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The Bridge of Dreams (chapter 54) from the album Illustrations for Genji monogatari in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints

Ebina Masao (1913-1980)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The Bridge of Dreams (chapter 54) from the album

Illustrations for Genji monogatari

in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints

by Ebina Masao, c. 1953

Ebina Masao (1913-1980)

IHL Cat. #2444

About This Print

In this scene from chapter 54, the last chapter in GenjiKokimi, the younger brother of Ukifune, is leaving after his fruitless visit to her at the nunnery in Ono. He has come away without an answer to Kaoru's letter he was carrying.

Source: The Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki, Dead Authors Society, 2018
[Kaoru instructs the boy Kokimi] "You remember your dead sister well enough to recognize her, I suppose? Well, I had resigned myself to the fact that she was no longer among us, but now it seems quite clear that I was wrong.

Very young and impressionable, the boy had continued to grieve for his sister...

"Yes, my lord," he answered gruffly, trying not to weep.

[Kokimi arrives at the nunnery and a nun receives him]
A very handsome and well-groomed boy came forward. Offered a cushion, he knelt deferentially beside the blind.

[Speaking to the nun] "There is another letter I'd like to give her... [H]e told me I had to put the letter in her hands and no one else's, and so I have to."

[Kaoru's letter reads:] "Out of deference to the bishop, I shall excuse the rash step [becoming a cloistered nun] you have taken. Of that I shall speak no further. For my own part, I am seized with so intense a longing to speak to you of those nightmarish events that I can scarcely myself accept it as real. I cannot imagine how it might seem to others.... Have you forgotten this boy? I keep him here beside me in memory of one who disappeared."

[Ukifune in a dreamlike state refuses to answer] Nothing more was to be done, clearly, and the boy feared that he was beginning to look ridiculous. Saddened and chagrined at his failure to exchange even a word with his so grievously lamented sister, he started for the city.

For an excellent introduction to The Tale of Genji see Penguin's "Short Summary of the Tale" at https://www.penguin.com/static/packages/us/taleofgenji/introduction3.php

About The Album

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2444
 Title or Description
夢浮橋 Yume no Ukihashi (The Bridge of Dreams)
also variously translated as The Floating Bridge of Dreams, A Floating Bridge in a Dream
 Series Illustrations for Genji monogatari in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints
 木版画源氏五十四帖  Mokuhanga Genji gojūyonjō
 Ebina Masao (1913-1980)
 not signed
 Seal正夫 Masao
 Publication Date 1953 or after (originally issued 1953; multiple editions are known)
 Publisher Yamada Shoin 山田書院
 Carver carving supervised by Yoshio Kawamo [Kawatsura Yoshio 川面義雄 (1880-1963)]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre genji-e
 Format ōban
 H x W Paper 8 11/16 x 12 7/16 in. (22.1 x 31.6 cm)
 H x W Image 8 5/16 x 12 in. (21.1 x 30.5 cm)
 Collections This Print Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College 2014.1.17; University of Kansas Libraries KU Bib ID: 4123242 (entire portfolio; images not shown); National Diet Library Call Number 913.36-E17g-K (entire portfolio dated 1958; images not shown)
 Reference Literature 
latest revision:
3/25/2021 created