Date: Sun, 04 Jun 2000 21:15:59 +0900

Dear list-members,

The National Institute of Japanese Literature (Kokubungaku Kenkyu Shiryokan) has published the ANCIENT WORKS INTEGRATED DATABASE (KOKUSHO KIHON DATABASE), which includes the all items of the KOKUSHO SOU MOKUROKU HOTEIBAN (Iwanami, 1989-1991) except for the information of the place where texts are kept.


Shigeki Moro

From: Lawrence Marceau <lmarc...@...l.Edu>
Date: Tue, 06 Jun 2000 15:55:08 -0400
Subject: Re: haikai saijiki, illustrated


Tanaka Yoshinobu has a good essay on saijiki in the Iwanami Nihon koten bungaku daijiten. In it he says that, while there were lots of books with lists of kigo in them,
including such relatively easy to find works as _Kefukigusa_ (1645, available in Iwanami bunko), really useful saijiki are actually an invention of Meiji haiku poets, starting with Takahama Kyoshi's _Shinsen haikai jiten_ (1909). Both Tanaka and Oobata Kenji (in Meiji Shoin's Nihon koten bungaku daijiten) stress the importance of Takizawa Bakin's 1803 _Haikai saijiki_. This work was reprinted in 2 volumes in 1973 as _(Zouho) Haikai saijiki shiorigusa_, and published by Yasaka Shobou as volumes 9 and 10 of their "Seikatsu no koten sousho".

Since such saijiki were (and are) essentially vocabulary lists arranged by season, I don't believe they were illustrated.

It's possible that some books along the lines of _Ehon mushi erami_ could have served as visual saijiki, but I'm afraid you'll have to discuss that with someone with real

Lawrence Marceau

From: "Lewis Cook" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 00:06:19 -0400
Subject: Re: haikai saijiki, illustrated


Thanks very much for this response (and for your even more informative offlist replies on the same thread). One thing I've learned from this is that my query was anachronistic; I should have been asking about possible precursors to modern illustrated saijiki, ehon of canonical hokku and of haikai topoi (and also whether these
served as 'references' in practice, or why the demand for illustrated saijiki turns out, as it seems, to have been an effect of


From: Janine Beichman <>
Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 21:15:51 +0900
Subject: Re: haikai saijiki, illustrated

Just a request: if anyone knows about ehon of canonical hokku and of hakai topoi, please post that information to the list, not just to Lewis --the possibility that there were such things is delightful!

From: "Denise O'Brien" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 10:46:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Lotus Sutra/gendered literacy

How are we to understand the references in 10th and 11th C texts to women reading and copying the Lotus Sutra? (Examples from the Eiga monogatari: Ch. 16 Grand Empress Kenshi and her ladies making a copy of the LS; Ch. 7 daughter of Fujiwara Koretada who supposedly read the LS 2000 or 3000 times.) The Lotus Sutra was presumably not written in hiragana [extant examples are in Chinese characters] so if women were actually copying it, they were writing Chinese characters. Artistocratic women could have commissioned male scribes to make copies for them but the secondary sources do not specify that such commissioning was the customary practice (e.g., Baker, Japanese Art; Rosenfeld, Cranston, & Cranston, Courtly Tradition....; Kurata & Tamura, Art of the Lotus Sutra). Similarly, while reading for Heian women may be understood to sometimes be a group practice in which a reader is actually a listener, both primary and secondary sources seem to differentiate between reading the LS and listening to it being read or recited. Granted that some Heian women knew Chinese characters, are we to understand women reading and copying the LS as acts on their parts or do we assume an invisible substratum of male scribes and lectors?
Regards, Denise O'Brien

Denise O'Brien
Dept. of Anthropology, Temple University
Philadelphia, PA, 19122, USA
Tel:215-204-1204 Fax:215-204-1410

[The remainder of this thread can be read in the public archives. Discussants were: John Bentley, Hank Glassmann, Robert Borgen, David Pollack, William Bodiford, Elizabeth Markham, Lewis Cook, David Lurie, Mack Horton]

From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 00:00:03 +0900
Subject: list announcements

I'm relieved to say that messages are being delivered more promptly. Apparently this is a periodic problem with the listbot service. I'm glad that discussions continued despite the delays.

Welcome to three new members: Beatrice M. Bodart Bailey, Alari Allik, and Naoko Yamagata.

Beatrice M. Bodart Bailey

Professor of Japanese History, Faculty of Comparative Culture, Otsuma Women's University, Tama Campus, Tama-shi, Tokyo 206-8540. Most recent monograph is a new translation of Engelbert Kaempfer's manuscript <Heutiges Japan> (generally known as <The History of Japan>) published by Hawaii University Press as <Kaempfer's Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed>. Others include (with Derek Massarella, eds) <The Furthest Goal: Engelbert Kaempfer's Encounter with Tokugawa Japan>, and a Japanese translation of this volume: (Naka and Kobayashi trans.) <Harukanaru mokutekichi Kenperu to Tokugawa Nihon no deai>, Osaka University Press, 1999; a volume which exists only in Japanese: (Naka, trans.) <Kenperu to Tokugawa Tsunayoshi> Chuukou Shinsho no. 1168, etc. Articles, a number in MN, many on the fifth Tokugawa shogun Tsunayoshi, his advisors (Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu) his various policies, Confucianism, etc. A biography of the fifth shogun is
in preparation. [Japanese titles]

Alari Allik <>

Estonia. Recently completed Thesis on Kamo no Choumei and his multiple authorial identities.

Naoko Yamagata <>

I am a classicist by training [BA (ICU), MA (Tsukuba), MA & PhD (London)] and specialised mostly in Homer, but have done a little bit of comparative work on Homer and the Tale of the Heike, and am very much interested to continue my research in this area. Professionally, I was a full time lecturer in Classics at University of Wales, Lampeter, from October 1995 till the end of March 2000, and have just moved to the Open University in London as a lecturer (staff tutor) in Classical Studies.

Publications: Homeric Morality (Leiden 1994) // 'Young and old in Homer and Heike monogatari' in Greece & Rome 40 (1993): 1-10. // "Homeeros to 'Heike monogatari' ni okeru kami no kengen no hikaku--chooshizen genshoo wo ika ni yomu ka" [Epiphanies in Homer and in the Tale of the Heike--Reading the Supernatural in Literature]" Gengo bunka [Meiji Gakuin Univ.] vol. 14 (1997): 1-16. // Review of Mae J. Smethurst, The Artistry of Aeschylus and Zeami in Journal of Hellenic Studies 111 (1991): 218-19.

From: Lawrence Marceau <lmarc...@...l.Edu>
Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 12:03:35 -0400
Subject: Re: haikai saijiki, illustrated

To summarize briefly what I found searching the Kokubungaku Kenkyuu Shiryoukan's online database, there is precious little in the line of illustrated saijiki published during the early modern period.

1. Ehon saijiki, by Tamiya Kitsuan, Bunka 2 (1804). However, this work does not seem to be extant...

2. Saijiki zue, by Hachimonji Jishou, illustrated by Utagawa Sadahide (Teishuu). Published Kouka 3 (1846). Again, only the first of presumably 2 volumes of this text survives, it seems...

The main saijiki of the early modern period seems to have been Bakin's Haikai saijiki of Kyouwa 3 (1803), which was expanded upon by others in later editions well into Meiji. It is not illustrated.

