Genji related prints (Genji-e - 源氏絵) (genre )


Wikipedia: entry for "Nise Murasaki inaka Genji"


The 11th-century novel, The Tale of Genji [Genji monogatari], written by the lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu, was the basis for a parody written by Ryūtei Tanehiko (1783-1842) and illustrated by the artist Utagawa Kunisada, and was published over the years 1829 through 1842, "False Mursaki and Rustic Genji" [Nise Murasaki inaka Genji].

The plot centres on the outlandish adventures of Ashikaga Mitsuuji, second son of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, while seeking to recover a stolen sword, mirror, and poem, upon which the security of the realm depend.[3] The preface to the first chapter intrdouces the character Ōfuji, whose nickname is Murasaki Shikibu.

The illustrated volumes proved so popular with the Edo public that Kunisada went on to create many print series, and multi-paneled sets on the Rustic Genji theme through the years until the end of his career. Rustic Genji is instantly recognizable by his odd, shrimp-like hair style.


Bryan Fijalkovich wrote: "All forty-two chapters of Rustic Genji contain explicit references to Kabuki, Chikamatsu’s written plays, and the Tale of Genji, as well as the pleasure quarters. However, the early chapters solidified the reader’s fanfare with its emphasis on high-action Kabuki drama."

Fijalkovich notes that Chapter 5 of the Rustic Genji makes references to drama. (JSV)


The Rustic Genji theme

Michael Emmerich in 'The Splendor of Hybridity' in Envisioning the Tale of Genji: Media, Gender, and Cultural Production, edited by Haruo Shirane: "Briefly, the plot of Inaka Genji centers around Ashikaga Mitsuuji, the second son, by a comparatively low-ranking wife, of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth of the historical shoguns of the Muromachi period (1392–1573). Mitsuuji's mother dies after being abused by other members of the shogunal household, leaving Mitsuuji behind; Yoshimasa, distraught, considers making Mitsuuji his successor. In order to prevent this and to recover a stolen sword, mirror, and poem slip—three objects that symbolize the authority of Ashikaga rule and must therefore be retrieved in order to preserve the stability of the realm—Mitsuuji begins traveling, acting the part of a playboy, and gathering information about the stolen treasures from women he meets. Yoshimasa, disappointed with his son's profligacy, finally names his first son, Yoshihisa, as his successor. Mitsuuji goes on to engineer the defeat of Yamana Sōzen, the evil figure behind most of the mishaps that occur in the work, including the theft of the treasures. And along the way, there are any number of murders, faked murders, secrets, intrigues, attempted kidnappings, sword fights, gruesome suicides, supernatural incidents, attempted poisonings, pretended amours, foiled attacks by masked intruders, spirit possessions, instructive instances of karmic retribution, intercepted letters, and cases of identity swapping."