Genji-kokagami (“A Little Mirror of Genji”), a manuscript preserved in my library, has been republished with a bibliographic commentary.
Genji-kokagami comprises of two sections. The first section introduces lore regarding the circumstances surrounding the writing and dissemination of The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari). It also discusses the main themes and significance of The Tale of Genji, primarily from a Buddhist perspective. The second section provides commentary about the characters appearing in The Tale of Genji, distinguished according to family (“genealogical”) ties and relationships. Keiji Inaga, a prominent scholar of Japanese literature, named the second section of Genji-kokagami as Genji-keizu-kokagami, which emphasizes the manuscript’s “genealogical” nature as it throws light on the relationships among the characters in The Tale of Genji. From this perspective, reflections are added to the printed materials or “guides” related to The Tale of Genji, which were published during Japan’s Middle Ages. The library of Waseda University contains Genji-sho (“Notes on The Tale of Genji”), a text that also comprises of two sections like Genjikokagami, but the order of the sections is reversed in Genji-sho. The general commentary section of Genji-kokagami is similar to that of Genji-no-sakui (“The Central Themes of Genji”) housed in Hosa Library (Hosa bunko), Nagoya. Both sections of Genji-no-sakui are written in the 7-5 syllabic rhythm style. While the contents of Genji-no-sakui and Genji-kokagami are different, it is highly probable that these two texts were written by the same author as these works were written at the same premises and for the same purpose.