There were other works, such as one Haikai gafu published in the 1830s, that include haiga sketches with appropriate verses from Basho's school, and are arranged by season. These seem more like sketchbooks, though, rather than saijiki versification manuals. In the world of senryu, the bakumatsu period saw a profusion of illustrated editions of Yanagidaru, that also present similar haiga sketches together with appropriate senryu.

L. Marceau

From: Janine Beichman <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 08:58:11 +0900
Subject: New book announcment: Oriori no uta/Poems for All Seasons

New book announcment: Oriori no uta/Poems for All Seasons

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Kodansha International has recently published _Oriori no uta/Poems for All Seasons_, by Ooka Makoto, translated by me. This is a bi-lingual edition of Ooka Makoto's long-running poetry column of that name in the Asahi Shimbun. The volume (it is no. 54 in the series Kodansha Bi-lingual Books) consists of about one hundred and twenty translations of brief Japanese poems by a variety of authors from all eras and genres, ranging from the imperial poetry collections, linked verse, and medieval folksongs to modern tanka, haiku and free verse. Each selection is followed by Ooka's paragraph-long

The bi-lingual format, with the original Japanese on the left page and the translation on the right, and the fact that each selection is only a page, makes Poems for All Seasons/Oriori no Uta suitable for advanced language classes. The content might make it useful in literature classes as well.

The book, which costs 1300 yen, is not sold outside Japan, but should be available through overseas branches of Maruzen and Kinokuniya as well as stores that specialize in books on Asia and Japan. If anyone who would like to buy it has trouble doing so, please feel free to email me at, and I'll see if I can locate a source.

Regards to all,
Janine Beichman

Bibliographical information:
Oriori no uta/Poems for All Seasons, by Ooka Makoto, translated by Janine Beichman, Kodansha International, Tokyo, 2000.


(I apologize for the cross-posting to J-Lit and Pmjs but there are some people who don't overlap)

From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 17:49:51 +0900
Subject: new profile

Cross-checking the online list of member subscriptions with profile received, I find that I carelessly omitted to include in my last announcement a self-introduction received some time ago from Elizabeth Markham. Like many "bios" sent in recently, it is splendidly detailed. If you are one of the dwindling number of those who did not send a profile when signing up, please do. I know from off-list messages to the editor that many enjoy reading them. Revisions to your online profile are also very welcome--notice of new affiliations, new publications, new projects. Send information to me off-list (

Elizabeth Markham <>

Research Professor, Center for Research in Ancient Asian Musics, Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas. I am an ethnomusicologist working in early East Asian Musics, especially in the deciphering and analysis of the earliest sources - musical notations and singers' manyoogana text-copies - for Japanese Court Song. A second interest lies in historical interrelationships between the Court repertories of Gagaku and the Temple traditions of Buddhist Chant and their significance for the development of Japanese music in general. I am also involved in two collaborative projects: a newly established Ancient Asian Musics Preservation Project at the Library of Congress and the Tang Music Project (publication series 'Music from the Tang Court' [Cambridge University Press]). My most recent paper is entitled "The concept of a 'Basic Melody' in early Japanese court music: evidence in a Buddhist notation?", in _Studia
instrumentorum musicae popularis_, ed. Erich Stockmann, Leipzig, June 2000.

From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 18:28:27 +0900
Subject: new web site


Some of you may have noticed that the blue link at the top of this announcement no longer ends in ~watson/pmjs.html. Tired of seeing my name in lights, I asked the university to allow me to open a site just for this list and its web resources:

This link opens a new, simpler index page. The "classic" top page of the list with all the external links is now:

Most pmjs web pages have been moved to the new site, but copies can still be found at the old address. While I'm double-checking the links and tidying up the site, there will be ample time to adjust your bookmarks.

The advantage for me as webmaster is that things will be clearer and simpler this way. More importantly, for the list as a whole it means there will be a more appropriate home for web resources of different kind.

I've been talking off-list to a number of pmjs members about what kind of web resources might be offered. Some of the ideas so far are:

-- book reviews (1) of new publications (as H-Japan does)
-- book reviews (2) of "classics" (e.g. Brower/Miner, J Court Poetry),
-- translations of good quality not intended to be published in print
-- translations in progress
-- translations by graduate students (done as course work)
-- conference papers / seminar papers by graduate students and others
-- course syllabi/teaching materials
-- links to all of the above on other sites

There is still no fully-fledged electronic journal in our field. What I am proposing here stops well short of this, but it might be a start in this direction. It would certainly be possible to apply for an ISSN number, so that electronic publications could be formally cited.

Reactions anyone?

I would also like to hear off-list from anyone with suggestions for materials to be housed on the new site.

It might be fun to begin with reassessments of some classics, undervalued or overvalued. Any takers?

Michael Watson

[The remainder of this thread can be read in the public archives. Discussants were: Wayne Farris, David Pollack, Janine Beichman, Morgan Pitelka, Richard Bowring, Leith Morton, Bjarke Frellesvig, Lewis Cook, Rein Raud, Philip C. Brown, Robert E. Morrell, Joshua Mostow, Norma Field]

From: "Jordi Escurriola" <>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 10:27:03 GMT
Subject: Hojoki

I think that the proposition of offering new web resources for our list
should be welcomed.

I am translating Chomei's Hojoki into Catalan language, and I am just compiling as much information as possible about his life, his time, people, influences, and so on. Has any new study or book appeared recently? Is there any new conference/seminar papers about new material or reassessment about it? What about Allik Alari's paper on Chomei?

Thank you all


From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 10:41:57 +0900
Subject: Re: Hojoki

The first response to my suggestion about putting resources online. Thank you! Suggestions/contributions welcome.

The diacritics in Jordi Escurriola's message conflict with my Japanese system, but I believe that he is referring to Kamo no Choomei's Hoojooki.

The most recent Western study I know is by a pmjs member:

Pandey, Rajyashree. Writing and Renunciation in Medieval Japan. The Works of the Poet-Priest Kamo no Chomei. Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese
Studies, 21. Ann Arbor, 1999.
An excellent book. Would anyone with a copy like to review it for pmjs?

Are there any other recent studies we should know about? Translations known to me are listed in translation database (new address)


* account by Kamo no Chomei (1155-1216)
* McCullough, Classical Japanese Prose (1990), pp. 379-92.
* Complete German tr. by Naumann, Zauberschale, 1973, 253-266.
* Grosbois, Charles, and Tomiko Yoshida. Les heures oisives par Urabe Kenko. Suivi de Notes de ma cabane de moine par Kamo no Chomei, traduction du R.P.Sauveur Candau. Paris: Gallimard/Unesco, 1968. [Translations of Tsurezuregusa and Hojoki.]
* Keene in Keene, Anthology, 1955, pp. 197-212.
* Sadler, A. L. The Ten Foot Square Hut and Tales of the Heike: Being two
thirteenth-century Japanese classics, the "Hojoki" and selections from "The Heike Monogatari." Sydney: Angus & Robertson Limited, 1928. Reprints: Tuttle
1972; Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970.
* Dickens, F. Victor. Ho-jo-ki, Notes from a ten feet hut. London, 1907.
* Dixon, J. M. "A Description of My Hut."TASJ XX 2 (1893). [Incomplete]
* Czech trans. (Zapisky z volnych chvil: starojaponske literarni zapisniky, Praha : Odeon, 1984)
* Marra, Aesthetics of Discontent. 1991, pp. 88ff.
* e-text ed. M. Shibata (KNBT)

Michael Watson

From: Hank Glassman <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 10:34:22 -0700

Hi Jordi,

See list-member Rajyashree Pandey's _Writing and Renunciation in Medieval Japan: The Works of Poet-Priest Kamo no Choumei_ (Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2000) ISBN 0-939512-86-6



From: Robert Borgen <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 11:51:14 +0900
Subject: Re: Hojoki


And then there's the English 1891 translation of Hojoki by Natsume Souseki. Complete with an introduction, it appears in his Zenshuu, vol. 12, pp. 343-66 (Iwanami Shoten, 1967). It's not the version I would recommend to beginning students, but anyone interested in modern Japanese literature might want to take a look at it.

