About the Library of Congress

The “Tale of Genji” (Genji monogatari) database consists of the full image data from the “Tale of Genji”(Texts: 54 volumes, Commentaries:6 volumes) which is in the possession of the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

Although picture scrolls based upon the “Tale of Genji” can be tracked back to 12th century, the publication of the whole text of Genji began in 17th century. It is said that after the publication of the Saga (one of the local area in Kyoto) Edition “Tale of Genji” which was set up in old-types (1614), the first woodcut block book which has neither preface nor date was published during 1624-1643, and various commentaries were continued later.

Yamamoto Shunsho (1610-1682), an important illustrator in Kyoto who went in for the art of waka poems from his earlier years, collected manuscripts of main text and commentaries of Genji. Upon these materials he published woodcut print of illustrated “Tale of Genji” (E’iri Genji monogatari) in 1650 (Kei-an 3) and 1654 (Jou-oh 3) for the general readers.LC’s “E’iri Genji monogatari” which is an edition of 1654, so-called “Tale of Genji, Jou-oh Edition,” is a complete set of main text and commentaries valued as a rare book.

International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) received full set of image data as database resource in Spring 2007 and established its database in Autumn of the same year which is released into public.


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