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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

1000th Anniversary of The Tale of Genji celebrated at UNESCO

1000th Anniversary of The Tale of Genji celebrated at UNESCO
  • © UNESCO/D. Bijeljac

On 29 September UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura opened an exhibition of paintings by Japanese artist Atsué Imayoshi depicting the great Japanese literary work, The Tale of Genji.

Also present at the ceremony at the Organization’s Headquarters were Japanese Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Mr Tadamichi Yamamoto and Mr Jean Bernard Ouvrieu, Vice President of the Fondation Franco Japonaise Sasakawa, co-sponsors of the exhibition.

The Tale of Genji has been described as “the highest pinnacle of Japanese literature”. Its one thousandth anniversary this year is being marked by celebratory events all across Japan and I am delighted that UNESCO is able to align itself with them through this exhibition,” stated Mr Matsuura.

The Director-General observed that this exhibition “underscores our belief in the arts and human creativity as a mainspring for cultural diversity.” He argued that “in light of our Constitutional goal to promote ‘the free flow of ideas by word and image’ [it is] particularly fitting that this exhibition devoted to literature and painting be displayed at UNESCO Headquarters.”

Mr Matsuura went on to explain that The Tale of Genji, composed of 54 chapters and some 800 embedded poems, has served as a source of inspiration for generations of writers and artists. Foremost among these creators is the contemporary Japanese painter, Ms Atsué Imayoshi, who has devoted her entire artistic output to the theme of the Genji. The lyrical works on display here evoke key episodes and characters in the classic work using traditional painting techniques,” he concluded.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 127-2008
  • 01-10-2008
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