Robert Borgen

From: "Jordi Escurriola" <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 07:22:46 GMT
Subject: Hoojooki

Thank you Michael.
I have just finished reading Pandey's book. Splendid, indeed! Sorry about the diacritics.

From: (Richard Bowring)

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 08:40:11 +0100

Subject: Re: Hojoki

Re Chomei translations, add
Nicola Liscutin, Aufzeichnungen aus meiner Hutte (apologies for lack of umlaut on Hutte), Insel Verlag, 1997.
Richard Bowring

From: Noel John Pinnington <no...@...rizona.EDU>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 11:18:23 -0700
Subject: Hojoki

Just in case it doesnt get mentioned, there is the excellent German translation by our list member, Nicola Liscutin:

(1997) Kamo no Chomei: Aufzeichnungen aus meiner Huette. [Uebers. und Nachwort]. Frankfurt: Insel Verlag

Noel Pinnington

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 20:53:06 EDT
Subject: Hiraizumi

The famous haiku written by Basho at Hiraizumi:

The summer grasses -
For many brave warriors
The aftermath of dreams.

Does anyone know if the battlefield can still be visited or if it's just part of some conurbation?

Daniel Gallimore

From: "Lewis Cook" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 02:28:28 -0400
Subject: Kurano Takezumi, Miwa Sugikado

I'd very much appreciate help attaching some flesh or bio-data to either of the two names mentioned in the Subject line, Kurano (= warehouse + moor) Takezumi (= bamboo + clear [though some uncertainty about the last graph]) and Miwa Sugikado (= cedar + gate). They are given as the authors of two kyouka inscribed on a fragment of a scroll painting featuring 'kirigirisu' (and presumably other poetic topoi), perhaps late 18th c. or later? Neither name turns up as an author in the _Kokusho-soumokuroku_ (generously provided, for now, on-line by the Shiryoukan), nor in other web searches I've tried.

Thanks in advance,

Lewis Cook

From: "Jordi Escurriola" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 08:39:21 GMT
Subject: Hoojooki

Thanks to Noel Pinnington, Robert Borgen, Hank Glassman, and Tom Hare for their messages about Hoojooki.


From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 18:03:59 +0900
Subject: Re: Hiraizumi

Daniel Gallimore asks about Basho's Hiraizumi haiku

> The summer grasses -
> For many brave warriors
> The aftermath of dreams.
> Does anyone know if the battlefield can still be visited or if it's just part
> of some conurbation?

There are no end of books retracing Basho's journey. Lesley Downer describes her visit to the site--still rural--and how she is startled by a recorded announcement from a loud-speaker hidden in the trees: "From the top of this Takadachi Hill, you may view the ancient battlefield of Koromogawa and the place where Benkei fought to his death long time ago."

Lesley Downer, _On the narrow road: Journey into a lost Japan_ (New York etc.: Summit Books, 1989 [originally published in U.K. by Jonathan Cape]), p. 71-2.

Michael Watson

From: Robert Borgen <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 19:06:34 +0900
Subject: Re: Hiraizumi

For Hiraizumi, see Mimi Yiengpruksawan s fine book on the subject, Hiraizumi : Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Japan, recently published as a Harvard East Asian Monograph.

When I went there myself a few of years ago, I got on the tourist bus and was able to see everything very nicely in one day, including, as I recall, a monument that claims to mark the spot when Yoshitsune and company were slaughtered. Presumably it's also where Basho wrote his poem.

Robert Borgen

Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 08:06:22 EDT
Subject: Hiraizumi

Many thanks for your reports from the battlefield. I wanted to know this as I was doing some research recently on the reception of Shakespeare's history plays in Japan and was interested to know how a place like Hiraizumi was regarded in comparison to Bosworth Field in 'Richard III'. Clearly then, like Bosworth, the field is still a field and can be visited.

Daniel Gallimore

Postgraduate Research Student
Linacre College,
Oxford OX1 3JA

From: "Anthony J. Bryant" <>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 08:15:08 -0600
Subject: Re: Hiraizumi wrote:

Many thanks for your reports from the battlefield. I wanted to know this as I was doing some research recently on the reception of Shakespeare's history plays in Japan and was interested to know how a place like Hiraizumi was regarded in comparison to Bosworth Field in 'Richard III'. Clearly then, like Bosworth, the field is still a field and can be visited. 

It can be visited, but there's no sense of preservation.

I liken it to Sekigahara, where I was just 10 days ago. The site of what is arguably Japan's most important battle. They have a small museum and a pathetically sad "warland" with full sized plaster warriors in attitudes of mayhem that are poorly executed. That and a handful of stone monuments and that's it. The land is still all private property, farms and danchi, with little
sense of "this was a battlefield" about it.

By contrast, Gettysburg in the US is the quintessential example of a battlefield preservation. Visitors' centers, museums, displays, monuments, and a sense of history that is totally lacking at Sekigahara. The current "mascot" of Sekigahara is an anime style (short, pudgy, with big wet eyes) cartoon character, and his buddy, an anthroporphic lion (!), both in armour.

Frankly, it's embarrassing. And this year marks the 400th anniversary of the battle, and all sorts of activities are planned.


Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 17:38:42 -0500
Subject: Re: new profile

Tom assures me that although this Project is not primarily Japan-centered and still in its early days what I have put together about it for him might be of more general interest than I had anticipated. Elizabeth

I wonder if we might ask Elizabeth Markham to tell us more about the newly established Ancient Asian Musics Preservation Project at the Library of Congress. It sounds like a great idea, but this is the first I, for one, have heard of it. 

Tom Hare 

The Ancient Asian Music Project, a very new 'member' of the International Music Preservation Program of the Library of Congress, realizing the fragility and irreplaceability of so many ancient musical documents and traditions (representing some of the most important parts of our collective cultural heritage) is embarking on a new program of preservation and dissemination to attempt to contain potentially devastating losses - through deterioration, destruction and so on - by establishing initially six depositories (including the Library of Congress) in various parts of the world. By working in partnership with major cultural institutions throughout the world and with individual scholars researching the actual documents and traditions the project aims to tease out the most appropriate (non-invasive, permanent, ownership-respecting etc.) ways of preserving the various formats and types of musical treasure (rock-inscriptions, palm-leaf inscriptions, brush-written manuscripts, living traditions...).

The Senior Consultant to the new Ancient Asian Music Project is Dr Laurence Picken of Jesus College Cambridge, England, and the Director of the International Music Preservation Program itself is Sarah Caldwell. For those who know of either musical figure, something of the flavour of the Project may be attainable, even via e-mail: Laurence Picken's inspiring studies of the musical history of Asia and his insistence that ancient musical connections are relevant today lie at the heart of the project; and Sarah Caldwell's indefatigable drive to make 'things happen' and her concern that music was and is a performing art has integrated the re-construction of instruments and the recovery and bringing-to-life of Ancient Asian Musics in performance as part of the preservation.

