Illustrations of Moral Conduct Compared with the Chapters of Genji

(Nazorae Genji kykun zue, 准源氏教訓圖會)

Publisher: Maru-ya Jimpachi of Triabura-ch

c. 1843


The Tales of Genji (Genji monogatari) is the greatest novel in classical Japanese literature, and arguably, the worlds first novel. It was written in the first decade of the eleventh century by Lady Murasaki, and relates the womanizing exploits of Prince Genji. Each of the fifty-four chapters of the novel is named and is associated with a crest called a Genji-mon. Two different forms of the crests are reproduced below. The title of this series uses the teaching of morality and reference to classical literature as pretexts to portray full-length pictures of beautiful women (bijin). It is listed as number 80 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961), and the total number of prints is unknown. The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ban.


Chapter number: 3

Chapter name: Utsusemi (Shell of Locust)

Scene: Beautiful women (bijin) with a tobacco pipe watching a boy catch a cricket with a net


NOTE: Crickets were often kept in cages in order to enjoy the sound they produced



Chapter number: 10

Chapter name: Sakaki (Sacred Tree)

Scene: Beautiful women (bijin) watching falling maple leaves




Chapter number: 13

Chapter name: Akashi (Akashi, 明右)

Scene: Beautiful women (bijin) standing




Chapter number: 26

Chapter name: Tokonatsu (Wild Carnations)

Scene: Beautiful women (bijin) kneeling while eating soft rice balls (higan dango) with tea



Another state of the above design



Chapter number: 41

Chapter name: Maboroshi (The Wizard)

Scene: Beautiful women (bijin) leaning against the outside wall of a buliding watching geese descend in front of a full moon




Chapter number: 43

Chapter name: Kbai (The Rose Plum)

Scene: Beautiful women (bijin) on the floor playing a picture-matching game with a child who is crawling over her




Chapter number: 51

Chapter name: Ukifune (Boat on the Water, 浮船)

Scene: Beautiful women (bijin) in the snow holding an umbrella