Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


A Quest for Reference Books of “Genji chigusa kō”

TAKEI Masako

(The Graduate University of Advanced Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies, Department of Japanese Literature)

Key words:

“Genji chigusa kō,” Genji kokagami, digest book, renga poems, kumikō

“Genji chigusa kō” is Included in Chapters 8 and 9 of Kōdō ran no sono (Book of Kōdō), that is a text written in the early eighteenth century on kōdō, the Japanese art of incense. It has more than 200 kinds of kumikō (games of judging the difference between fragrances) and manners of kōdō. This book was edited by Kikuoka Senryō. He was a craftsman, writer, and haiku poet.

“Genji chigusa kō” has fifty-three kinds of kumikō. They are all related to The Tale of Genji. But there are some differences between these kumikō contests and the story found in the Genji. The Tale of Genji was read during the medieval and early modern periods in Japan, and many digest versions of the tale were produced. Genji kokagami in particular was read by many people. This book was not only a digest of the Genji but also served as a sourcebook for composing renga. This article deals with some differences between the kumikō games mentioned in “Genji chigusa kō” and the story of such contests in The Tale of Genji. For example, in examining ‘Hahakigikō’, ‘Tamakatsurakō’, ‘Umegaekō’, and ‘Wakanakō’, I noticed that there are some possibilities that “Genji chigusa kō” may in fact be based on Genji kokagami. There are six extant variations of Genji kokagami, and “Genji chigusa kō” may be connected with the oldest of these.

The aim of my thesis is to study the relation of these incense games to literature, and to show clearly how “Genji chigusa kō” was influenced by Genji kokagami.