Insofar as the relevant permissions can be obtained, archives will be made accessible either on the Internet or at the locations where the archives are stored, and publication series (including facsimiles), recordings, filmed documentaries, symposia and exhibitions are envisaged. (The Library's Music Division will co-ordinate the preservation and dissemination using the same digital technology that has made the Library's National Digital Library a pioneer in preserving and disseminating documents of all kinds.)

Reading back through this I know I haven't managed it in the nutshell I wanted but I think I have captured the essentials. Of related interest, perhaps: The International Center for Research in Ancient Asian Musics, Univeristy of Arkansas, is in the process of being set up to mirror the LoC Project and to function both as an acquisition and research partner and as the base within the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences for a new Graduate Program in Historical Ethnomusicology of Asia. (I have a little more available about this side of the project for anyone interested.)

Dr. Elizabeth J. Markham, Tel. (501) 575-4701
Research Professor of Music, Fax (501) 575-5409
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences,
U.S.A. E-mail:

From: Haruo Shirane <>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 16:05:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Hiraizumi

Yes, the battlefield can be visited. Take the train to Hiraizumi. There's a little tourist trap with a hill, the view down into a small valley, and a stone inscription of the poem, but the view is authentic, and the temples around Hiraizumi are worth visiting.

Haruo Shirane wrote:

> The famous haiku written by Basho at Hiraizumi:


> The summer grasses -

> For many brave warriors

> The aftermath of dreams.


> Does anyone know if the battlefield can still be visited or if it's just part

> of some conurbation?


> Daniel Gallimore 

From: Matthew Stavros <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 16:16:24 +0900
Subject: Literary Accounts of Warring Kyoto

Dear Members,

Allow me to ask a rather broad question.

Many of you are likely familiar with the Renga poet Socho. Professor Mary Elizabeth Berry quotes some of his writings in her book, Culture Of Civil War in Kyoto, where he laments about the condition of the capital, terrorized by the destruction of war. This sparks my curiosity. Focusing my research on the evolution of Kyoto's urban landscape during the Age of Warring States (1467-1600), I would like to start a collection of such literary accounts of the wartime city. This is, however, a new idea for me and I have not yet begun to look around for sources. I suppose beginning with Socho himself would be a start. What I would like to ask is if there are any other similar such sources of literary or poetic accounts of
medieval Kyoto. Particularly I am looking for passages that describe the cityscape. In my memory, I recall seeing poem collections about Kyoto at Maruzen, Kinokuniya and elsewhere, however, most of these are about the soft-purple splendor of the Heian-period capital - in which case, I can think of plenty of literary accounts.

I guess what I am asking is if there are any collections (either in English or Japanese) within which I might find such sources. Are there any other poets (like Socho) who I should look at? And finally, are there any scholars out there whose work has touched upon such topics?

As a side note, when I say I am looking for "literary" sources, I mean poetic or otherwise artistic writings and not, for example, the journals of nobility, etc.

Thank you for any suggestions.

Matthew Stavros

(Kyoto University / Princeton University - kind of in between right now)

From: Mack Horton <>

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 16:58:00 -0600

Subject: Re: Literary Accounts of Warring Kyoto

Dear Matthew,
I have a complete translation of The Journal of Socho and an accompanying volume entitled Song in an Age of Discord: The Journal of Socho and Poetic Life in Late Medieval Japan coming out in a few months from Stanford University Press. Therein, you'll find references to other wabun and kanbun nikki that describe to Sengoku Kyoto. I've also done a piece on the life of Sanjonishi Sanetaka and his wife that quotes from Sanetakakoki, another wonderful source for the Sengoku capital. This is forthcoming in the Journal
of the Association of Teachers of Japanese.
Good luck!
Mack Horton

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 16:31:23 +0900
Subject: Opening of Niigata Prefectural Museum

First, sorry for the cross-posting.

This message is to announce the opening of the Niigata Prefectural Museum in Nagaoka on August 1, 2000. Not only does this museum focus on the anthropology, archaeology, and history of Niigata Prefecture, over half of its exhibit space is devoted to exhibits on the archaeology of the Jomon era.

Our web page (with some English pages and links, but still under construction) is Audio programs in Chinese, English, and Russian will be available for foreign visitors.

A special exhibit associated with the opening is as follows:

August 1  September 17 2000
Jomonesque Japan
This exhibit explores the roots of the Japanese spirit and examines the meaning of the Jomon culture for contemporary Japan. Spirals and S-motifs were common features in the material culture of the Jomon; these same motifs are inspiring modern Japanese artists who are intent on creating a new style. This exhibit showcases both artifacts from the Jomon era and contemporary pieces of Japanese art.

Mark Hall, Ph.D.
Niigata Prefectural Museum
Sekiharacho 1
Gongendo 2247-2
Nagaoka 940-2037
Phone: 81-258-47-6134
Fax: 81-258-47-6136

From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 23:25:21 +0900
Subject: new members

We welcome two more members, Leila Wice and Steven Nelson.

Leila Wice <>

Ph.D. candidate, Japanese History, Columbia University; currently based at the University of Tokyo's Historiographical Institute. I am in Japan through Spring 2001, conducting research for my dissertation on the social history of clothing codes from the mid to late nineteenth century.

Steven G. Nelson <>

Associate Professor, Research Centre for Japanese Traditional Music, Kyooto City University of Arts.

After undergraduate study in musicology at the University of Sydney, I came to Japan in 1980 and have been here since. Graduate work at Tookyoo Geijutsu Daigaku (Tookyoo National University of Fine Arts and Music); archival work for many years at the Research Archives for Japanese Music of Ueno Gakuen University (Tookyoo). I began with a vague interest in the early music notations of gagaku; this has expanded to a broad interest in the pre-Meiji history of the non-theatrical classical musical arts, especially gagaku, shoomyoo, heike-biwa and jiuta-sookyoku (koto/shamisen music). I work mainly with primary sources (music notations and writings on music in the broadest sense) and am responsible for building up a research library and collection of music-related materials at the newly-founded research centre where I work (April 2000-). Other major fields of interest include Heian-period diaries, ceremony and ritual in the Tendai and Shingon sects, and medieval setsuwa and gunki literature.

From: Kendon Stubbs <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 12:55:20 -0400
Subject: Tale of Genji Opera

Readers of this list may be interested in the Washington Post's review of a new opera called "The Tale Of Genji," which had its premiere in St. Louis, MO, last week. According to the report ("In 'Tale of Genji,' An Oedipus of the East," June 19), the opera concentrates on "the first four of the tale's six sections," and weaves together "a thematically linked series of sexual escapades (all centered on the conquests of the rakish and heartbreaking Prince Genji." The opera has been written in both English and Japanese versions by Minoru Miki, and is scored for symphony orchestra, koto, qin, and pipa. The Post's review is at

Kendon Stubbs
University of Virginia

From: "Robert E. Morrell" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 14:31:46 -0500, PMJS <>
Subject: Re: Tale of Genji Opera

Thanks for the tip. My wife and I have tickets for this Sunday night's performance. Now don't you all wish you lived in the Midwest?
Bob M

From: "Elliot Berlin" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 16:22:14 -0400
Subject: Re: Tale of Genji Opera

In conversations I've had with the opera's librettist and messages exchanged with the composer I believe I was told that the performance in Japan will be, surprisingly enough, presented in the same English version (by librettist Colin Graham) now being seen in St. Louis. I'll verify this when I can and send an update. This Tokyo performance has been planned for September of 2001, but I certainly can't say how certain that schedule is.

