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The Tale of Genji
Important Cultural Property
53 folding books
Ink on paper
Kamakura-Muromachi period/13-16th century
Tokyo National Museum
This book comprises a total of 53 chapters of the Tale of Genji without "Ukifune." Over the cover decorated with sumi nagashi (a sumi flowing pattern similar to a marble design), a band made of a paper mulberry is attached on which serial numbers and chapter names are written in kana. It is said that this had been in possession of Matsudaira Sadanobu, the lord of the Kuwana domain. In 1935, it came into Mr. Junji Hosaka's possession and since then it has also been called "Hosaka-bon Tale of Genji." It seems that it had already lacked one chapter when Mr. Hosaka possessed it since he wrote down "53 chapters" on the back of the lid of the box. It was designated as a national treasure in 1936 under the former legal system.
The first 17 chapters from "Kiritsubo" to "Eawase" are copies of the original manuscripts transcribed in the Muromachi period, whereas the latter 36 chapters were copied in the Kamakura period. Since the copies transcribed in the Kamakura period comprise four books with a blue cover, seven Kawachi books and 25 Beppon, it seems they belong to the Beppon line and constitute valuable materials indispensable for the study of the texts of the Tale of Genji.