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Hotaru (chapter 25) from the album Illustrations for Genji monogatari in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints

Ebina Masao (1913-1980)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Hotaru (chapter 25) from the album

Illustrations for Genji monogatari

in Fifty-Four Wood-Cut Prints

by Ebina Masao, c. 1953

Ebina Masao (1913-1980)

IHL Cat. #2455

About This Print

In this scene from chapter 25, Hotaru (The Fireflies)the thirty-six year old prince Genji, acting as a go-between for his younger brother and his brother's love, Lady Tamakazura, has released large numbers of fireflies so that his brother could see Lady Tamakazura in a dreamy light.

Source: The Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki, Dead Authors Society, 2018
She was sunk in thought, unable to answer the prince's outpourings. Genji came up beside her and lifted the curtain back over its frame. There was a flash of light She looked up startled. Had someone lighted a torch? No -- Genji had earlier in the evening put a large number of fireflies in a cloth bag. Now, letting no one guess what he was about, he released them. Tamakazura brought a fan to her face. Her profile was very beautiful.

The prince had guessed where the lady would be. Now he sensed that she was perhaps a little nearer. His heart racing, he looked through an opening in the rich gossamer curtains. Suddenly, some six or seven feet away, there was flash of light -- and such beauty as was revealed in it! Darkness was quickly restored, but the brief glimpse he had had was the sort of thing that makes for romance. The figure at the curtains may have been indistinct but it most certainly was slim and tall and graceful. Genji would not have been disappointed at the interest it had inspired.

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 #2455
 Title or Description
The Fireflies 螢 Hotaru
variously translated as The Glow Worm, Fireflies
 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 3/4 x 12 1/2 in. (22.2 x 31.8 cm)
 H x W Image 8 5/16 x 12 3/8 in. (21.1 x 31.4 cm)
 Collections This Print Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College 2006.1.25; 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:
3/24/2021 created