There's also a review of the opera from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

If this link doesn't get you right there, use the site's search capability to search for "Genji" and you'll get a link to the review.

And, here's a link to Mr. Miki's site, which can be accessed in Japanese or English:

E Berlin

From: (Royall Tyler)
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 12:04:18 +1100
Subject: Re: Tale of Genji Opera

Dear Colleagues,

I read the two reviews of the Genji opera with great interest. I draw your attention particularly to the two following paragraphs.

But does it have anything to do with Murasaki's original, written around t he year 1000? Sticklers have complained that the original Genji--literally the "shining one"--is a disturbingly amoral character, a fictional Don Juan of 10th-century Japan with physical beauty his most redeeming feature. But to base a three-hour opera on the moral dynami cs of the original, in which the women seem rather like isolated islands, waiting to be conquered by an unsympathetic hero, would have crea ted a chilling and emotionally remote piece of work. So Genji is given a conscience and the capacity for regret. (Washington Post) 

Those who do know the book may be bemused by the addition of a conscience to the cheerfully remorseless and entirely self-absorbed Genji. But Graham, who doubled as the thoughtful stage director, was right in this. Without some acknowledgement of the effects of his actions on those around him, Genji would be too unsympathetic to support a three-hour opera. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) 

On the face of it, one of these reviewers is manifestly copying the other, but there it is. I am aghast. Anyone who has read my Monumenta Nipponica article will know that I can be hard on Genji too, but I have not spent the last six and a half years racking my brains for new ways to convey regret, sympathy, sorrow, mourning, love, appreciation, admiration, and so on (of course in addition to less admirable sentiments), to be told that Genji is "a disturbingly amoral character, a fictional Don Juan of 10th-century Japan withphysical beauty his most redeeming feature," or that he is "cheerfully remorseless and entirely self-absorbed." If this is the pop reading that our current, righteous obsessions (on both sides of the Pacific) have led us to, weshould be ashamed of ourselves.

Royall Tyler

From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 10:44:57 +0900
Subject: list news / new members

The number of pmjs members in or near Tokyo has been swelled by summer visitors--I met three of our medievalists at a Noh performance on Tuesday. I hope to see more of you at the ASCJ conference at Sophia University this weekend (24-25 June). Details at:

Three new members have joined us: Rosa Wunner , Aaron M. Cohen, and Yayoi Uno Everett.

Rosa Wunner <>

Graduate student. M.A. at Berlin Humboldt University on Mori Ogai. Present research focusses on ethics and etiquette during the Meiji era and their representation in the works of Mori Ogai. 1999/2000 at Tokyo University, then Cambridge University, UK.
Publications: * "Mori Ogai: Studies and Translations in Western Languages - A Bibliography". Berlin, Japonica Humboldtiana 2 (1998). * a translation of a play by Mori Ogai into German: Mori Ogai: "Das Perlenkaestchen und zwei mit Namen Urashima" (Tamakushige futari Urashima). Kleine Reihe 2. Berlin: Mori-Ogai-Gedenkstaette der Humboldt-Universitaet, 1997.

Aaron M. Cohen <>

Adjunct Lecturer, Reitaku University (on leave 1999-2000) Newly re-based in NY. Specialize in the performing arts, especially Japan and the Japanese in the West up to WW2. Ancillary interest in early modern opera and non-traditional theatre in Japan. Research/writing focus is on broad cultural background as well as performances and performers. Scope includes opera, ballet, dance, music, drama, film, etc.

Yayoi Uno Everett <>

Assistant Professor, Emory University, Atlanta GA.
I am a music theorist who specializes in cross-cultural studies in contemporary art music, with a particular focus on Japanese composers, e.g., Toru Takemitsu, Joji Yuasa, Makoto Shinohara, who integrated the practices of Gagaku and Noh-drama with Western contemporary musical idioms. My
publication on Takemitsu appears in Hugh DeFerranti, ed., A Way Alone: Music of Toru Takemitsu (Tokyo: Academia Press, 2000). I am currently editing and contributing to a book, entitled Interface with East Asia: Cross-cultural Syntheses in Postwar Art Music.

Finally a number of you have written to announce change of address.
Oliver Aumann <>
Terrence Jackson <>
Michael Kersten <>
John Schmitt-Weigand <>
Ivo Smits <>

As the new FAQ page is also temporarily off-line, let me remind members how
to change the address for receiving listbot mail:
[omitted as no longer valid]

Thanks finally to Charo D'Etcheverry who wrote to report trouble accessing the new pmjs pages. This was a temporary problem with the university web server and would appear to have now been solved.

Many thanks also Morgan Pitelka and Ivo Smits for warning me about the trouble with misplaced style sheets that result in Netscape error message

The requested URL /~pmjs/trans/styles_pmjs.css was not found on this server. 

I've been checking pages to eliminate this problem. Tell me off-list if you spot it again.

Apologies for the rash of errors, human and mechanical.

Michael Watson <>

Editor, PMJS mailing list

From: Karel Fiala <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 16:18:21 +0900
Subject: World of Shining Scholarship

Prof. Tyler,
I, too, am shocked. I wonder whether we should be ashamed for the generation of people who do not understand "Classics" any more, or, at least partially, also for the seclusion of our "world of shining scholarship", whose many years' experience and profound insight seem to remain completely unnoticed by reviewers of world-top newspapers. Are we really doing all we could and should?
(Of course, Monumenta Nipponica might be read more widely, and be easier to read than the Genji original...)


From: "Jordi Escurriola" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 09:06:23 GMT
Subject: Suhoo Naishi

I am trying to find out a poem by Suhoo Naishi starting : "Sumiwabite ware sae noki no shinobugusa......"
A reference gives me the Kin'yooshuu, but I cannot find it there.
Any help, please?
Thanks to all

Jordi Escurriola

From: Rose Bundy <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 15:22:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Suhoo Naishi

It's Kinyo^shu^ 591,(vol. IX; misc. I of the KYS) in the Shinpen Kokka taikan.

Rose Bundy

From: Lawrence Marceau <lmarc...@...l.Edu>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 09:22:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Suhoo Naishi

The Kokubungaku Kenkyu^ Shiryo^ Kan still has its searchable index of the complete text of all 21 imperial anthologies at the following site:

This site used to require a password, but now it is available for anyone. You can enter a name, for example, and find that poet's complete listing, and many other useful things. There is even a link to a graphic of a manuscript version of a particular poem, once you find what you are looking for!

It turns out that Suo^ no Naishi (late 11th C.) has 35 waka included in anthologies starting with _Goshu^i wakashu^_ up through _Shinshoku kokin wakashu^_. The beautiful waka written on a pillar when the poet let her house go to another's possession is indeed number 629 of _Kin'yo^ wakashu^_ (please excuse the Japanese encoding for those who don't have it):

Japanese text

sumiwabite / ware sae noki no / shinobugusa / shinobu katagata / shigeki ya to ka na

Is there an English translation of this verse out there?

