By John Hertz: Traditional Chinese and Japanese often have a thousand years for “long”. Raising a drink one may say A thousand years! meaning roughly “Live long and prosper!”
The book which many think the first novel in the world really was written a thousand years ago, The Tale of Genji, completed about the year 1012. Its author was a court lady, which is remarkable, but that’s another story. In English it now has four translations, by Arthur Waley (1933), Edward Seidensticker (1976), Royall Tyler (2001), Dennis Washburn (2015), each with fans.
We call the author Lady Murasaki. She may have been Fujiwara no Takako (i.e. Takako of the clan Fujiwara), who served the Empress Shôshi. Murasaki is a nickname, after the main female character in her book, called Murasaki (“wisteria”).
We know little about the author personally. She left a diary, also a work of art, but what has come down to us only covers two years. The immense Genji scholarship includes labor over the diary.
In re-reading Richard Bowring’s 1996 translation The Diary of Lady Murasaki just now I came across these passages good for a thousand years (pp. 53, 56).
It is very easy to criticize others but far more difficult to put one’s own principles into practice, and it is when one forgets this truth, lauds oneself to the skies, treats everyone else as worthless, and generally despises others, that one’s own character is clearly revealed.
It is so rare to find someone of true understanding; for the most part they judge purely by their own standards and ignore everyone else.