Tale Of Genji Literary Analysis
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The Tale of Genji
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See Nowaki. Miyuki The Imperial Progress. In the winter when the Emperor makes a royal visit to Oharano, Tamakazura catches a glimpse of Emperor Reizei , who sets his heart on her, and she has tender feelings for him too. Genji confesses the truth to To no Chujo, and they makes plans for her initiation ceremony of tying the ceremonial apron for her bridal entry into court. New year has come and Tamakazura holds the initiation ceremony in spring, finally meeting his real father, the Palace Minister.
See Miyuki. Fujibakama Thoroughwort Flowers. In autumn, Palace Minister's mother Omiya passes away, and her grandchildren Yugiri and Tamakazura go into mourning. As Tamakazura 's bridal entry into court becomes more of a real possibility, suitors feels uneasy, especially Yugiri who confesses his love for Tamakazura , putting a spray of thoroughwort flower into a bamboo blind. See Fujibakama. Makibashira The Cypress Pillar. At the end of autumn, Higekuro, who has loved Tamakazura for a long time, forces her to have a relationship with him with the help of a court lady. Needless to say, Genji and the Emperor were dejected. Higekuro, who is deeply in love with Tamakazura , pays no attention to his wife and children, so his father-in-law Shikibukyo no Miya the Highness of Ceremonial gets angry and decides to take care of his daughter and grandchildren himself.
The princess feels sorrow for being separated from her father, so she composes a poem and puts it into a crack in a pillar. The following autumn, Tamakazura bears Higekuro a child. See Makibashira. Umegae The Plum Tree Branch. The day of young lady Akashi 's bridal entry into court is drawing closer, and Hikaru Genji prepares for it with every luxury imaginable. Various families are asked to blend fine incense as a part of the preparations, so one spring day when plum blossoms come out, a 'blending incense' competition is held. The following spring, young lady Akashi 's splendid initiation ceremony is held. See Umegae. Fuji no Uraba Wisteria Leaves. Moreover, Emperor Reizei knows that Genji's fortieth birthday will come next year, and issues an order to grant him a rank equivalent to Retired Emperor.
In winter, Emperor Reizei visits the Rokujo estate, and Genji is at the height of his prosperity. When he was a boy, a Goryeo physiognomist prophesied that he would become neither Emperor nor subject, which comes true. See Fuji no Uraba. Wakana Spring Shoots , volume 1. In celebration of Hikaru Genji 's fortieth birthday, Tamakazura sends him spring shoots on New Year's day. Meanwhile, Emperor Suzaku is to retire into priesthood, but he is worried about his youngest daughter Onna San no Miya , and so asks Genji to marry her. Lady Murasaki is deeply concerned with this, and while Genji himself can't feel affection for the third princess because she is a mere child, he also can't turn down his older brother and the Emperor's offer.
In Autumn, Genji's fortieth birthday ceremony is carried out with great splendor. The following spring, young lady Akashi bears the Crown Prince a child, increasing Genji's influence, while Kashiwagi a son of To no Chujo catches a glimpse of Onna San no Miya when kemari Japanese ancient Imperial court game like kick-ball is played, and falls in love with her secretly. See Wakana. Between the first and second volume of Wakana , there is a blank of seven years. During this time, Emperor Reizei abdicates the throne, and Emperor Kinjo a son of Emperor Suzaku succeeds to his father. Lady Akashi 's son becomes the Crown Prince. Wakana was divided into two volumes for posterity, but it was originally one volume.
Wakana , volume 2. At the Emperor Suzaku 's fiftieth jubilee, a music concert performed by women is to be held, and Genji teaches Onna San no Miya the koto. Right after the music concert, lady Murasaki is sick in bed, and Genji busies himself in taking care of her. During this time, Kashiwagi realizes his desire, getting Onna San no Miya pregnant. Genji, discovering this through a letter Kashiwagi has sent to Onna San no Miya , agonizes over it. However, Kashiwagi gets ill because of Genji's indirect admonition, and falls into a critical condition.
