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The Tale of Genji

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  387 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Yoshitaka Amano has been praised around the world for his lush watercolors and evocative work dealing with myth and legend. In The Tale of Genji Mr. Amano brings his considerable talent to retelling one of the most famous of Japanese myths: written by Murasaki Shikibu shortly after 1000 AD and considered by most scholars to be the first novel ever written, The Tale of Genj ...more
Hardcover, Illustrated Abridged Edition, 81 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by Dark Horse Books (first published 1976)
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Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderful water color! A definite collectible piece for art lovers.
Robert Sheppard

"The Tale of Genji," the 11th Century classic tale of love and intrigue amoungst the high courtiers and noble ladies-in-waiting of the Japanese Heian Imperial Court holds a remarkable place in the history of World Literature as arguably
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Again, I'm reminded of how much I love Amano's art more than the story itself, but "The Tale of Genji" WAS pretty interesting - I liked seeing Genji's relationship with different women. I think this rendition is slightly, I dunno, disjointed? Because there are several small chapters concerning women that Genji has been with, but they don't seem to make a coherent story or plot - maybe that's why there's so much debate about whether this is the world's first novel. I probably wouldn't believe tha ...more
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Such divine sensuality. You know how it feels to slide into a pool of warm, dark cream? That's how this book made me feel.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelli Bacon
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
This isn't just a tale of seduction. It is a tale of rape, obsession, lack of self-control, dominance, and immaturity.
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Found this one very hard to read. My husband is into Japanese culture and I thought I would read this. I just couldn't get into it as much as I wanted to. However, I am glad that I did read it.
Fauna Hartley
Dec 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Amano's paintings are absolutely stunning! Along with selected prose, the paintings highlight the classic Japanese novel written in 1000 AD by Murasaki Shikibu.I doubt I'll ever endeavor to read such an imposing novel. So, this is kind of an elevated Clif Notes...hahaha!It would make a great gift for all of those Vampire Hunter D fans on your list.
Martha Johnson
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm glad I read it -- but that is not saying much. It was a window into an era. It is irritating to read about how he handled women. I find my current life has difficulty stretching back to such a time -- calcified mind, no doubt. I also don't know what version I read -- had to order it from the library and it was a sweeping synopsis of the whole book. Others in the book group brought the big long version and we had a GREAT conversation. Done. Check that off the list.
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully illustrated book that highlights the main points of the story by Murasaki. If you have read, or have not read the orginal story this book is still enjoyable by all.

Yoshitaka Amano's artistic style here really shows the depth of Genji's emotion and the beautiful flowing lines embody grace and beauty throughout. The colours are well chosen to correspond with the chapter in the story.

This was the book that made me fall in love with Yoshitaka Amano.
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: college-onwards
Graphically beautiful, narratively unmemorable.
Amano's art I has a strong hold on me, but often seems devoid of subject or expression, here however loaded with sensuality possibly moreso than usual. I do note use the word sensuality as a substitute for "pleasingly raunchy, but not pornographic", rather it is almost intoxicatingly evocative of the senses, of corporeal yearning and beauty.
Oct 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing

I love this dude's works, they posses a lightness and a gracefull subtlety that creates a great contrast between the apparent simplicity of the human form, the lavishness of the clothing, and several other details that are part of his compositions. Sometimes the profusion in his works reminds me a bit of Klimt. Anyway, that's just my amateurish point of view.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Read it twice and still want to read it again cause it's that confusing and complicated. The poetry is incredible...I needed multiple references when I read it first when I was sixteen...googled like crazy when I read it a couple of years ago, and will surely need to live in a library when I try to read it again. But it's a classic very much worth the effort...
Lady Entropy
May 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I have a love hate relationship with Yoshitaka Amanano's art. Most of his art I find boring, uninspired and sloppy.

And every now and then, it leaves me speechless with its beauty.

Same thing happened with Genji. The book itself was useful, with clear explanation of the complex love relationships of the book, and some more choicy quotes.
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I’m not sure how you turn a 1000+ page book into a mostly-illustrated 79 pages, but I didn’t care since it was Amano. I love the way he draws women- just a pale stretch of face or hand surrounded by a sea of color. Beautiful.
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a good introduction to The Tale of Genji. It's primarily watercolors with brief descriptions of each of the women in Genji's life. I wasn't a big fan of the artwork (personally), but it seems suitable to the material.
Alison Starfox
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I tried to read this when I was 10 years old. It was very poetically written and the sexual innuendo went unappreciated by my younger self. Reading it now with more context (especially the historical context of Japan) makes it a lot more scandalous and fun.
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a really pretty book, and a good (short!) adaptation of the original. I'll probably never read the original, but I did enjoy both the words and the paintings in this version.
Melissa M
Feb 24, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommended by Pat M.
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
some of the most beautiful watercolor illustrations
Sep 02, 2014 added it
Shelves: uni-list
I have no idea which translation or edition I read. I don't actually remember reading this book - I find it hard to believe that I did, but my book list doesn't usually lie...
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
The artwork is breathtaking in these pieces, but I was hoping for a bit more than excerpts.
Mar 13, 2014 marked it as to-read
This will take a while….
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Increíble trabajo. Definitivamente voy a volver a estas ilustraciones cuando lea a la dama Murasaki.
May 24, 2013 rated it liked it
If not for Amano's art...
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Beautiful art. Genji remains a creep and the worlds first Gary Stu.
C. Eaton
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is really only memorable due to the art, not so much the narrative. But very very beautiful and worth checking out.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 29, 2009
rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2016
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Murasaki Shikibu, or Lady Murasaki as she is sometimes known in English (Japanese: 紫式部), was a Japanese novelist, poet, and a maid of honor of the imperial court during the Heian period. She is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, written in Japanese between about 1000 and 1008, one of the earliest and most famous novels in human history. "Murasaki Shikibu" was not her real name; her act ...more
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