The ninjōbon (人情本) is a pre-modern Japanese literary genre. Novels focused on young love and were generally aimed to attract female readers. It is a subgenre of gesaku and follows upon the earlier sharebon and kokkeibon genres.


The ninjōbon genre begins around 1819 with Akegarasu Nochi no Masayume (明烏後正夢) by Ryūtei Rijō and Seidan Mine Hatsuhana (清談峰初花) by Jippensha Ikku as early examples of the genre.

The genre reached its peak in the 1830s. Much of this was due to works of Tamenaga Shunsui beginning with Shunshoku Umegoyomi (春色梅児誉美) in 1832. This was followed by a number of books in the Umegoyomi series.

However, the popularity of the genre came to abrupt end in 1842 with the introduction of the Tenpō reforms. Led by Mizuno Tadakuni, Tamenaga was manacled for 50 days, ninjōbon were confiscated and burned, and fewer books in the genre were published. The restrictions are lessened after Mizuno retires.

Ninjōbon continued to be published until the early Meiji period.

Major works

  • Akegarasu Nochi no Masayume (明烏後の正夢, After the Morning Crow, a True Dream) (1819), Ryūtei Rijō
  • Seidan Mine Hatsuhana (清談峰初花) (1819), Jippensha Ikku
  • Onna Imagawa (婦女今川) (1826), Tamenaga Shunsui
  • Kanamajiri Musume Setsuyō (仮名文章娘節用) (1831), Kyokusanjin
  • Shunshoku Umegoyomi (春色梅児誉美, Colors of Spring: The Plum Calendar) (1832–1833), Tamenaga Shunsui
  • Shunshoku Umemibune (春色梅美婦禰) (1841–1842)
  • Temariuta Sannin Musume (毬唄三人娘) (1862–1865), Shōtei Kinsui
  • Shunshoku Edomurasaki (春色江戸紫) (1864), Sansantei Arindo


  • Keene, Donald (1976). World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Pre-Modern Era 1600-1867. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-394-17074-1.
  • Kubota, Jun (2007). Iwanami Nihon Koten Bungaku Jiten (in Japanese). Iwanami Shoten. ISBN 978-4-00-080310-6.
  • Nihon Koten Bungaku Daijiten: Kan'yakuban. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. 1986. ISBN 4-00-080067-1. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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