Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Genji's world in Japanese Woodblock Prints provides the first comprehensive overview of Genji prints, an exceptional subject and publishing phenomenon among Japanese woodblock prints that gives insight into nineteenth-century Japan and its art practices.
In the late 1820s, when the writer Ryutei Tanehiko (1783-1842), the print designer and book illustrator Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) and the publisher Tsuruya Kiemon sat down together in Edo to plot the inaugural chapter of the serial novel A Rustic Genji by a Fraudulent Murasaki (Nise Murasaki inaka Genji), it is doubtful that any one of them envisioned that their actions would generate a new genre in Japanese woodblock prints that would flourish until the turn of the century, Genjie ("Genji pictures"). During these sixty years, over 1,300 original designs were created, of which many were very popular at their time of release.
The story of A Rustic Genji, set in fifteenth-century Japan, is in many respects drawn from Murasaki Shikibu's (c.973-1014/25) classic novel The Tale of Genji from the early eleventh century.
As the foremost collection of prints of this subject, the extensive holdings of Paulette and Jack Lantz provided the majority of images necessary for this publication.