The tale of genji

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The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:56 pm

dreaming_geisha

I finaly picked up The Tale Of Genji from the public library today. I was so anxious to read it. So I was very dissapointed when I opened it up and I could hardly fallow it. Is it just me or is this a hard book to fallow?

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:57 pm

Kotone

No, I too had trouble following it. Someone posted an anime of it a bit ago... I took the easy way out and watched that....

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:57 pm

fushidara

It's really very simple, for the most part. I'll nap a summary I once saw on Livejournal and haven't been able to forget for its hilarity:

The Tale of Genji Ultra-Condensed

Genji: Sleep with me tonight.


Some noblewoman: OK.


Repeat FIVE or SIX times.

Genji: Now I must go into exile, but to soothe my angst, I shall dance by this symbolic cherry tree.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:58 pm

Bai Mianxi

Fortunately, I first read the (Seidenstricker translation of) the Tale of Genji right after a bunch of English eighteenth-century fiction. After Tom Jones, Genji was fast-paced and fully-characterized.

As for the formula...one of the most memorable bits from my college newspaper (I wish I'd kept a copy of this issue, and had the author's name to credit) was a short guide to the poetry of John Dunne and three of his contemporaries..."To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," "To His Coy Mistress," that sort of thing..

"Give it up, babe." The writer listed the poems and just repeated this one line over and over. I think he might have varied the formula..."You'll be dead someday, so give it up, babe," and "You'll be old soon, so give it up, babe," depending on the cliche in question.

Ah--anyone read the Royall Tyler translation yet, and would you recommend it over Seidenstricker for casual reading?

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:58 pm

ensquared

here's a link to a tale of genji e-book

http://www.globusz.com/ebooks/Genji/00000010.htm

it's a condensed version that i read before attempting the juggernaut herself. i found that it *really* helps, and it's useful because finishing the actual book within the borrowing period set by the library is hard :)

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:59 pm

Dschinny

My problem is to remember all his mate's names :roll: and get into the second part of the book.

The story is boring but it is interesting from a cultural point of view. Pity that at least my translater had no clue of wafuku. I guess the quality of the poetry can't be translated.

(*poetry reading* ROTFL)

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:59 pm

Hanachiru

I guess that there is nothing to understand in Genji. It's only endlessly repeating emotions... like repeating seasons and all poetry and celebrations that follow them. There is no reasonable or satisfying beginning or ending.

Soap-opera like The bold and the beautiful :D How many years that show has been in TV ???

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:00 pm

Blythespirit

funny you should mention this im trying to, no ill amend that, tried to read that and its sitting on the 3rd chapter unread. I too was excited to read it but found my eyes glazing over. Sherlock Holmes for the win! lol

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:00 pm

Takenoko

They didn't have TV or the internet in Murasaki's day... or as much to mentally process as we do, so it seems... :roll: it's a bit like tackling some nineteenth century novels...

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:01 pm

Dschinny

compared with the 20th chapter of Ilias, Genjimonotegari rules ;)

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:01 pm

Sam

There's not a whole lot to the story as far as plot goes. The thing that makes the book cool is how much Japanese culture that is depicted in the book is still applicable to Japan today. I read it when I was studying in Japan and it helped me get by a whole lot easier.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:02 pm

Matsukaze

Konnichiwa!
The tale of Genji in Hungary was translated and published at 1963!
I bought it, but really hard to read.
So, it's sad...there isn't a new translating, or a new form for this history. (with pictures etc.) :cry:

But in my town (little) there are teachers of a japanese language!
(Not, just in Budapest, in the capital)

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:02 pm

Ayumii

I just bought The Tale of Genji after reading the Tale of Murasaki and yep - ive been skipping whole pages of conversation lol. Its hard-going but interesting, if only i could concentrate a little better hehehhe

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:02 pm

Maiko-san

So i bought the book! i cant wait to get started on it!! But im afraid of the size!! And from what i hear its hard to follow. But im thinking about getting Puette's Tale of Genji reading guide.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:03 pm

Tentomushi

Actually the best thing you can do about Genji Monogatari is to pick up some fragments that are the most famous ones and read them carefully. They are famous for a reason.

