120 days of Genji, and an invitation

Hello, fellow readers,

It’s been a long time since I last wrote to you, but this time I have a better excuse – other than the usual one (work, study, more work…). I spent the last three weeks in Brazil, and my days were basically spent getting together with old friends, discovering new books, traveling around, eating amazing food and trying to make sense of the troubled political moment the country is going through.

In the midst of all this, I even managed to read 17 of my #20BooksOfSummer list, as well as 6 books for #WitMonth, and 4 Viragos for August (click on the links to know more about the books, or go to my Projects page). I am now getting ready for Jean Rhys Reading Week (#ReadingRhys) – and, most importantly, I am enjoying the very last days of summer, trying to store as much sunlight as I can in my body & soul, so as to endure the long winter days ahead.

I’ve already written to you about my upcoming plans for Japanese Literature Challenge, but now, inspired by The Summer of Genji (which took place back in 2010), I would like to invite you all to devote the following months to a Genji Readalong!

As I noted before, there are four translations available for The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu:

  • Dennis Washburn’s (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015, 1360 p., Goodreads);
  • Royall Tyler’s (Penguin Classics, 2003, 1182 p.,Goodreads);
  • Arthur Waley’s (Tuttle Publishing, 2010, 1155 p.,Goodreads);
  • Edward Seidensticker’s (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993, 1224 p.,Goodreads).

I just bought Royall Tyler’s translation, but I will also borrow Seidensticker and Washburn’s translations from my local library, and give them a go. If you fancy joining me, just pick the copy you prefer.

Here’s my reading schedule:


  • Week 1, days 01 – 08: chapters 1-4 ✓
  • Week 2, days 9 – 15: chapters 5-8 ✓
  • Week 3, days 16-22: chapters 9-12
  • Week 4, days 23-29: chapters 13-15
  • Week 5, days 30-05: chapters 16-18


  • Week 6, days 06-12: chapters 19-21
  • Week 7, days 13 – 19: chapters 22-25
  • Week 8, days 20-26: chapters 26-32
  • Week 9, days 27 – 03: chapters 33-35


  • Week 10, days 04-10: chapters 36-40
  • Week 11, days 11-17: chapters 41-44
  • Week 12, days 18-24: chapters 45-47
  • Week 13, days 25-31: catching up week!


  • Week 14, days 01-07: chapters 48-50
  • Week 15, days 08-14: chapters 51-54
  • Week 16, days 15-21: catching up week!
  • Week 17, days 22-31: catching up week!

I hope you take heart to read this chunker, and join me! It will be a pleasure to discuss this novel with you.

Enjoy your last days of summer, and happy Japanese reading, everyone!🙂

Yours truly,


Edward Killingworth Johnson: The Hammock (1881)
Edward Killingworth Johnson: The Hammock (1881)

14 thoughts on “120 days of Genji, and an invitation

  1. I hope you enjoy reading Genji. I read it a couple of years back and it’s a very enjoyable read. Not a great time for women, in my opinion, but Genji is ‘shining’ and troublesome and a very interesting character. Good luck!


  2. What a great idea! I had sworn off new reading challenges, but I can’t resist this one! The Tale of the Genji is on my Classics Club list. Reading it in small weekly installments like this makes it seem a lot less intimidating. I just put a hold on the Tyler translation at my local library. I’m in! 🙂


  3. Thanks for your earlier post about the four English translations, by the way. It helped me decide on the Royall Tyler translation. I picked up my copy and plan to start reading it this afternoon. I look forward to comparing notes with you. 🙂


  4. Thank you for deciding to follow my blog. I read The Tales of Genjii years and years ago, the Seidensticker translation, which at the time was recommended to me by a Japanese friend as the best available. There may have been an issue with the way women were treated, but I think it is an enormous mistake to bring modern sensitivity to bear on an ancient manuscript. Personally, I adored this book. I was having a long distance friendship with someone in Australia, and before Skype, letters were our means of communication, so I took great delight in the descriptions of the tender letters exchanged between the lovers: the careful consideration given to the colour of the paper, the crushing of the inkstone, which caligraphic brush to use, the ribbon to tie the missive with, often with a flower tucked into the folds. I hold this book in great esteem and remember it well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Deborah! I just found your blog, and your writing style drew me in 🙂 I am four chapters into The Tale of Genji, and I am already loving it! The Seidensticker translation was very well recommended to me, too, as the most ‘literary’. I am reading Tyler’s, it has helpful footnotes, but I will try to check out other translations available in my local library. Thank you for coming by my blog! 🙂


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