The Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari) by Murasaki Shikibu is a book from a distant era. Widely recognized as the world’s first novel. Written by an aristocratic woman for other women of her rank, sure this wasn’t an easy read. The Tale of Genji centers on the life and loves of a charming prince, Hikaru Genji. It is an epic romance story, tells 75 years of court life with a dizzyingly large cast of characters. If you are planning to read this book, several translations by Edward Seidensticker or Royall Tyler can guide you through the fascinating world of the Heian Period.
Actually I’m not a book person. Pages filled with words has always successfully make me fall asleep, so reading this novel is absolutely impossible for me. Lucky me, a lot of manga and films adapt the story of Genji Monogatari. While reading the novel, read the manga version Asaki Yumemishi by Waki Yamato really help me a lot. Watching the movie, Genji Monogatari: Sennen no Nazo also give me a deeper picture of aristocratic life at that period.
Asaki Yume Mishi
Asaki Yume Mishi which means “I had an ephemeral dream” created by Waki Yamato is first adaptation of the tale to manga. It follows nearly the same plot with the original novel.
The story begins with a romance between The Emperor and Kiritsubo, a low-ranking but beloved concubine. Then born Genji, he becomes an uncommonly handsome and gifted young man. Kiritsubo, his mother, suffers the jealousy of rivals at court then becomes ill and dies. The distraught emperor eventually finds another concubine, Fujitsubo, who reminds him of his former love. Genji loves her first as a stepmother, but later as a woman, and they fall in love with each other.
Genji is frustrated by his forbidden love for Fujitsubo. He engages in a series of unfulfilling love affairs with other women, but in most cases his advances are rebuffed, he becomes bored of his lover, or his lover dies suddenly during the affair. It’s a tragic love story of one man with a dozen of women.
For non-native readers who are not familiar with Japanese culture & references, reading this manga can get kind of confusing (plus, almost all the women characters are look alike in this manga). But still the gorgeous details in art are simply wonderful.
01. ito junji’s cat diary – junji ito
02. neko zushi
03. the cat returns – studio ghibli
04. wednesday cat – yoho brewing company
05. itazura coin bank
The gorgeous colours, the brilliant compositions, lots to love about Japanese illustration. Here’s a round-up of some beauties I’ve had my eye on recently.
Tatsuro Kiuchi was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1966. A biology major and graduate of International Christian University in Tokyo, he made the switch to an art career after graduating with distinction from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Tatsuro began illustrating children’s books with several publishers in the US and Japan, eventually branching out into editorial work for magazines, book jacket illustrations and advertising commissions. Tatsuro is the owner of studio PEN STILL WRITES and a member of TOKYO ILLUSTRATORS SOCIETY. He teaches illustration at AOYAMAJUKU.
Freelance illustrator living in Tokyo, born in Hiroshima. Graduated oil painting course of Hiroshima City University. Worked as a graphic designer and illustrator in advertising and publishing for several years.
01. nishinihon tenrei funeral services
02. haibane renmei – yoshitoshi abe
04. sekai no owari to hado-boirudo wandarando / hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world – haruki murakami