Japanese and Chinese Comparisons for the Chapters of Genji

(Wakan nazorae Genji, 和漢准源氏)

Publisher: Ise-Yoshi



The Tales of Genji (Genji monogatari) is the greatest novel in classical Japanese literature, and arguably, the world’s 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 standard forms of the crests are reproduced below, but they do not always correspond with the chapter assigned to each print by Robinson.  In this series, Kuniyoshi paired scenes from history, fiction, and legend with related chapters from the novel.  The total number of prints in this series is unknown, but all the prints known to Robinson are listed and pictured below.  The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.



Chapter number: 1

Chapter name: Kiritsubo (Paulownia Court)

Scene: Chichibu Shôji Shigetada carrying his blindfolded horse down the steep hill at Hiyodori-goe

Robinson: S88.1


Another state of the above design



Chapter number: 6

Chapter name: Suetsumuhana (Safflower)

Scene: Mukwan-no tayû Atsumori riding out to sea at Ichi-no-tani while Kumagae Naozane hails him from shore

Robinson: S88.6



Chapter number: 8

Chapter name: Hana no en (Festival of Cherry Blossoms)

Scene: Shanaô (Yoshitsune) leaping among the pine trees of Kuramayama to the astonishment of his tengu fencing partners and their king who sits in the background

Robinson: S88.8


NOTE: Tengu are forest-dwelling creatures that are either human-like with wings and long noses or bird-like.



Chapter number: 12

Chapter name: Suma (Suma)

Scene: Kwaidô Maru up a tree with the monkeys watched by his mother, Yama-uba, below

Robinson: S88.12


I am grateful to Ward Pieters for locating this image.




Chapter number: 13

Chapter name: Akashi (Akashi)

Scene: Baba Mino no Kami killing an enemy with his sword, while storming forward on his horse

Robinson: S88.13



Chapter number: 15

Chapter name: Yomogyû (Wormwood Patch)

Scene: Momotarô (Little Peachling), a monkey, a badger a pheasant and captive demon with “the five precious things” on stand behind them

Robinson: S88.15



Chapter number: 16

Chapter name: Sekiya (The Gatehouse)

Scene: Kwanu on horseback destroying “The 5 Barriers” loping off heads with a pole arm left and right

Robinson: S88.16



Chapter number: 17

Chapter name: E-awase (Picture Contest)

Scene: Iga Jutarô, on foot, seizes a mounted foe by the belt

Robinson: S88.17



Chapter number: 19

Chapter name: Usugumo (薄雲, Wisps of Cloud)

Scene: Raikô, who is ill, drawing his sword as the Earth-Spider envelops him in its web

Robinson: S88.19



Chapter number: 21

Chapter name: Otome (乙女, The Maiden)   

Scene: Prince Hansoku of India and Lady Kayo flying away as she reveals her true identity as a nine-tailed fox

Robinson: S88.21



Chapter number: 22

Chapter name: Tamakazura (玉っつら, Jewel Garland)

Scene: Takeshiuchi-no-sukune looking over the side of his ship and being offered two magic jewels (senju and manju) by the Dragon King

Robinson: S88.22



Chapter number: 23

Chapter name: Hatsune (First Warbler)

Scene: Keyamura Rokusuke wrestling before an audience of noblemen

Robinson: S88.23



Chapter number: 25

Chapter name: Hotaru (Fireflies)

Scene: Shinozuka Iga no Kami single-handedly hoisting a ship’s sail to the amazement of members of the crew

Robinson: S88.25



Chapter number: 27

Chapter name: Kagaribi (Flares)

Scene: Yamatotakeru-no-mikoto using his “grass-mowing sword” to foil an attempt to trap him in burning grass

Robinson: S88.27



Chapter number: 28

Chapter name: Nowaki (野わき, Typhoon)

Scene: Kidô Maru seated on a water buffalo draws his sword as Raikô and his followers approach over the Ichihara Moor

Robinson: S88.28


Another state of the above design



Chapter number: 29

Chapter name: Miyuki (御幸, Royal Outing)

Scene: Hyôshitô Rinchû emerging from a temple with spear in hand watching three straw-cloaked men in discussion.  This is a scene from the semi-historical Chinese novel, Suikoden.

Robinson: S88.29



Chapter number: 30

Chapter name: Fujibakama (Purple Trousers)

Scene: Watônai (Katô Kiyomasa) on the Korean shore with two retainers

Robinson: S88.30



Chapter number: 31

Chapter name:  Maki-bashira (まき柱, Cypress Pillar)

Scene: Sagi-no-ike Heikurô wrestling with a giant python in the mountains

Robinson: S88.31



Chapter number: 33

Chapter name: Fuji no uraba (Wisteria Leaves)

Scene: Takeda Shingen of Kai armed and seated at the foot of Mount Asama

Robinson: S88.33



Chapter number: 34

Chapter name: Wakana no jô (New Herbs, Part I)

Scene: Abe no Sadatô being pursued by Hachiman-tarô Yoshi-ie (八幡太郎義家), both on horseback

Robinson: S88.34



Chapter number: 37

Chapter name: Yokobue (よこ笛, The Flute)

Scene: Ushiwaka Maru playing his flute on Gojô Bridge with Benkei lurking in the background

Robinson: S88.37



Chapter number: 38

Chapter name: Suzumushi (Bell Cricket)

Scene: The great wrestler Kyumonryô Shishin seated on a bamboo bench beneath which are two piglets with a woman and child behind.  This is a scene from the semi-historical Chinese novel, Suikoden.

Robinson: S88.38



Chapter number: 40

Chapter name: Minori (みの里, The Rights)

Scene: Suzuki Saemon Shigeyuki lying in ambush and aiming his pistol at Nobunaga 

Robinson: S88.40



Chapter number: 42

Chapter name: Niônomiya (His Perfumed Highness)

Scene: Mega Magosaburô at the Battle of Miidera defending the gateway amid a hail of arrows

Robinson: S88.42



Chapter number: 48

Chapter name: Sawarabi (早蕨, Early Ferns)

Scene: Gyôja Bushô (hero of the semi-historical Chinese novel, Suikoden) overcoming a tiger with his bare hands

Robinson: S88.48



Chapter number: 51

Chapter name: Ukifune (Boat on the Water)

Scene: Nogi Nyûdô Raigen using a wooden shield (tate) as a raft and paddling with a naginata amid a flight of arrows

Robinson: S88.51



Chapter number: 52

Chapter name: Kagerô (蜻蛉, Boat on the Water)

Scene: Akushichibyôe Kagekiyo struggling with several men who are trying to arrest him in front of a broken wooden grating

Robinson: S88.52

“Robinson” refers to listing in Kuniyoshi: The Warrior-Prints by Basil William Robinson (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1982) and its privately published supplement.