Waseda University Library Rare Material Collections
GENJI MONOGATARI (Tale of Genji)
handwritten by SANJONISHI Saneki? / Call Number: [he]2-4867 (51)
Small chest for "yomeiri-bon"
GENJI MONOGATARIhandwritten 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.
ShohonBooks considered to be the most reliable as sources for text critic of manuscripts.
YomeiribonThe "trousseau" book. As part of the outfit for a bride, the daimyo (feudal lords) and the nobles provided a beautifully calligraphed and bound book, in (gold- or silver-) lacquered box, for their daughters.
Kokin-denjuInitiation ("denju") of selected scholars into the secret episodes (concerning the interpretations etc.) of "Kokin wakashu", or, "Kokinshu" ("Collection of ancient and modern poems", the imperial anthology of waka poems compiled at the beginning of the 10th Century). It was since IIO Sogi (1421-1502) received a special instruction at fifty from TO no Tsuneyori (1401?-1484?) that the Kokin-denju was established in a distinct form. Ramifications thereof include the transmissions to the SANJONISHI family (presented above) and the Konoe family.