Kashiwagi The Oak Tree. Early in the new year, Onna San no Miya gives birth to a baby boy Kaoru , while Kashiwagi , who was in a critical condition, passes away. Onna San no Miya is also racked by guilt, and doing badly after the birth, becomes a priestess. Genji decides to keep private the details concerning the circumstances of Kaoru 's birth. However, Kashiwagi has asked Yugiri , his best fiend, to look after his family after he dies, and while Yugiri visits Kashiwagi 's wife Ni no Miya the Second Princess, Ochiba no Miya , he comes to be attracted to her. See Kashiwagi. Yokobue The Flute.
Autumn marks the first anniversary of Kashiwagi 's death. Ochiba no Miya's mother sends Yugiri a yokobue a flute treasured by the late Kashiwagi in reward for his support of her daughter Ochiba no Miya, but that night Kashiwagi appears in Yugiri 's dream, saying that it was a different person suggesting Kaoru to whom he wanted to send the yokobue. Yugiri consults with Genji about this, but Genji avoids telling him what to do. See Yokobue. Suzumushi The Bell Cricket. In autumn, Genji has bell crickets released on the garden of the estate, and holds a feast. At night, Empress Akikonomu confesses to Genji that she wants to become a priestess to console the spirit of her mother Rokujo no Miyasudokoro , whose spirit is still in agony even after death, while Genji persuades her not to do so.
See Suzumushi. Yugiri Evening Mist. In autumn, Yugiri , who can't help hiding his love for Ochiba no Miya any more, confesses his feeling to her, but she doesn't accept him. However, there is a rumor about these two people, and Ochiba no Miya's mother is so worried about this she sucumbs to illness and passes away. Ochiba no Miya grows increasingly weary of Yugiri , but he forces her to have a relationship with him. Kumoi no Kari is so jealous that she goes back to her father the resigned Grand Minister's home, and won't listen to Yugiri 's excuses.
At the end of the chapter, Yugiri 's future and his family's prosperity is told. See Yugiri. Minori The Rites. After lady Murasaki has fallen seriously ill in the chapter of Wakana , she often asks Genji to let her become a priestess, but he won't approve it, so all she can do is to pray for her happiness in the next world by performing a Buddhist service. The last glorious days at the Rokujo estate from spring to autumn and lady Murasaki's state of disease are depicted. In autumn, lady Murasaki passes away because of disease, and Genji grieves deeply over her.
See Minori. Maboroshi The Wizard. After the death of lady Murasaki, a whole year of Genji's life is lyrically depicted focusing on scenes and manners of the four seasons. At the end of the year, Genji decides firmly to retire into priesthood, burning letters from former lovers. See Maboroshi. Kumogakure Vanish behind the Clouds. This chapter is blank.
It has been said from long ago that this chapter evokes Genji's death. Besides, in the chapter of Yadorigi The Ivy , the author wrote that several years after Genji had become a priest, he lived in seclusion at Saga Kyoto City and passed away. See Kumogakure. Niou Miya His Perfumed Highness. Kaoru , age 14 to 20, New Year's day. The tale begins with a scene several years after Hikaru Genji 's death. The prosperity among the Genji family thrives, centering around the children of young lady Akashi and Emperor Kinjo. Empress Akashi 's son San no Miya is particularly well known for his amorousness, and popular with people along with Kaoru.
He is called ' Kaoru ' because he gives off natural sweet scent from his body, while Nioumiya suffuses his clothes with the fragrance of fine incense which will be called ' Niou Miya. Kaoru , age 24, spring. This is the tale of the To no Chujo family after the death of Kashiwagi. This chapter was probably forged for posterity. See Kobai. Takekawa Bamboo River. Kaoru , age 14 to This chapter deals with the tale of the family of Higekuro after he has died. Oigimi, one of the two daughters of Tamakazura , gets married with Emperor Reizei , while Naka no Kimi, the other daughter, is to enter into service at the Imperial court. Yugiri is loved by this family and has a close relationship with them.
