• Genji Monogatari (The tale of Genji) is widely regarded as the pinnacle of classical Japanese literature. It tells the story of Hikaru Genji, son of the Japanese emperor who, for political reasons, is relegated to commoner status and has to start a career as an imperial official. The text covers his entire life, concentrating especially on his private life as a courtier, including his numerous love affairs. The tale was written around the year 1000 at the imperial court of Heian-kyo (Kyoto) by a lady-in-waiting at the court whose real name is unknown, but who went by the pseudonym of Murasaki Shikibu. The complete work is long and complex, spanning hundreds of pages and detailing the life not only of Hikaru Genji but of some 400 characters, so by the Edo period (1603–1867) it became common to use abbreviated versions of the tale. This five-volume illustrated digest was created in the 17th century and is illuminated with brightly colored illustrations.


Subject Date

Publication Information

  • Japan


Title in Original Language

  • 源氏小鏡


Time Period


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

  • Volume 1: 41 sheets, paper; Volume 2: 50 sheets, paper; Volume 3: 40 sheets, paper; Volume 4: 49 sheets, paper; Volume 5: 47 sheets, paper : illustrations 23 x 16.5 centimeters


  • BSB Shelfmark: Cod.jap. 14(1, Cod.jap. 14(2, Cod.jap. 14(3, Cod.jap. 14(4, Cod.jap. 14(5