Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hagiwara Hiromichi's Genji monogatari hyōshaku (源氏物語評釈), written from 1853-1861, is held to be the last of the "old commentaries" on the Genji.  Hagiwara is following in the tradition of the Kokugakusha like Motoori Norinaga, but he brings a somewhat more nuanced view of the story and is not as willing to completely throw away old ideas as Norinaga was.

Hagiwara was the first since Kitamura Kigin's Kogetsush to try to make a complete commentary that incorporated the text as well as annotation.  He intended it to be readable by novices, and included a lot of aids in the text to help people.  But at the same time the annotation is quite scholarly and sometimes very in-depth.  He also was the first to do a thorough literary analysis of the story, commenting on narrative techniques and development.  Unfortunately he died after completing only the first 8 chapters, but the incomplete commentary continued to influence later scholars.

Patrick Caddeau's 1998 dissertation on Hagiwara gives a comprehensive look at the general theories and approach of Hagiwara.  I'm going to focus here on the textual annotation instead.

Well over half of the annotation is Hagiwara's own, divided into 釈, which represent explanations of words and grammar, and 評, which are literary analyses.  In addition, he cites over 20 previous commentaries stretching back to the 12th century.  I will explain the most frequently cited commentaries here and leave the rest for later.

Hagiwara was the first to divide commentaries into "old" commentaries (those up to the Kogetsushō) and "new" commentaries.  Of the "old" commentaries, he praised two of them highly and quotes them relatively often.  The first is the 細流抄 (Sairyusho, 1510-13) by San'jonishi Kin'eda, working off his father Sanetaka's notes and lectures.  The Sanjonishi family was the dominant school of Genji scholarship in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The second is the 湖月抄 (Kogetsusho, 1673) by Kitamura Kigin -- in particular, Kigin's own theories and those of his teacher Minogata Joan (marked as 師説).

He quotes the "new" commentaries much more frequently than the old ones; three in particular.  Those are: (1) the 源氏物語新釈 (Shinshaku, 1758) of Kamo no Mabuchi, (2) the 玉の小櫛 (Tama no Ogushi, 1796) of Motoori Norinaga, and (3) the 源注余滴 (Genchu yoteki, 1830) of Ishikawa Masamochi.

I will use the usual one-character abbreviations that Hagiwara uses, and I'll apply color to show how old the commentary is (following the rainbow, with red being the oldest ones and the deep purple being Hagiwara's own comments).  It's not really necessary to know every detail about each commentary, but knowing roughly what period it comes from is helpful.

Next will be Hagiwara's introduction to the first chapter, "Kiritsubo" -- I'll explain more about the actual text of Genji itself after that.  I'll be providing both text (punctuated and massaged a bit to standard orthography) and translations, although my translations won't be perfect.

Some helpful links:
Eiichi Shibuya's Genji site, which has text, modern Japanese translation, and commentary for the entire Tale.
A PDF file of the original woodblock print of the commentary; the only other edition is a typeset one made in the Meiji period that's been reprinted several times since then.
The Japanese wikipedia article on the commentary -- in general the JP wikipedia articles on Genji-related things are very good; they were obviously written by a specialist.


  1. So, there is a contemporary division into "old" (everything up to GMH) and "new" (everything afterward), plus Hagiwara's division of that "old" category into "old'" (everything up to KGS) and "new'" (everything afterward)?

    Diagrammatically, like:

    [[old', new'], new]
    = [[~KGS, (KGS)~GMH], (GMH)~]

    Do you think that these are well-drawn boundaries? What sort of objective factors (other than date of composition) distinguish the groups? Is it possible to meaningfully subdivide even further? Please consider a post about this if it's too complicated to answer in comments (and, uh, won't undermine the impact of your eventual dissertation, I guess).

    1. Usually in modern works you see a fourfold division: 古注, which is up to the Kakaisho, 旧注, from Ichijo Kanera's work to the Kogetsusho, 新注, which is Keichu to Hagiwara, and then 現代注釈 which is everything after that. I definitely think this is a meaningful separation although of course there is not a complete break between one period and the next. Maybe I should write a post on this since it is somewhat complex and people (including Hagiwara, but also modern writers) sometimes are too simplistic in their praise of the Kokugakusha and their rejection of anything before Norinaga.