See Takekawa. Kaoru , age 20 to These chapters are dominated by a strong influence of Buddhism and sense of uncertainty, and the character of Kaoru is irresolute and can't take the initiative in love, which makes a strong contrast with his rival Niou Miya and Genji in the first and second section. Kaoru 's personality had a strong influence on the tales of both the Heian and Kamakura periods later. Hashihime The Lady at the Bridge. Kaoru , age 20 to 22, October. Genji's younger brother Hachi no Miya lives in seclusion with his two daughters at Uji, spending his days in Buddhist training. Kaoru , being burdened by the secrets concerning his birth, regards Hachi no Miya's way of living as ideal, and often visits his residence, coming to feel deeply attracted to Oigimi, his eldest daughter.
Returning to the capital, Kaoru tells Niou Miya what is going on in Uji, and Niou Miya also gets interested in his story. See Hashihime. Shigamoto Beneath the Oak. Kaoru , age 23 in February to 24 in summer. Niou Miya stops at Uji in spring, and exchanges poems with Naka no Kimi. Hachi no Miya passes away in autumn. Two daughters are left in Kaoru 's hands.
Kaoru tries to arrange a marriage between Naka no Kimi and Niou Miya , while he himself confesses his love for Oigimi, but is refused. However, Kaoru loves her more than ever. See Shigamoto. Agemaki Trefoil Knots. Kaoru , age 24, from August to the year's end. Kaoru tells his love for Oigimi again in vain, while Oigimi hopes that Naka no Kimi and Kaoru will get married. At the end of autumn, Oigimi leaves Naka no Kimi and Kaoru alone in a bedroom, but Kaoru won't touch her. According to plan, he arranges a marriage between Niou Miya and Naka no Kimi, but Niou Miya doesn't often visit his wife, and a bitter Oigimi falls sick in bed, soon passing away in Kaoru 's arms.
See Agemaki. Sawarabi Bracken Shoots. Kaoru , age 25, spring. The following year, the period of mourning for Oigimi ended, and Naka no Kimi is taken in by Niou Miya. Although Kaoru serves her as a guardian, he ends up being distrusted by Niou Miya. See Sawarabi. Yadorigi The Ivy. Kaoru , age 24 in spring to 26 in April. Niou Miya gets married to Roku no Kimi Yugiri 's sixth daughter , and Naka no Kimi, who is pregnant, cannot help feeling anxious about the future. While Kaoru consoles Naka no Kimi, he comes to feel affection toward her, which makes her confused, but after she safely gives birth to a baby boy, her position becomes more stable. However when he visits the Hase-dera Temple , he catches a glimpse of Ukifune , Oigimi's half younger sister by different mother, and is moved by her.
See Yadorigi. Azumaya The Eastern Cottage. Kaoru , age 26, autumn. Because of her mother's second marriage, Ukifune has been brought up as a stepdaughter of the country Governor, and many men want to marry her because of her father's property. However, her mother hopes to make her marry a noble man, leaving her with Naka no Kimi. The mother wants to arrange a marriage between Kaoru and her daughter, but one night Niou Miya forces her into a relationship with him, so she takes in Ukifune hastily, consulting with Kaoru later and having her move to Uji. See Azumaya. Ukifune A Drifting Boat.
Kaoru , age 27, spring. Niou Miya , who still cannot give up his attachment to Ukifune , discovers her residence through a letter from Naka no Kimi, and visits Uji pretending that Kaoru had an affair with Ukifune forcibly. Before long Ukifune also comes to love Miya, while Kaoru , who knows nothing about them, begins preparations for having her move to Kyo, so Niou Miya enters into a rivalry with him, planning to take her to his residence. As a consequence, Kaoru , who knows about the relationship between Niou Miya and Ukifune , is sent a poem that blames her, and she agonizes over these two men. See Ukifune. Kagero The Mayfly. Kaoru , age 27, from spring to autumn. Ukifune is lost, and remaining court ladies sense that she must have drowned herself, so they hold a funeral to hide the truth, lamenting over her death.
