Editor's Notes on Genji Monogatari

[This note is translated from the foreword to The Intelligence & Database on GENJI-MONOGATARI, Revised by Fujiwara-Teika: Japanese and Roman Letters by Professor Eiichi Shibuya of Takachiho Shoka University. For updates, see Professor Shibuya's site.]

The interest of Genji monogatari lies in the rich expressiveness of the text. That is why it is impossible to savor the profundity of the story without the original text. The charm of the text is appreciated only when the original text is read thoroughly while close reading unravels the complexity of the expressions.

Our project -- Genji Monogatari: Text and Interpretation of the Teika-bon Text -- aims to provide Genji monogatari scholars and Genji fans all over the world with a reliable text and its rich world of expression . As the first stage of this project, the original text of Genji monogatari, a romanized version, and a modern Japanese translation are to be made available. We will begin with Chapter 1, "Kiritsubo," and continue to the end at Chapter 54, "Yume no Ukihashi." In the second stage, we plan to supply annotation, commentary, and criticism of the text.

In the original version, we chose a manuscript text edited by Fujiwara no Teika, which is widely considered to be the most reliable among older texts. We emended the text according to the four rules below.

    1. We used the following existing manuscripts (originals or photographic reproductions): Teika-bon (Sonkeikaku Bunko), Meiyurinmo-bon (owned by Tokai University), Oshima-bon (Kodaigaku Kyokai), and Ikeda-bon (owned by Tenri Library). In emendation, we prioritized the manuscripts in the order in which they are listed above.

    2. In general, we did not incorporate emendations made by later scribes or copyists. We adopted, however, those which seemed consistent with the Teika-bon text and its own emendations.

    3. We did emend the text in certain cases where more than one variant exists, where words are omitted, or where sentences appear to be ungrammatical. In other cases, with due consideration of the entire character and the content of the text, we edited the text only when necessary.

    4. The differences in hiragana of "i," "hi" and "wi," "u" and "fu," "e," "he" and "we," "o," "ho" and "wo," "ha" and "wa," "n" and "mu," are silently emended. We chose either of the "ba-" gyo or "ma-" gyo for phonemic alternation.

In the romanized version, we chose a traditional Japanese romanization. Ya-gyo and wa-gyo are represented respectively as ya, yi, yu, ye, yo, and wa, wi, wu, we, wo. By this method, homonyms such as "ohisaki" and "oyisaki" are differentiated.

We also differentiated the sounds of "m" and "n." The auxiliary verb for conjectural "mu" is represented as "m." Nouns such as "uma" and "ume" are represented as "mma" and "mme."

Compound words, prefixes, and suffixes are shown with a hyphen.

Proper nouns such as titles and characters' names are capitalized.

In the modern Japanese translation, in principle we translated word-for-word to capture the subtle nuances of the original text.

The original, romanized, and modern versions are intended to allow readers to compare the three versions.


We may make changes to our texts without notice when we find minor spelling mistakes or errors. If we change the contents of our page, we may create a second version of the Genji monogatari web page.

We appreciate any suggestions or comments on our project.

To the Genji Monogatari contents

Last revised June 29, 1999