My favourites are: secret meetings of Hikaru and Yugao, the moment that Hikaru spots young Murasaki for the first time (and she complains about a neighbourhood boy letting free her sparrow), the literature talk between Hikaru and Tamakazura and the one where I don't remember the name of the lady in question but it is about Hikaru looking at a kimono lying next to him and missing its owner.

And another one where he is caught in the ladies' premises and has only enough time to bury his face among the pillows. There is only masses of silk and his flowing black hair to be seen... and a fan with a fatal inscription letting out its author...

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:03 pm

Chidori

I would just suggest gettign an annotated version (do they come without annotation??) because there are way too many details that are practically incomprehensible without the extra notes.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:04 pm

meijimari

It's very good. But if I were to recommend it, I would recommend it to the following as a reference in classical Japanese culture for the following:

1) Lovers of the tea ceremony
2) Fans of incense ceremony (chapter titles and 'mood' indicators)
2) Fans of decorative and poetic motifs
3) Historical fans who love literary cross referencing.

The synopsis in the front of each chapter in this translation will brief one about the poetic and history--and throughout the text are small illustrations.

It is supposedly one of the earliest novels put down on paper. The wandering episodes seem to frustrate one looking for the drama of Kabuki or perhaps the rich interaction of divine and mundane of No...I find the Royall Tyler translation very very good when I'm looking for cross references and resources...however you can enjoy folk arts and colorful items of Japanese culture without having to use this reference, if you are short on time and resources.

I just finally got to a place where it made sense to invest in it!

Regards,

Mari

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:04 pm

celticmaiko

I really think it matters what translation of the book you get! Sometime last year I picked the book up from my library and could barely follow it and yes it seemed boring. But then I bought a diffrent copy on amazon that is such a better translation and I love the book. All the emotion and poetry is very beautiful and the story is pretty interesting overall. The version I have deosn't have all the chapters. Only the main and most significant ones. I really recommend doing research to find a copy with a clear translation because it makes all the difference. I love this book!

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:05 pm

kugepoet

Genji is NOT an easy read. If you are used to 250 page romance novels or pop fiction, you may have a hard time getting into this one. It was written 1000 years ago in another language and culture.

If you want to "taste" Genji, get the abridged translation by Seidensticker (384 p.) or the Royall Tyler Penguin Classics translation (400 pages).

The Royall Tyler Penguin Classics Deluxe edition is a massive 1216 pages. I feel it is well worth the effort if a preliminary taste from one of the abridged versions makes you want more. It's copiously annotated, so you can understand all the cultural references, poetic allusions and keep track of who is who. Having read the abridged Seidensticker, I approached this edition in stages. The episodic nature of the narrative allowed me to read a few chapters, put it away for awhile, then come back and read a bit more when I was ready to see what Hikaru Genji was up to this week.

If you are interested in the poetry from Genji, look for A String of Flowers, Untied, translated by Jane Reichhold, and Hatsue Kawamura.

BTW, it's perfectly ok NOT to like something.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:05 pm

Takenoko

kugepoet, you answered the questions I was about to ask re different editions of Genji before I had managed to ask them! Many thanks!

Your advice re reading the Royall Tyler edition in manageable chunks echoes the original readers' experiences - wasn't it written in sections/installments? (Sorry, my idea there is totally influenced by reading Liza Dalby's "The Tale of Murasaki").
:coy:

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:06 pm

kugepoet

Most likely it was written in episodes. The original manuscript(s) is gone, what survives comes from later copies.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:06 pm

kotokutie

I found Royall Tyler's deluxe edition (read once) a bit easier to follow than Seidensticker's full version (read twice). That's partly due to Tyler using a different naming convention throughout the book. Seidensticker's characters changed name/rank throughout the novel, as they got promoted, making it a challenge to keep track of who-used-to-be-whom-but-was-now-someone-else(!). Tyler decided to basically give the characters their most "recognizable" name, and then stick to it throughout the book, rather than changing their name as they changed their status.

I was discussing Genji with a well-known Japanese ukiyo-e dealer in my city a few years ago, and he said the best translation he's ever read was the Arthur Waley one. I tried for several years to lay hands on it, but have not had success to this day.... Anyone else out there read the Waley version, or have any comments on it?

