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Photos by Alison Redfoot

The Japanese Garden Presents The Tale of Genji Blooms

The Tale of Genji, sometimes called the world’s first novel, will be the focus of a special presentation at CSULB's Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden on Friday, Sept. 26, from 6:30-9 p.m. 

Titled “The Tale of Genji Blooms,” the event will deliver a unique evening experience, according to organizers, as the garden is presented as seen through the eyes of the 11th century Heian Court noblewoman, Lady Murasaki Shikibu, authoress of The Tale of Genji. This historic novel regales the reader with tales of palace romance and the many loves of the gallant Prince Genji.

“This classic work has fascinated readers for centuries,” said Alison Redfoot, the Japanese Garden’s education coordinator. “But, you will never forget seeing the aristocratic characters live in the beautiful garden beneath the leaves of the willow trees and next to the koi fish as they glide by with their nishiki patterning mirroring the brocade costumes before you.”

Those in attendance will experience imperial artistry and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and wine at this event, Redfoot noted.  CSULB students will be dressed in one-of-a-kind costumes that emulate Heian court style, brought expressly from Japan for this event. Thirteen kimono experts and instructors will exhibit the artful technique of kimono dressing with an on-stage demonstration.

Additionally, guests will enjoy a live koto performance from the Awaya Koto Conservatory. The strains and melodies of the koto were popular in the Heian period, Redfoot explained. After the presentation, those in attendance will have the opportunity to meet the kimono masters from Japan and ask them questions with the aid of translators.

Guests also will have the rare chance to meet and talk with Heian literature expert Hiroaki Sera, from Shikoku University in Tokushima, Japan. And, a recent translation in English of The Tale of Genji will be on display as well as a manga version.

For reservations or further details about the event, call 562/985-8420. Space is limited. Ticket prices are $50 for Friends of the Garden members or $60 for non-members.

The Japanese Garden is located on Earl Warren Drive near the Bellflower Boulevard entrance to the CSULB campus. Free parking is available in Lot 16 in non-metered spaces directly across the street from the garden.