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Library Exhibition "Phantoms and Heroes on the Loose in Edo: The Origins and Development of Tales of the Water Margin (Suikoden) "End

Period : 2014/10/17(Fri)~2014/11/27(Thu)
Venue : Exhibition Room on the 2nd floor of the Center for Scholarly Information (Building No. 18)
Hours: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Closed: Sundays and October 31, but October 19(Sun.) open till 5 pm
Organized by: Waseda University Library
This year, 2014, is the 200th anniversary of the publication of “Nansō Satomi Hakkenden(The Tale of the Eight Dog-Heroes of the Satomi Clan,1814-42)”, the master-work of Kyokutei Bakin (1767-1848), one of the best-known novelists of the Edo period. The library has held several exhibitions featuring “Hakkenden” or Bakin. In this exhibition, we focus on the famous Chinese novel, “Tales of the Water Margin (Suikoden in Japanese)”, one of the sources which inspired Bakin to write “Hakkenden”. "Suikoden" became popular among Japanese people during the Edo era, and appeared in various guises: introductions, translations, adaptations, plagiarism, parodies, and new creations. Exhibits of the Library's primary sources introduce the variety of “Suikoden”’s reception.
The story of “Suikoden” begins with the release of 108 phantoms that had long been shut up in 'Fukumaden,' sealed with supernatural power by a Taoist priest. Later, 108 heroes appear, suffer misfortunes, and roam about as outlaws, until gradually they all gather at ‘Ryōzanpaku’, a fortress built at the water’s edge. This dramatic story, in which many attractive characters are involved in fights, inspired Edo-period writers like Bakin and woodblock artists such as Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864), Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). Their several works appeared like a shower of shooting stars and captured the hearts of people in Edo.
Such is the surge of emotion produced by the drama of these episodes and the individuality of these heroes, as well as the urge to further creation that they inspired, that this work will by no means seem unfamiliar in present-day Japan.
We hope that you will enjoy the world of “Suikoden” that bright shooting star of Edo literature.