Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Japanese scholars discover long lost manuscript of "The Tale of Genji"

by Chris MaGee

Japanese literary scholars have announced that a 13th century manuscript of "The Tale of Genji" thought to have been lost during WW2 has been rediscovered. Dubbed the "Osawa Book" by researcher at the National Institute of Japanese Literature in Tokyo the handwritten text could hopefully shed light on the original form and content of what many scholars believe to be the first novel in history.

Written by Murasaki Shikibu, a noblewoman who lived during the Heian era (794-1185) "The Tale of Genji" tells the story of the son of the Emperor and his romantic pursuit of a noblewoman, Lady Fujitsubo. No original manuscript of the book exists.

So why would a Japanese film blog be posting this story? Well, seeing that not only Kozaburo Yoshimura, Kon Ichikawa, Tonka Horikawa, Teinosuke Kinugasa and anime director Gisaburō Sugii have all brought "Genji" to the screen, but it's also been adapted into five differenty manga, numerous television dramas, an opera and a stage production put on by the famed all woman Takarazuka troupe you can see why this would be huge news not only for Japanese literary scholars and enthusiasts, but us fans of Japanese cinema as well.

Thanks to Asahi Shimbun by way of Japan Probe for this story.

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