Genji-mon, genji-kô, awase-kô

Genji 39 - Yûgiri (Evening Mist)

Yûgiri (Evening Mist)

All 54 Genji Mon

About Genji.mon, genji-kô, awase-kô

Genji crests (Genji-mon) are 54 different rectilinear emblems, each associated with one of the 54 chapters of the Genji monogatari („Tale of Genji,“ early eleventh century, written by Murasaki Shikibu).


Genji crests (see Table of Genji-mon), also called Genji-kô („Genji incense“), were apparently first derived from one of the traditional incense ceremonies in which participants burned combinations of 5 primary scents from 25 different packets, each marked with a unique symbol.


Eventually, these 25 symbols were expanded to 54, corresponding to the Genji chapters. Other influences on the particular forms of these crests may have been the tally markers or vent patterns of the incense burners used in the ancient game of incense guessing, called awase-kô („fragrance game“ or „incense contest“). The game challenged players to identify burning incense when small slivers of various fragrant tree resins were placed on pieces of mica and burned over charcoal in a kôrô (incense burner). Players had their guesses tallied and the one with the most correct guesses was the winner.


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