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:07 pm

kugepoet

I think you've got that backwards. Seidensticker did the one-name thing. Tyler sticks to the original text in that he calls everyone by what Murasaki Shikibu called them - but each chapter includes a list of characters and it will tell you if their title changed.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:07 pm

kotokutie

kugepoet, hajimemashite. Thanks for giving me a reason to re-visit these two Genji, even if it was just a quick skim! Went and pulled both translations off my shelves, and you're absolutely right - Seidensticker did stick to one name per character. (Funny what the mind remembers....and not always correctly, either! :( ) I can only say that I read the Seidensticker translation the first time about twenty years ago, second time over a decade ago, and have not touched that book since. I therefore plead aging memory and hope to be forgiven my slip - I'll try not to let it happen too often! :)

Re: Tyler's translation, I see I wasn't very specific about what I meant, so I'll try again. I found his "Relationship to earlier chapters" page at the beginning of each chapter to be extremely helpful, and that feature is one of the reasons I enjoyed his translation a bit more than Seidensticker's. (Thanks for reminding me about it - I'd forgotten that nice touch since I read the Tyler about six years ago.) Yes, as you say, he changes people's ranks in the text as their characters move through life. However, in his "relationship" lists, he always shows each personage with their status in that chapter, and then in brackets after each, he also helpfully puts their most "recognizable" name as well, so one can comfortably keep track of who's who.

To give an example of what I mean, selecting just a few chapters at random and using To no Chujo's character (sorry, can't make the long vowel marks in my system), Tyler presents him in Yugao chapter 4 as "The Secretary Captain, Genji's friend and brother-in-law (To no Chujo)", in Aoi chapter 9 as "The Third Rank Captain, Aoi's brother (To no Chujo), and in Fujibakama chapter 30 as "His Excellency, the Palace Minister (To no Chujo) [italics mine]. It was this character identification via a single consistent name that I was referring to in my last post; hope that clarifies things.

I look forward to hearing of anyone's experience of the Waley version.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:08 pm

kugepoet

kotokutie wrote:
I found his "Relationship to earlier chapters" page at the beginning of each chapter to be extremely helpful, and that feature is one of the reasons I enjoyed his translation a bit more than Seidensticker's.


Yes. Tyler wanted his translation to be true to the text and the aesthetic, but he needed to help his modern readers through the maze of ever-changing titles. I think he came up with a very good solution. The annotations in the Tyler translation are also very helpful.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:08 pm

utoto

I read the chinese translation, and it wasn't hard to read at all. I had the earliest translation by mr.feng tsu kai and he somehow has gotten all the poetry into Chinese rhymes@_@ which is scary........
The Chinese "male version" consists of 2 full volume of about 4-500 pages, but I heard that the Taiwanese Translation by lady Lin Wen Yue is even better, I'm hoping to see this "female version" one day.
I think it's obviously less troublesome to translate Japanese to Chinese than to English, since there are many common cultures.

I also have disgusted at the habbit of mr. Genji going "night attack" first, before I learned that it's a remained habbit of the Maternal culture in the ancient times. The origin of this practice has to trace back to the earliest Japanese legend that two deities Izanagi and Izanami gave birth to their island, so the ancients believed that through sexual intercourse is the way to create everything (which is also the believe of many aborginal culture).
So....I think it's cool now.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:08 pm

Auberginefleur

It does depend on what translation you read. I prefer Seidensticker's.

There is also a manga version, that I think is quite good, and has been translated in to English.

I beleive it is titled Asaki yumeshi.

Ah, the Waley translation. Very poetic, but very idiosyncratic He adds his own materials and deletes parts from the original. Most people like the translation done during their time period, so my age is showing.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:09 pm

Fujitsubo


I won't lie: it's painful for me to finish it since I read a lot of it, then put it down for weeks to a month, then pick up and try to read it in a big chunk again.

But so far it's a wonderful story and I love it.

