John Nathan is Takashima Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author or translator of nine books, including a biography of Yukio Mishima and the novels of Kenzaburo Oe. He is currently at work on the first full-length biography of Sōseki ­Natsume in English.
 (January 2016)

Who Can Put Across Genji?

‘Lady Fugitsubo watching Prince Genji departing in the moonlight’; Japanese woodblock print of a scene from The Tale of Genji, 1853
The Tale of Genji, scenes from the emperor’s court in eleventh-century Japan organized around the amorous adventures of its hero, Prince Genji, goes deeper than any romance. The main characters, the radiant prince in particular and a number of the women he beguiles, are endowed with a range of emotions …