Author: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) here as Toyokuni (豊国).
Subject: Firefly (hotaru, 蛍).
Series: Fifty four scenes from Genji (Genji gojūyon chō, 源氏五十四帖).
Number: 25/54.
Genre: Genji-e (源氏絵).
Size: medium (chūban, 中判) 25,2cm x 18,1cm (9,92 x 7,12 inches).
Publisher: Tōkokudō / Kiritanidō (桐谷堂).
Period: c. 1852 (late Edo).
Trimmed: no
Backed: no
Code: UKSI01021

Condition: the colors are vibrant, indicating minimal fading. However, there are visible signs of aging, such as slight stains and potential light damage to the edges, which do not significantly detract from the overall visual quality. No major creases, holes, or repairs are evident from the provided image, suggesting careful preservation.

This print dedicated to the the "Tale of Genji" depicts a noblewoman, (perhaps lady Tamakazura), lost in contemplation or sadness as she stands by a screen looking outwards, symbolizing a poignant moment of reflection. Her elaborate kimono and the detailed interior suggest a moment of quietude amidst the complexities of court life.

Genji is in an advantageous position without opponents, having delegated many responsibilities to To no Chujo. Tamakatsura, troubled after a confession from Genji, continues to distrust him despite his remorseful and fatherly behavior. Genji encourages the young woman to meet Sochi no Miya, but she shows no interest, and Sochi no Miya leaves the palace disappointed.
During an event at the residence of the Lady of the Village of Falling Flowers, Genji and the lady discuss other nobles, with her showing interest in Sochi no Miya and Higekuro. The lady leaves Genji alone for the night, despite his willingness to stay.
During the rainy season, the women remain indoors reading and copying stories. Genji finds Tamakatsura reading and starts a discussion about literature. Murasaki, also passionate about literature, is encouraged by Genji not to share immoral stories with Princess Akashi.
Yugiri often visits his half-sister, recalling past times with Kumoi, whom he couldn't marry. This reignites a rivalry with Kashiwagi, similar to that between their fathers. To no Chujo, father of many children, continues to reflect on the loss of Yuugao, unaware that Tamakatsura is his daughter.

On the background a poem from the chapter:

"Koehasete mi wo nomi kogasu hotarukoso ifuyori masaru omohinaru rame"


"The unspoken love of the burning firefly is deeper than the words you spoke out."