Tale of Genji, detail, palace interior, ca 1100-1125. Attributed to Takayoshi. Tokugawa Museum, Nagoya. The Tale of Genji (源氏物語 Genji Monogatari?) is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the Japanese noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century, around the peak of the Heian period. This scroll is the earliest extant example of a Japanese "picture scroll": collected illustrations and calligraphy of a single work.