Lady Murasaki, Heian Japan Get Animated
For many students of elementary world history (and virtually all students in the Japanese school system), the name Shibiku Murasaki (Lady Murasaki) comes up whenever passing mention is made of early Japanese history. She was a lady-in-waiting in the court of Heian-era Japan in the late 11th century serving directly under the empress at the time. It was there at the imperial capital of Kyoto that Murasaki fashioned The Tale of Genji, a piece of romantic literature that is remembered today as the world’s first modern novel and a timeless, classic portrayal of court life as it existed in her time.
In a crude nutshell, the title character, Hikaru Genji, is one of the emperor’s sons and the novel basically recounts how his good looks led to relationships with various women throughout his life. Some of them assist in bringing about his politcal downfall (and the restoration of his honor) while others only a single night’s respite from the trials in his life. Yet it is one woman, a girl named Murasaki who he raised to be the ideal woman, that he could not end on good terms with despite her quite possibly being the object of his most honest affection.
Anyway, the point is if you haven’t had the chance to read The Tale of Genji or you always wanted to but could never finish it, you’re in luck. It seems as if the Noitamina anime block on Fuji TV will begin airing an adaptation of Waki Yamato’s take on the Murasaki classic, Asakiyumemishi, in January 2009. There’s no word yet on which studio’ll be in charge of the actual production of Asakiyumemishi ~ The Tale of Genji, but given the past track record entries in the Noitamina programming block (titles such as Honey and Clover, Paradise Kiss, Nodame Cantabile, Moyashimon) I have the utmost confidence in what I perceive to be quite the quality series come early next year.