Lo Kuan-chung wrote Water Margin, and for three generations he begot deaf mutes. 1 For writing The Tale of Genji, Lady Murasaki was condemned to hell. 2 Thus were these authors punished for what they had done. But consider their achievement. Each created a rare form, capable of expressing all degrees of truth with infinitely subtle variation and causing a deep note to echo in the reader's sensibility wherewith one can find mirrored realities of a thousand years ago.
By chance, I happened to have some idle tales with which to entertain you, and as they took shape and found expression, with crying pheasants and quarrelling dragons, 3 the stories came to form a slipshod compilation. But you who pick up this book to read must by no means take the stories to be true. I hardly wish for my offspring to have hare lips or missing noses.
Having completed this work one night late in the spring of the Meiwa Era, under the zodiac of earth and the rat, 4 when the rain cleared away and the moon shone faintly by my window, I thereupon gave it to the bookseller, entitling it Ugetsu monogatari.
Signed: Senshi Kijin5