Hence my username. :smil3: I picture Fujitsubo in my head as the prettiest little creature alive in those days.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:09 pm

mishakitty78

I'll confess that Genji is one of my favorite "classics" and I've read several versions many times (sigh. I'm an addict - my cat is named "Genji" too :oops: )

*Before* I ever picked up the 1000+ page tome, however, I read Ivan Morris' "The World of the Shining Prince." And I think this really helped me fall in love with the story, and also give me a better understanding of the character's lives. If you'd like to learn about Heian era life without wading through the soap oprea that is Genji, I'd highly recommend this book. It's a great review of the cultures and traditions presented in Genji without the fluffiness.

If you're looking for a very short synopsis that is absolutely breathtaking in terms of illustration, check out The Tale of Genji as illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano. For those of you who are gamers, this is the artist that created a lot of Square's early Final Fantasy concept art. This is a sort of graphic novel and it is *beautiful*!

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:10 pm

isshi

Genji's a hard read, pretty innacessable to anyone but a premodern Japanese otaku.

a) the shared understanding of rituals, poetry, court and social lore, blah blah not posessed by a modern reader, even scholars aren't 100% sure about some of it

b) we are not it's intended audience, house bound court ladies. This was something for them to pour over, hand write out their own copies of chapters, and read and reread while their husbands were off sleeping around the court. It's alot slower paced than anything we're used to, they had time on their hands basically. Pacing it's SLOW.

c) Reading it from 'start' to 'finish' was not how it was read, rarely would anyone have had a full collection, reading it straight through just emphasises the jumpy chronology, disjointed plot, and changing styles. The post death end chapters kinda feels like a demanded for sequal tacked on, suspected of not even being written by Shikibu. Structurly and style wise it's all over the place.

So it's not easy to read, and as a modern occidentally predujiced reader I hated it.
I hear the soft porny manga is pretty good tho lol.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:11 pm

Kyasarin

I just got Arthur Waley's translation of Genji the other day from eBay (though I owned the last three books before hand, I just didn't know that they were any good....or that I should read them  :oops: ) and plan to start reading it, with luck, tonight.

Thankfully I knew that it was like a soap opera....though my Mum, when she bought it off eBay, gave me a strange look when I explained what it was about. I think she's been trying to keep me away from modern books like this  :roll: I wouldn't probably be reading it if I weren't interested in Japanese culture, or if I weren't heading off to Japan as a high school exchange student next year. Since when my Japanese sensei said it was required reading when she lived in Japan, I figured I should probably read it. Just to be safe. And besides, maybe I can baffle my other teachers while I'm reading it!  :katana:  :coy:

Edit: I am about 40 pages in and wow is it a hard read! So far I love the imagery and I can see why it was read by court ladies who took a long time to digest its contents. It is a very good book ^^ I need to read faster, though! Too slow, Kya, too slow!

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:13 pm

AyakoNoChou

When I read it I read Royall Tyler's full edition by Penguin Books.

I like his translation and it's easy enough to follow (for me at least) if you look back to the character list at the beginning of the chapter to tell who is who and read in the end the list of events chronologically. I also picked up a copy of The World of the Shining Prince to help read it and that helped a lot (more on culture things than the paragraphs but...)

On thing to remember though is that it's difficult in Japanese too. Shikibu-san seemed to like to refer to several women at once as her and such. To the people of the time this was nice, but it's not quite our fashion and drives us (and probably the translators) a bit mad.

I'd also advise getting a friend to read it with you. It helped me a lot to discuss it with one of my friends because occasionally we'd get different things out of different chapters.

Also, I know I took a class on it at my university. You could always see if a local university has an east asian language department and if anyone there teachs anything concerning it or can help you with it.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:13 pm

Red Robin

What I found interesting in my exploration of the Tale of Genji was that someone's analysis of the tale observed (was it Ivan Morris?) how it took only one generation after Murasaki Shikibu's death for people to start having trouble interpreting her work, because many of her associations were so specific that it didn't take long for culture to begin moving on to the extent where those associations were being lost, thus making the tale very difficult for people to understand even a short time after her departure from this world.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:14 pm

Sumiregusa

Although i found genji hard to follow to begin with, once i got myself into the right mind-set (the Heian period) i found it to be really quite enjoyable. Its true that prehaps it can seen a bit repetitive at times, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course, but i found it to be very poignant and beautiful, and the 'shining prince' to be a wonderful character that made me smile.

