Yamato Waki, Genji approaching death, from the series “The Tale of Genji: Dreams at Dawn” (1989) (image courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

We treat so-called beach reads and pulp fiction so disposably that it’s often easy to forget that the first so-called “modern novel” was a Japanese work written nearly a millennium ago. The Tale of Genji, written in the 11th century, was nothing short of a masterpiece and landmark of human creative ingenuity by Murasaki Shikibu, and it has rightfully been translated, adapted, and remixed through the years. Once such update on the novel is on view at New York City’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art — Yamato Waki’s manga adaptation, The Tale of Genji: Dreams at Dawn (Genji monogatari: Asaki yumemishi in Japanese) — and the artist herself is scheduled to give a lecture on the work this weekend at the museum.

Yamato is an acclaimed and accomplished mangaka, the Japanese term for an artist who creates manga. She has written and illustrated several historical manga, and her 1989-93 adaptation of The Tale of Genji is one part of the Met’s The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated — an exhibition that features “more than 120 works, including paintings, calligraphy, silk robes, lacquer wedding set items, a palanquin for the shogun’s bride, and popular art” like Yamato’s collected volumes. Yamato will be in conversation with Melissa McCormick, writer of The Tale of Genji: A Visual Companion. Space for the talk is limited, so advance registration is required, according to the museum.

When: Saturday, June 8, 2019, 2–3 pm
Where: The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (82nd Street & Fifth Avenue, Manhattan)

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Eric Vilas-Boas

Eric Vilas-Boas is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic. He has previously worked at Thrillist, Esquire, SPIN, Donorschoose.org, and his writing has appeared at Vulture, Slashfilm, Lit Hub, Paste,...