Waseda University Library Rare Material Collections

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GENJI MONOGATARI (Tale of Genji)
handwritten by SANJONISHI Saneki? / Call Number: [he]2-4867 (51)
Small chest

Small chest for "yomeiri-bon"

GENJI MONOGATARI

GENJI MONOGATARI

handwritten by SANJONISHI Saneki, 54 v. ; 24.5 x 18 cm. In lacqured box.
"GENJI MONOGATARI" ("The tale of Genji", atuhored by the court lady MURASAKI Shikibu) is considered to appear around the year of 1000. Laying its scene in the Emperor's Court of the days, the tale sharply depicts loves, agonies, splendors and dissapointments of the characters, with the focus on the hero Hikaru Genji, his son Yugiri, Kaoru and others. This masterpiece has been attracting numerous readers of different periods and nations.

The manuscript presented here used to be owned by the SANJONISHI family. Its handwriting is attributed to SANJONISHI Saneki (1511-1579), a waka poet active in the Muromachi period. The text belongs to the aobyoshi ("blue cover"), the type of materials classified as "shohon"; the designation originating from FUJIWARA Teika (1162-1241).

The 54 volumes are beautifully bound in a traditional Japanese style ("tetsuyoso"), with gold-brown damask interwoven with cherry blossoms, and the title pieces are made of gold-painted paper. Moreover, the books are contained in a small box with 8 drawers, which bears embossed gilt lacquer with a pattern of magnificent chrysanthemum. This box has the shape of so-called "yomeiribon".

The SANJONISHI family was, generation after generation, well acquainted with the art of waka poetry, and was deeply involved with "Kokin-denju". Having also contributed to the research on Japanese classics including "Tale of Genji", the family greatly influenced the scholars after the late Muromachi period.
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First drafted November 5, 1999
Last revised November 25, 2005