prehaps if it is a little long-winded for you, or simply not you style of reading, i would reccomend 'The Tale Of Murasaki' by Liza Dalby, or 'Murasaki Shikibu: Her Diary And Poetic Memoirs' by Richard Bowring, as they both give a wonderful insight to the author of Genji, her lifestyle and her inspiration for writing him. :)

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:14 pm

orastella

Update! I found that 1987 anime version on youtube. Here's the playlist I put together for it, so one can watch it all in one if inclined. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p ... B7FE9EE2C8

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:15 pm


Chiaki-san


My history teacher decided to just let us watch a video that summarized The Tale of Genji. I enjoyed it. My teacher said Genji was a sort of an antihero.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:15 pm

Tentomushi

Quote:
a sort of an antihero.


...in what way? Sure, he didn't meet the moral standards of today's world, but it doesn't make one an anti-hero within the borders of a novel set in a different age and culture.

Heian court was a place where aesthetic standards were more valued than moral standards."Yoki hito" lit. "good people" didn't mean what it means today - that is people of kind heart etc. It meant cultured (meeting aristocratic standards) people, much in the way a "gentleman" used to mean not only a person of manners but also of high birth and certain income.

Now Genji is ideal, judging by those standards. Beautiful, refined, skillful at plying flute, dancing, writing poetry, calligraphy, but most of all at courting women. Flirtation raised to the level of art.

On the other hand, Genji Monogatari was later considered an immoral book, mostly by Confucian standards, that have been ruling the Japanese society till very recently. There was general notion that Murasaki Shikibu ended in hell among demons for writing it. There is a No play on the subject, called "Genji Kuyo", which means "mourning after Genji". The fatal end was also mentioned by Ueda Akinari in the preface to "Ugetsu Monogatari" (pardon me for not remembering the English title, it means "stories told in moonlight after rain"), which was written in th Edo era.

So I am wondering what your teacher, Chiaki-san, might have meant by "antihero"...

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:16 pm

Chiaki-san

I think he meant "antihero" by today's standards. We were comparing the code of chivalry/European medieval values with Genji.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:16 pm

White Rose

:heian: I found this book interesting though slow moving. One must remember whrn reading a book about a time and place so long ago you can't read it with today's mind. Japan today is not the Japan of the Heian Court. :tayuuface

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:17 pm

ume_bloom

hehehe :)) you're right White Rose; I actually started reading the pillow book, just to get into the mood of that time.. only after I'll finish that book I'll start reading the tale.

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:17 pm

siren10101

hah. i'm about 400 page's in to the full 1000 or so page's. i am finding it hard but i'm loving it since i havn't had a good book in age's. up till now i didn't evan now there were shorter version's. i just borrowed the full translation (as true to text) whith side note's from my libary. 6 week's in i'm thinking of buying it since i'm running out of reborows ^^

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:17 pm

Shizu

I started to read it some days ago, and I love it. :D
But The tale of Genji was a Christmas suprise for me.

About half year ago, I had a chance to borrow Liza Dalby's Tale of Murasaki from my friend. :D We both love the book and Murasaki.
After we've read the book, we talked about The Tale of Genji a lot, we wanted to read it so badly, but we couldn't. T_T
(there wasn't any translation in our country, and I couldn't get it in English too.)

I was in a Chirstmas shopping with my father, and we dropped around the new bookstore. After I bought a book, when I came out of the bookstore, suddenly I stopped and look back. OMG I couldn't breath, and I said to my father: "Peck me!"
I couldn't believe my eyes, there was a huge poster about Murasaki's Genji monogatari. :D
They translated Murasaki's Genji, and they started to sell just before Christmas. :D
So on 24th December evening, on the first day of Christmas, with my friend, we ordered to collection *_* And the express messenger arrived on 30th December. :D
I was so happy, I can't believe, I have this book. *________* :oops: :bunbun: :lol:

Sorry for the long post, I'm so happy :coy:

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Re: The tale of genji

Post by IG Team » Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:18 pm

orastella

A tale of Genji anime came out last year.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclo ... p?id=10223

It only covers up to the very beginning of the Suma chapter, but I hope it continues on in another season. Every adaptation I see of Genji is only the beginning few chapters.

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