Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > East Asian Collections > 24. Kitamura, Kigin

24.  Kitamura, Kigin, 1625-1705.  Genji monogatari kogetsu shō. [Japan]: Murakami Kanzaemon, 1673. C. V. Starr East Asian Library

This 60-volume woodblock-printed edition of the 54-chapter masterpiece of Japanese literature, The Tale of Genji, was edited by Kitamura Kigin (1625-1705) and includes six additional volumes of commentary. The influence of The Tale of Genji has been felt not only in all areas of literature–poetry, drama, prose fiction–but also in visual arts and popular culture, as seen in the woodblock print accompanying this volume. In the twentieth century, it was translated into English three times, and into modern Japanese by many famous writers, including a recent version by Setouchi Jakuchō that became a best seller. The volume is open to the final chapter, "The Bridge of dreams."

The edition was part of a gift to the East Asian collection from the Imperial Household Ministry of Japan in 1933 of 594 volumes either printed or written during the Edo period (1600-1868). Together they represent many of the most important texts in Japanese culture, covering history, poetry, and government, including the illustrated encyclopedia Wakan sansai zue.

Gift of the Imperial Household Ministry of Japan, 1932

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