Rustic Tale of Genji (Inaka Genji)

Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 月岡芳年 (1839-1892)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, 1885
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (diptych): 74 x 24.8 cm (29 1/8 x 9 3/4 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Anne van Biema collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, diptych, Japan, lovers, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), oban, rain, The Tale of Genji, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Anne van Biema American, 1915 - 2004


In The Fake Murasaki Country Genji (Nise Murasaki inaka Genji), author Ryvtei Tanehiko (1783-1843) recast the famous narrative set in the imperial court of the Heian period (794-1185) in the Muromachi period (1392-1573). Shown here with his lover Tasogare, Mitsuuji, a fictional warrior of the Ashikaga lineage, had both martial and romantic skills. The implicit eroticism of this vertical diptych by Yoshitoshi led to a judgment by Meiji government censors that it was injurious to public morals. One of the objections was that one of Mitsuuji's hands is not visible. The artist is said to have responded that if everything is depicted, the flavor is lost. Despite the controversy it aroused, this print represents a high point in Yoshitoshi's artistic renderings of dramatic scenes in beautiful natural settings imbued with deep lyricism and human emotion.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 128, pp. 310-311.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum