The Tale of
01 The Paulownia Pavilion
Early illustrations for chapter 1 ("Kiritsubo")
Chapter 1 - Text editions
- The following are for those interested in calligraphy, the
history of the book, or in how works like Genji were transmitted
. From an exhibition at the National Institute of Japanese Literature
page in the Oshima manuscript, with modern Japanese transcription:
izure no on-toki ni ka [In a certain reign (whose can
it have been?), Tyler, p. 3] (Modern kana all derive from cursive
forms of kanji. There used to be alternative forms of some kana,
deriving from different kanji. This is why you can see small
kanji next to some kana in the transcription.)
early Genji commentary Kogetsushô ("Lake
and Moon Notes"), printed 1675. Right page gives chapter
title "Kiritsubo" and an overview, the left page gives
the opening of the chapter, with notes at the top. Not unlike
the layout in modern Japanese editions of the classics...
- The partial translation published in 1882 by Baron Suyematsu
(Kencho Suematsu as we would now write his name)is still available
in a reprint from Tuttle. A pdf
file (604 kb) has been made available from York University,
- The Oxford text archive translation by E.G.Seidensticker
(1976) is available as a single
page (more than 2 mb).
AKI monogatari. Japanese page. Links to photo essays
on TheTale of Genji and autumn. Part of a big Kyoto prefecture
Genji that gives one idea of what the work means to
Song of Unending Sorrow / Song of Everlasting
Note that Tyler follows the modern Pinyin romanization of
Chinese. The older Wade-Giles system is found in the Seidensticker
Genji. To check reference works and the web, it is helpful to
know both, just as you know both Beijing/Peking. In the notes
below, Pinyin is given first, with Wade-Giles in parenthesis.
- Famous poem by Tang poet Bai Juyi (Po Ch-i, 772-846)
- Chinese title Changhen Ge, read Chkonka in
Japanese. For name of poet and poem in kanji see K.J.Richard's
- Original Chinese text: (C1)
- Japanese kundoku translation & modern translation
(1) on A.S.Kline's T'ang China site
(2) by Robert Payne (1947) -- scroll past Japanese
- printed translation: Paul W. Kroll in Mair, The Columbia
Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, 1994, pp. 478-485.
- (1) China's Emperor yearning, for beauty that shakes a kingdom....
- (2) The emperor prized beauty, and longed for a woman to
topple a kingdom...
- (3) This Chinese emperor, loving beauty, longed for the killer
- From this line comes an expression for a beautiful woman
used in all traditional East Asian literatures, "state-toppler"
(kei-koku in Japanese reading) or as Kroll explains it
"a beauty for whom one would lose everything."
- The famous secret vow between Emperor and Yang Guifei at
the end of the poem are referred to repeatedly in Japanese literature.
In Payne's translation the lines read as follows:
"In the skies we shall be twin birds that fly together,
On earth we shall be trees with branches intertwined.
Heaven is enduring, earth long living, but they shall perish,
The everlasting sorrow will never come to an end."
scenes from an Edo hand-painted picture book (ehon).
(1) Chinese Emperor and Yang Guifei together; (2) the Emperor's
armed guard watch as the imperial couple enter a carriage as
they flee the capital
- One the masterpieces of Japanese art is the early 17th century
scroll illustrating the poem. Now in the Chester Beatty Collection
(Dublin, Ireland). See the scene
of the Daoist (Taoist) wizard searching for the spirit of
Yang Guifei (Yang Kuei-fei; J. Ykihi).
woodblock print edition, text and illustration. Infant Genji,
woodblock print edition (c. 1661-3). Infant Genji, mother,
deluxe Edo print ("surimono") of 1831 shows
the wizard's encounter with Yang Guifei in the Palace of the
Moon. (Good explanation.)
Emperor Xuanzong (Hsan Tsung) (685762)
Chinese emperor of Tang dynasty, the "Song of Unending
hagi: Japanese "bush clover"
General comments on sets of illustrations. Whenever possible
links below are to a general index or introduction.
Edo woodblock illustrations mentioned above -- monochrome
illustrations from a early printed edition, the E-iri Genji
Monogatari of 1650 -- can be found conveniently together with
chapter summaries by Mari Nagase on Unesco's "Global Heritage
Pavilion" site. They are also reproduced in the Seidensticker
from the mid-18th century scroll (emaki) at Dartmouth University
mentioned above, an anonymous work now in the Hood Museum. Illustrations
from chapters 1-16 are reproduced online. In some cases, chapters
are illustrated by two illustrations. The relevant passage is
given from the original and in Prof. Eiji Shibuya's modern Japanese
translation. Website by Mayumi Ishida.
illustrations. On site of Dr. Gerald Figal, Delaware. No source
given (a shame), but nice use of close up details, three or four
for each illustrations. These are clues to help you identify the
scene. Chapters 1, 4, 9, 12, 13.
Japanese artists (Kyoto Prefecture). Varied in quality, but
of interest. Usually the same scene is chosen to illustrate as
in early illustrations. There are two series of pages for all
54 chapters, English
Both have plot descriptions--the English is good but don't rely
on these too much!--but only the Japanese chapter page gives further
information: the kaisetsu link goes to a page about the
scene in the picture, with quotation and explanation, while the
link in purple takes you to a passage in the Oshima manuscript,
with careful modern transcription.
woodblock prints by Miyata Kaori. Series of 11 (2001). The
chapter titles are given in kana, so that you can refer
to the romanized names in this index.
Murata's illustrations are tasteful enough but typical of many
unadventurous modern versions--there are more avant-guard illustrations
as well as countless versions in manga style or worse. See if
you can find some good and bad examples.
Many web sites exist to sell Edo woodblock prints. Unfortunately
for teachers looking for links that last, the illustrations disappear
when the prints are sold! Example: artsanddesignsjapan.com.
M.G.Watson. 2002.09. Return to GENJI