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In accordance with our meta agreement to have topic challenges and a later meta agreement to have topic challenges lasting for two months and overlapping by one month, it is time to announce the July–August 2020 topic challenge.

Based on the number of votes, the seventh topic challenge of the year 2020 will be

The Tale of Genji


What's a topic challenge?

See the meta posts linked above, and also this main meta post. In short, during July and August 2020 we should all try to read the 11th-century novel The Tale of Genji.

Participation is not obligatory in any sense, and questions on other works are more than welcome during July and August too; they just won't count as part of this topic challenge.

How can I take part?

By getting hold of The Tale of Genji and asking good questions about it. Questions about this novel should be tagged with , and . We'll keep a list of all such questions in an answer to this meta post.

Below is Tsundoku's original presentation with a few additions:

The Tale of Genji, written in the early 11th century by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu, is almost consistently described as the oldest novel in Japanese literature. Depending on how you define "novel" it may be the world's first novel.

There are English translations of the novel by Suematsu Kenchō (1882), Arthur Waley (1921-1933; see volume one on Archive.org), Edward Seidensticker (first volume 1976, followed by an abbreviated version) and Royall Tyler (2003).

The novel has also been adapted to other media, including mangas: The Tale of Genji by Waki Yamato and Genji Monogatari by Miyako Maki.

What's next?

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List of all questions posted in this topic challenge


This topic challenge generated eight questions submitted by three participants.

The highest-voted of these is Which English translation of The Tale of Genji is the most accurate yet readable?, with a score of 4 at the end of August.

The most viewed is Which English translation of The Tale of Genji is the most accurate yet readable?, with approximately 76 views during the months of July and August.

Only the first question had received an answer by the end of August but more answers will hopefully follow later.

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