Lawrence Marceau

From: "Denise O'Brien" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 13:39:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Tale of Genji Opera

Dear Colleagues:

I agree with Royall Tyler that obviously Genji is a far more subtle and nuanced character than the reviews of The Tale of Genji opera would suggest. Without having seen the opera or read the libretto, I can only suggest that the reviewers are another example of the dual dimensions in which the Genji exists, as recently discussed on our list. Kennicott in the Washington Post review says the opera concentrates on the first four of the tale's six sections. It's not clear exactly what four sections those are, but from the list of characters that includes the Akashi Lady and the Akashi Priest (called Akashi Recluse in the opera), we can assume the opera's actions go through Ch.13 Akashi but not as far as Ch.17 Eawase/The Picture Contest. The Akashi Lady is identified on Minoru Miki's webpage as being the grand-daughter of the Recluse of Akashi--who would be Genji's daughter--but perhaps that is a typo since the Akashi Lady's role in the opera is sung by the same soprano who sings the Rokujo Lady. Her voice is described as big and dramatic, not quite right for the Akashi Princess, Genji's daughter. Also, Akikonomu doesn't appear in the opera cast so its action must stop before Ch.17. The Eawase/Picture Contest chapter is one of the places in the tale where Genji's serious side and his artistic, creative capacities come to the fore. If I'm correct and the opera stops around Ch.13 or 15, then it becomes a bit easier to see why reviewers might characterize Genji as a Don Juan. I've never had the luxury of teaching the whole of the Genji but have sometimes used Seidensticker's abridged translation (stops at Ch.17 Eawase/Picture Contest) in courses on Japanese culture. Based on that exposure American undergraduates almost always perceive Genji as a seducer, libertine, etc. though Ch.17 and some background on polygyny help a bit to dispel that image. [Using McCullough's 1994 abridgement might help too, since she includes two chapters from Genji's mature years.] If you're interested you can purchase the libretto by Colin Graham for $11.00 (USD). I talked to the libretto lady at the Opera this morning; most copies will go into storage after the production closes this weekend but she will save out five copies. You can send a cheque made out to the Opera Theatre of St. Louis to Opera Theatre of St. Louis, P.O. Box 191910, St. Louis MO 63119 [Attn: Lucy or Brenda] OR you can e-mail Brenda at One more query and then I'll stop: Minoru Miki's webpage notes: /there are more than eight English translations/ [of the Genji] Really? Who else besides Suematsu (partial), Waley, Seidensticker, and McCullough (partial) and not counting yet Royal Tyler's forthcoming one?

Regards, Denise O'Brien

Dept. of Anthropology, Temple University
Philadelphia, PA, 19122, USA

From: "Robert E. Morrell" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 21:09:49 -0500
Subject: Re: Tale of Genji Opera

I disagree with none of Professor Tyler's objections to the reviews of _Genji_ (which I will finally see on Sunday). Frankly, I don't expect much. (The local _Post-Dispatch_ seems to avoid it . Our classical reviewer, Sarah Bryant Miller, is absolutely first-rate -- in fact, one of only 2-3 writers worth reading in the P.D. -- once a great newspaper under the original Joseph Pulitzer, but no more. . . She has a quite detailed and interesting article about the conductor, but I think she is deliberately holding off on a final critique.)

Quite apart from the impossibility of condensing 1000+ pages into some kind of opera, let's look at the flip side. Miki is at least trying. Personally, I do not for a moment believe that the West (us, I guess) do not really wish to come to terms with the "mysterious East". This has been a continuing problem for which we are ALL responsible. (I would like all here to see (reruns or Blockbusters) Marlon Brando's "Sayonara"(1952 - - get a pencil and figure out the time between 1952 and 2000) once again. It's easy enough to smirk at this. . . But consider that this was made in 1952 -- 7 years after the end of WW2! - - and almost a half century later Asians have not really been integrated into theater/fiction (yes, yes, I know you can find exceptions).

My own passion is Buddhism. I cannot see how the West can possibly try to impose its Judeo/Christian/Islamic/ Marxist/ atheistic/ whatever tradition on ANY other different culture. Our arrogance can go just so far -- but also explains much. . . . If the Japanese also insist on their insularity, then they also will pay the price.

Meanwhile, I applaud Miki's attempt. (Takemitsu? Ma. . . Ma!)

Bob M

From: Matthew Stavros <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2000 23:44:24 +0900
Subject: shiryo on the web.

Dear Member and Prof. Watson,

Going back to web resources, it would be wonderful if PMJS had a page working as a kind of clearinghouse, listing all the places on the web where real photos of historical documents can be found.

For example, I would hope that everyone knows about Kyoto University's slowly growing collection at:

I, for one, would like to bookmark all similar pages with by browser. Any other suggestions? Maybe those that are contributed as a result of this question could be arranged into a single place for us all to reference easily. (Not spending much time at the PMJS home page, I admit, I might suggesting something that already exists, if not there, somewhere).

Matthew Stavros

From: (Royall Tyler)
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 08:26:25 +1100
Subject: Re: Tale of Genji Opera

Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is clear from the reviews that Miki and his librettist understand Genji better than whoever is the supposedly authoritative source of those two reviewers' comments. What shocks me is that someone, claiming authority, has given those reviewers (perhaps indirectly)
reason to believe that Miki and his librettist made up Genji's "conscience."
The letters S and J come to mind.

Royall Tyler

From: "Amanda Stinchecum" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000 10:05:23 +0900
Subject: [Windows 2000]

Does anyone have information about the supposedly bug-free new version of Windows 2000 that includes all Japanese-language functions, said to be due out in August? I would like to install Windows 2000 during a short trip to NY in early August if this "new" version is available.

Any info appreciated.

Amanda Stinchecum
Taketomi, Okinawa

From: "Elliot Berlin" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 09:01:09 -0400
Subject: Tale of Genji Opera

I'm curious to see the program given out at the performance. It may hold a clue to some of the issues at hand. I'm now following up on the option of acquiring a copy of the libretto, and will add a request for a copy of the program.

E Berlin

From: "X. Jie YANG" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 16:03:24 -0600
Subject: Electronic Materials and Classical (pre-modern?) Japanese Studies

Dear Members,

I am in the process of planning a panel in related to the above theme for the next AAS annual meeting in Chicago. I am wondering if there is any member from this list may consider to participate.

We all know that the environment of the study of classical Japanese literature has largely changed in this electronic era. An electronic version of Iwanami Koten Taikei alone, for instance, does not only
remove many volumes of index from the shelf, it changes the way of our reading and writing, and maybe even the attitude of approaching to classical works. There are such a large number of encyclopedias,
dictionaries and books-in-CD-ROM, and we are all benefited with this particular list! Needless to say, none of these appear automatically, and we have the responsibility to make the environment becomes better.

The planed panel is not yet another information session, but rather to address topics such like (but not limited to):
-- What we can do with the new environment, in some big pictures;
-- Ideal directions to go as from the point of view of individual scholars, public organizations: analysis and criticism;
-- The way of developing new resources: case studies; etc..

Please write either to this list or to myself. Any comments and thoughts in this regard are very much appreciated.

University of Calgary, Canada

PS: Michael, would you like to consider to support a panel like this as the organizer of this list? I guess that by now there are many people want to see you, in life!

From: Kendon Stubbs <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 19:56:09 -0400
Subject: Tale of Genji Opera

I don't know whether the following message was also sent to PMJS.

Kendon Stubbs

-----Original Message-----


Sent: Monday, June 26, 2000 4:25 AM

To: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture

Subject: Re: H-ASIA: Tale of Genji Opera 

Tokyo, 26/6/2000 

Colin Graham's English text for the TALE of GENJI is now posted (courtesy of Graham and the Opera Theatre Saint Louis) at: 

Opera japonica also has an interview with the composer, Minoru MIKI; 

There are pictures of the new production. On the same page, in the Resources Section, there are two RealMedia video files (stereo/mono) of Shizuka's Dance, an extract from Miki's previous opera SHIZUKA and YOSHITSUNE. We plan to publish an extended review of the world premiere run later. 

