Broadcast on December 8, 2016
Available until March 31, 2029
The Tale of Matsuranomiya was written in the late twelfth century by the aristocrat and literary scholar, Fujiwara-no-Teika. It is the story of a Japanese boy aristocrat who travels to China and has many extraordinary adventures. While incorporating rich allusions to earlier literary works, the descriptions of war reflect Teika’s own experience of conflict and the rise of Japan’s warrior class. The work which we feature this time is a manuscript copy made about a century after Teika’s time. Japanese history had reached a great turning point in the intervening years. The copy appears to have been produced with the aim of conveying the former aristocratic culture. The beautiful, decorative paper eventually went out of production. The distinctive script, on the other hand, may have been written this way for new readers, so that warriors and others might appreciate the story, too.