Video

‘Blood, Tears, and Samurai Love’: A lost love story in a library manuscript

Scholars collaborating across three continents have deciphered a rare eighteenth-century Japanese manuscript from Yale University Library to reveal a tragic — and likely true — love story between two male samurai warriors.

Historically, same-sex relationships were widely accepted in Japan, but attitudes changed by the end of the nineteenth century when Japan emerged as a full-fledged world power, and many books and manuscripts depicting relationships between men were destroyed. The Yale manuscript is an unusual example of jitsuroku-bon, a genre translated as “factual storybook.”

Read more and view this video by Haruko Nakamura, librarian for Japanese Studies, and Dylan Siegel ’21 M.A., a graduate student in East Asian Studies.

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