Simon Holledge

Opera japonica


From: "Robert E. Morrell" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000 20:47:56 -0500, PMJS <>
Subject: Tale of Genji Opera

I am delighted to report that neither "S" nor "J" appear anywhere in my name. Be that as it may, Sachiko and I did indeed see the final (Sunday) performance of "Genji" last night in St. Louis, and so (at the moment) we speak on the basis of this experience.

We approached it somewhat apprehensively, but were eventually pretty much converted (and the cast received a standing ovation -- make of it what you will).

General considerations: Amid all the general clamor, I, for one, am morally convinced that "classical" music will -- "like, no way, man, like -- die". . . Opera, however, is something unique, and perhaps more vulnerable. If Japanese _No_, _joruri_, Kabuki, etc. are all being replaced by virtue of our current certainties about "modernism" (as in much of our notions of the "evolution" of literature) -- well, so be it. We are all the inheritors of Herbert Spencer's Social Evolution, whether we consciously accept this or not -- not to mention Marx. . . But , note, the West is subject to the very same forces of decay/renewal as the Japanese -- no more, no less. "Sauce for the goose. . . "

Look, we have viable operas from Monteverdi through Handel, Gluck, Mozart , etc., Belioz, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Shostakovich, "Vanessa" (?) and then . . . what? [Yes, I know we have left out 1-2-3 items of importance [e.g., Ravel's "Magician"]. . . Britten's "Curlew River" (cf., "Sumidagawa") -- is a good way to go, but , much as I regret it, I think that opera as a musical form, is most vulnerable. Chamber music will survive much longer than most 19th century opera -- and, incidentally Whitney (Whitney who? Dunno). . . To put it pompously -- and why not -- chamber music is the essence of the late Western tradition. If it goes away, then so does the W.T. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, where the Long Ranger and his faithful scout Tonto are . . . Is NEWER necessarily an advance -- however accepted the assumption? Is refusal to accept its often preposterous claims necessarily a reactionary kneejerk? No on both counts.

So what does Miki have to take off from? -- The decline of Western opera, for starters -- a tough row to hoe. In this unpromising context that I have a few positive comments. My wife and I have I have long since paid our dues to social evolution -- and entitled to a refund. . . .

For starters, see Sarah Bryan Miller's review in the _St. Louis Post-Dispatch_ (www. <> <> for June 17 [I think]), which appeared BEFORE the WP 6/19) review. Hopefully, we will be discussing this opera for years to come. . .

Scenery Not unimportant in an opera which is half Japanese -- given the Japanese emphasis on the VISUAL/spectacle over the dramatic/spoken . Spectacular!

Story line/libretto. Quite frankly -- probably the best that could be expected. Opera/ballet story lines are all 99.9% goofy. And what choice did Miki have but to reduce the limited anecdotes at hand to a tale of a cads's (Genji's) ultimate remorse/regret at his being the cause of so much misery -- Aoi, Rokujo, Murasaki, etc. The libretto, compiled at the last minute, unconvincingly tells us that somehow this has to do with "Mono no aware," and the libretto was distributed separately (for $11).

Music. Fortunately, basically tonal -- complemented brilliantly with biwa, p'i-p'a and chi'in professionals. Moments of possibility -- but how many operas can engage us for 3 hours and 15 minutes w/o a yawn or two? (Somehow, the second scene was much more engaging than the first.)

Bottom line (one person's opinion). Much better than you might expect, but be patient. Let's see what changes when it gets to Japan. Hey, every composer constantly revises.

Bob M

From: (Niels GUELBERG)
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 12:19:20 +0900 (JST)
Subject: shiryo on the web.

To Matthew Stavros' question:
there is a web site at the Historiographical Institute including real photos and full text database of
the translation by the Yale historian Asakawa Kan'ichi.
See for:

From: "Mark Hall" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 17:54:28 -0700
Subject: [Windows 2000]

Evidently it's for sale somewhere in Japan, our museum just set up its LAN with it. "Bug-free" is a very relative term shall we say....

Later, Mark Hall

----- Original Message -----

From: Amanda Stinchecum <>

Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2000 6:05 PM


> Does anyone have information about the supposedly bug-free new version of

> Windows 2000 that includes all Japanese-language functions, said to be due

> out in August? I would like to install Windows 2000 during a short trip

> to NY in early August if this "new" version is available. 

From: "Elliot Berlin" <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 07:04:06 -0400
Subject: Tale of Murasaki

List members may be curious to read a very favorable review of Liza Dalby's "Tale of Murasaki" published today in USA Today. The link appears below. It has some potential to be an antidote for the concerns expressed about the reception of Miki's Genji opera...

E Berlin

From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 20:31:02 +0900
Subject: Tale of Murasaki

The first chapter of list member's Liza Dalby's _Life of Murasaki_ can also be read online.
Her own website to go with the novel is:

Michael Watson

From: "Elliot Berlin" <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 12:30:18 -0400
Subject: Tale of Genji Opera

The apparent critical collusion that Royall Tyler alluded to last week may of course have come from the two journalists talking shop after the performance. It certainly also demonstrates a lack of dedication to the task at hand.

Philip Kennicott writes for my hometown paper (Washington Post), and regularly strikes me as a mediocre music critic, vastly inferior to his immediate predecessor, whom I adored. I'm not surprised to see he's done a bad job with Genji.

I don't agree that this necessarily indicates any failure of scholars to pull their weight, an issue Karel Fiala raised. It has more to do with the limited range of interests "allowed" into the popular media. Nonetheless, maybe it's time for scholars to pro-actively devote energy to crafting new strategies for communicating to the wider public, parallel to more traditional academic work. Filmmakers, for example, often reach out to scholars when they learn of a subject that lends itself to documentary treatment. The search rarely goes in the opposite direction. It's also possible for people in the academy to reach out to filmmakers if they have special knowledge of a compelling subject that would work as a film. Often a scholar has unique access to the arbiters of a subject, because of years dedicated to its study. That access is coin of the realm in the filmmaking world.

Hopefully, the film my company is working toward making--about the Genji and the many forms in which it has appeared and reappeared over the centuries--will be the kind of high-quality popular media program that can help address the grievances contained in last week's messages.

That said, if there are any list members not yet contacted, who think they might be able to contribute to the substance of this ambitious documentary, I'd love to hear from you. Our efforts can only benefit from your support. We already have interest from some international distributors and co-producers, and have received a very supportive letter from PBS that will be a significant help in raising money, and indicates their interest in broadcasting the results. And, the leading US distributor of films and videos to the educational market is anxious to add this film to their catalog.

We're now at the point where we're ready to dedicate ourselves to the fundraising phase of the process. My perhaps-too-optimistic hope is to finish the documentary roughly around the time Royall Tyler's new translation is published.

Write to me off-list if you'd like more information about this documentary film project.

Elliot Berlin

From: (Royall Tyler)
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 10:58:46 +1100
Subject: Tale of Genji Opera

Dear Colleagues,

First, I apologize for indulging in innuendo by mentioning those letters that sent some of you off into speculations that I should not have provoked. Second, I should like to explain further why I reacted as I did to the passages I cited from those two reviews.

The issue is dehumanization. Those two reviewers reported on the basis of what they took, perhaps too willingingly, for competent authority that the Genji of the original work lacks a conscience and so is at best a sort of sociopath. They reported him as being inhuman. I understand that some of you reading this may feel, or may know others who feel, for reasons worthy in themselves that his actions do indeed make him inhuman. It is anyone's privilege as a private reader to take him that way. However, if we are "teaching"The Tale of Genji or discussing the work in a public context we should remain aware that that is NOT how the narrator presents him. The narrator's Genji suffers, loves, feels remorse, and so on, and he often strives to be kind.There is no reason to approve of everything he does (the narrator herself does not invite one to), and one may well wish to criticize him severely. However, that is no excuse for dehumanizing him and reducing him to the mindless, conscienceless sex machine of Leporello's aria about Don Giovanni.

One reason not to do so, apart simply from respect for the text--that is tosay, for the author, her narrator, and her audience--is that this view of Genji is both implausible and insulting. It is also despairingly boring. Has Japanese culture really prized for the last thousand years a hero who is nothing but a mindless, serial rapist? What then are we to think of that tradition? What are we to think of all those who have loved and admired the tale, including Yosano Akiko? If anyone feels like invoking the injustices of patriarchy to answer that, Yes, that is what Genji is, I say that that is notgood enough. Not only Japanese women, but also Japanese men are and have always been human, whether or not one approves of what they do. Genji too.

Dehumanization. In our classrooms and our lectures we seems sometimes to fight current wars on terrain a thousand years old. Very well, but one of the basic impulses in war is to dehumanize the enemy. John Dower made this painfully clear in War Without Mercy, particularly with respect to American wartime attitudes toward the Japanese. So in our gender wars the impulse to dehumanize Genji, despite the evidence, may be overwhelming. But look what happens then.

Suddenly one reads in two reviews of Mr. Miki's opera, published in two American newspapers, that those who actually know The Tale of Genji know that Genji is really a conscienceless sex machine, and that the composer, and especially his librettist, Colin Graham, therefore had to give him a conscience in order to make a viable opera out of his story. In other words (for the average reader of these reviews), Mr. Graham, a westerner, had arbitrarily togive the mindlessly mechanical hero of Japan's greatest literary classic the western virtue of a conscience in order to make him recognizably human and to tell his story palatably in a western musical medium. Is this not a horrifying proposition?

I have seen too often in my life how quick people in our anglophone world may be to dehumanize the Japanese, and not only in wartime; and the experienceis painful every time. In particular, I will never forget being on a national radio talk show in Australia in the early 90s. The theme was supposed to be Japanese religion, but for its entire hour and a half the show never got anywhere near that topic. There were three of us on the panel, listening and answering as best we could while caller after caller after caller evoked the Japanese as faceless, all the same, mechanical, robotlike, antlike, mindless...or worse. It went on and on. Two minutes before the end, the last caller rang. It was a girl, perhaps a college or even a high school student.She was in tears. "But the Japanese are NOT LIKE THAT!" she pleaded. "They are PEOPLE!"

Let me then borrow that girl's voice for a moment to plead for Genji, for the narrator who told his story, for the author who conceived that narrator, and for all the people who have genuinely admired The Tale of Genji for the last thousand years. Think whatever you like of him, but do not dehumanize him. If you do, you may find your opinion being cited in the wider world as evidence towards the dehumanization of the Japanese themselves.

Royall Tyler

From: Michael Watson <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 13:46:47 +0900
Subject: list note / new member

A few list announcements before a splendid introduction from a new member.

(1) A letter meant for your editor personally was sent by error to the list.
I've written to the distinguished culprit to explain how to avoid this in the future. There is now a web page with "how to?" and "why" information of this sort:

(2) You may have noticed that the subject line of messages from this list now automatically includes the phrase "[pmjs]". I changed the settings to do this following the excellent suggestion of one of our members who told me that it would be convenient to know before opening a message whether it was
a personal message to her from X or a message from X to all PMJS members. (If your e-mail software will filter messages for you, you can achieve the same result by automatically sorting all incoming messages to "" into a separate folder.)

Now back to matters of real interest. Here is the latest profile received.

Michael Jamentz <>

A former gakusha no tamago, now just a rotten egghead, I reside in Kyoto. As a lapsed academic, I continue to work on a dissertation that I currently liken to Zeno's arrow, increasingly finely calibrated and never reaching the mark. The focus of my dissertation is the cultural legacy of poet, historian, and painter? Fujiwara Michinori, Shinzei, and his descendants in the 12th - 13th centuries. Shinzei, the de-facto ruler in the mid-12 century, came from a family of lower-ranking nobles who were also Confucian scholars and bureaucrats associated with the Insei regimes of the period. Members of the Shinzei ichimon were waka and kanshi poets, and creators and defenders of monogatari. They have been associated with the production of the Heike monogatari, various emaki and ornamental sutras, and the sculpture of the Kei-ha. They also occupied the abbacies of Daigoji, Toudaiji, Touji, Koufukuji, Kouryuuji, Seiryouji, Houryuuji, Kizomizudera, and Ishiyamadera, Regeou-in, etc. and led several important Buddhist schools. (Perhaps you can imagine some of the problems of the dissertation. If it happened in the 12-13th century, this family was involved.) I spend my days teaching, translating and attempting to document the extent of Shinzei ichimon's influence, including their intimacy with the imperial house (particularly the Nyoin), their creation of various literary genres of shoudou, Buddhist preaching, (particularly the work of Chouken of Agui), their association with the image of Fugen bosatsu and the Juurasetsunyo (often related to their preaching). I am happy to report this work is now just about to be completed in my next lifetime.

From: "Robert E. Morrell" <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 20:06:40 -0500
Subject: Tale of Genji Opera

It's about time we put this to bed -- but I feel compelled to make a few brief comments.

Royall Tyler wrote:

The issue is dehumanization. Those two reviewers reported on the basis of what they took, perhaps too willingingly, for competent authority that the Genji of the original work lacks a conscience and so is at best a sort of sociopath. They reported him as being inhuman. I understand that some of you reading this may feel, or may know others who feel, for reasons worthy in themselves that his actions do indeed make him inhuman. . .

A word in defense of the reviewers. No reviewer can possibly be expected to be knowledgeable about the ultimate source of every opera he/she reviews. (The audience of, say, Gounod's "Faust" cannot be expected to have a deep knowledge of Goethe.) Operas are not philosophical treatises. Reviewers/audiences see and hear something and then report this. . . In this opera, Genji is indeed presented as a cad insensitive to the chaos he is creating in others' lives - - in spite of all the _mono no aware_ disclaimers in the handouts. . . If archetypal Genji is misrepresented, where do we point the finger? At the reviewers/audience? No. . . How about the creators?


Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 01:04:57 EDT (PMJS)
Subject: Chushingura

Advice and information will be appreciated for compilation of a chronology of pre-WW2 introduction of the Chushigura story and drama in Western languages, esp. translations. My list thus far has only thefollowing and I believe there will be more.
1871 Mitford story in Fortnightly Review
1873 Roussin account in Revue des Deux Mondes
1875 Dickens translation
1879 McClatchie version
1880 Dickens, reissued
1894 Inoue version

Kindly reply directly to me and indicate if you wish to have results of the compilation. Thanks (and apologies if 2 blank messages were posted by the machine that has not yet been properly housebroken).

Aaron M. Cohen

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edited 2001/01/29