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Japanese Works : Amayo Monogatari Dami Kotoba

Japanese Works

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This work, <i>Mispronounced Words in Tales on a Rainy Night</i> (Amayo monogatari dami kotoba 『雨夜物語たみことは』), is a two-volume digest by Katō Umaki 加藤宇万伎 (1721-1777) of one chapter of the <i>Tale of Genji</i> (Genji monogatari 『源氏物語』). The text includes annotations by Ueda Akinari 上田秋成 (1734-1809). <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(2);return false;'>The foreword</a> at the beginning of the first volume is by Akinari, and it is followed by a <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(4);return false;'>preface</a> from Umaki himself.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'><i>The Tale of Genji</i> by Murasaki Shikibu 紫式部 (978-1014) is the most famous novel in Japanese history. In 54 volumes, it tells the fictitious story of the Shining Prince, Hikaru Genji 光源氏. <i>Amayo monogatari dami kotoba</i> is based on the ‘The Broom Tree’ (Hahakigi 帚木) chapter from the <i>Tale of Genji</i>, which portrays the 17th year in Hikaru Genji’s 54-year long life. In this chapter, Hikaru Genji and other male nobles enjoy a pleasant chat on a rainy night in May. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The author of <i>Amayo monogatari dami kotoba</i>, Katō Umaki, was an official of the Edo government, as well as being a Japanese classical scholar (kokugakusha 国学者) and a waka poet. Umaki had been one of Kamo no Mabuchi's 賀茂真淵 (1697-1769) most gifted apprentices and became known as a scholar of the oldest Japanese waka anthology, <i>The Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves</i> (Manyōshū 『万葉集』), Umaki also published another commentary on the <i>Tosa Diary</i> (Tosa nikki 『土佐日記』). The foreword of <i>Amayo monogatari dami kotoba</i> was written by one of Umaki’s apprentices, Ueda Akinari, who also wrote <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''><i>Tales of Moonlight and Rain</i></a>(Ugetsu Monogatari 『雨月物語』). The preface by the author Umaki explains the origins of the book. Umaki had received a request from a friend, who had decided to present the <i>Tale of Genji</i> to his daughter as a substitute for history books and Buddhist scriptures. After <i>Amayo monogatari dami kotoba</i> was finished, it was Akinari who attempted to publish it. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The text was modified to make it more accessible to young women. Also, Mabuchi and Umaki’s theories and notes were added as annotations. <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(72);return false;'>The last page</a> shows that the manuscript of this book was copied by the hand of Kō Saiyō 高載陽 from Osaka (Naniwa浪速), and <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(72);return false;'>the colophon page</a> records that this book was published in April 1777 (An’ei 6). Umaki’s foreword was finished in October 1769 (Meiwa 6), and Akinari’s foreword was completed in March 1775 (An’ei 4). According to the <i>Genji monogatari chūshakusho ・ Kyōjushi jiten</i> 『源氏物語注釈書・享受史事典』, after the manuscript of this book was finished, it remained unpublished for years for various reasons. However, when Umaki became critically ill, the publication of this book became a top priority. Umaki died two months after its publication. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Ownership seals can be found on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(2);return false;'>the first page</a> of each volume. In addition to the seals of Aston and Satow, two other seals can be found in this work. The seal of <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(2);return false;'>Baba Shozō</a> 馬場所蔵 is located on the first page, and the collector’s seal of Hisamichi 久通 is on <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(38);return false;'>the cover</a> of each volume. </p>

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