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Could somebody recommend an edition of Genji monogatari?
Topic Started: Dec 15 2017, 07:05 AM (477 Views)
Purplekjw
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Vagrant

Hi. I'm pretty new to Japanese and would like to expand my vocabulary through reading literature. I thought The Tale of Genji would make for interesting reading as well as providing an aid for vocabulary acquisition. I was hoping somebody would be able to recommend a particular edition of the book though, as, with there being so many editions available, I'm pretty lost. I would prefer a modern Japanese translation (feel free to tell me why if you disagree), as I assume the original would be archaic and I would rather acquire grammar and vocabulary that is modern and relevant.

A couple other things to consider, price is an issue. I'd rather skip the top recommendation if I have to pay through the nose to get it and also ease to purchase, as I don't want to go tracking down old editions on ebay. Thus far I've only managed to find one copy on Amazon that wasn't in English, and it was part 1 of 10 or something.

If somebody could provide a recommendation and an explanation as to why they recommend that particular edition I would be extremely grateful! If you also provided a link to where I can purchase it you can multiply my gratitude by ten!
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chingwa
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Togishi
I've always been partial to Seidensticker and his translations... I've found he has a real knack for flowery language in general, which particularly helps in The Tale of Genji. However I admit, Genji is not one of my favorites, and I have only read the Seidensticker version of this particular novel so don't have much to compare it to.
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Purplekjw
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Vagrant
That's great, I appreciate your response. I'll shop around for a decent copy (amazon isn't proving too helpful at the moment). I'm also wiiiide open to suggestions of other (or better) things to read. I enjoy historical fiction and fantasy/sci-fi when reading in English, but am not so picky as to what material I use to dip my toes into Japanese literature so long as it's a good read and suits my needs. Even open to non-fiction.
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chingwa
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Togishi
You know, I think I misunderstood your original question. I thought you were looking for a recommendation on one of the various English translations, but I see you're asking for language study in Japanese.

It's a nice idea to get this through traditional literature, though I don't know if Genji Monogatari would be a very good place to start. You may be better off looking at shorter more digestible short stories... preferably with some translation notes in English to help make more sense of things. Books like the links below are great for this type of study...

https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156
https://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Japanese-Literature-Tanizaki-Kawabata/dp/1568365411
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Purplekjw
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Vagrant
I had wondered if you had misunderstood when I saw Seidensticker listed as a translator, but then I came across a copy that was supposedly in Japanese but listed him as the sole author. Confusing. Amazon hasn't been my friend today.

I probably could have worded my original question more clearly, but I think it was something like 4am (as it is right now) and my communication isn't at its best in the early hours. We got there in the end though. Both of those suggestions look great. It's not what I would have gone for had I not sought advice, but it's probably the direction I'll go in now. In fact, the more I look at them the more I'm convinced of their suitability.

Much appreciated! For reals.

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