Kaoru also knows this and grieves over her death deeply. When summer comes, Kaoru feels affection toward Onna Ichi no Miya, an older sister of his wife. See Kagero. Tenarai Writing Practice. Kaoru , age 27 in March to 28 in summer. Before long she recovers and, without revealing her name, tells the sozu that she would like to become a priestess. Because young lady Akashi 's priest for incantation tells her about Ukifune , Kaoru also comes to know about her. See Tenarai. Kaoru , age 28, summer. Kaoru goes to Yokawa and asks sozu to meet Ukifune to no avail, so he hands Ukifune 's younger brother Kogimi a letter asking her to return to the secular life. Her desperation and the quiet remorse are well captured in the following lines:.
As we know, she made her maiden appearance as a surrogate for Kiritsubo, though, in a bitter twist of irony, later, Genji, looked for her substitutes, in such women, as Utsusemi, the Third Princess, but most importantly, in Murasaki. Though Yuga was temperamentally coyish and rather withdrawn, Genji instantly fell for her and was captivated by her disarming demeanor and both became passionate lovers. However, Rokujo, who was a smart woman to whom Genji was also amorously inclined, could not tolerate, Yugao, having emerged from a relatively lowly caste.
It is fabled that in a vengeful reproach, her evil spirit killed Yugao, which resulted in an acute mental turmoil to Ganjee. Unable to bear the deep loss, Genji felt extremely tormented and felt suicidal. This instance very eloquently brings to sharp relief, the soft, romantic, feminine nature of Genji. His unique proficiency in letters, painting, music,. Interestingly, AOI, the only daughter of Princess Omiya, was formally married to Genji, but the relationship was more of a political one and reflected courtly obligations rather than born or even bred out of genuine love.
Aoi, the elder to her husband and more practical in her ways, found him unsuitable, immature, and gradually drifted apart. It was through palace rumors and the like that Aoi became aware of the existence of Murasaki, which immensely disturbed her. Her frustration and desolation are captivatingly borne out in the following lines:. Certain of the women at Sanjo let it be known that a new lady had been taken in at Nijo. If she had complained to him openly, as most women would have done, he might have told her everything, and no doubt eased her jealousy….
She, however, bore him a son named Yugiri, following which she passed away, hounded by a spirit of royal Dame Rokujou. The second point of view belongs to the dissenters who hold that the relationships that Genji forged are nothing but seductions or may even be termed as rape, crimes against women. In fact, his initial enamor which later turned out to be a tempestuous affair with Fujistubo is a very strong pointer to this. In fact, we find the Emperor encouraging Fujitsubo to lavish her attention on adolescent Genji, along these lines :. Do not think him forward, be kind to him.
We find that though Murasaki did have some problems regarding the Akashi woman, she was not jealous of the relations Genji had with various women, since Genji never really wavered from the affection and devotion he felt for Murasaki and the latter fully reciprocated his feelings. An underlying humane attitude, propped by sympathy and care, is the hallmark of The Tale of Genji. Men in this saga seem to overlook or even accept these common foibles on the part of the women.
All the characters seem to grow and evolve as the story progresses, much like in the real life. The plot and its characters never seem to be contrived. However, men are the dominant characters in this lore. The political and the intellectual worlds belonged to them. They were sheltered from being seen by men unrelated to her, although illegal spying on women was not unheard of. Gordon-Smith, p. Ladies from good genteel and aristocratic families were expected to live by pretty high and conservative standards of morality.
Women had access to education, culture, and accomplishment. This is corroborated by the mention of Genji himself taking up the task of educating and training little Murasaki since she was ten years old. Women had property rights and wielded much power within their households. As revealed from the position of Fujistubo, wife of the Emperor, from the following quotes:. The child had no strong backing, however. His uncles were all princes of the blood, and it was not for them to take command of public affairs. We see Fujitsubo, wife of the emperor, getting involved with Genji and even secretly bearing him a son. However, on the other hand, we see mentioned right at the beginning of the tale. The world assumed that with this powerful support, he would one day be named crown prince; but the new child was far more beautiful.
On public occasions, the emperor continued to favor his eldest son. The new child was a private treasure, so to speak, on which to lavish uninhibited affection. In this polygamous situation, the social position of the women played a great role in their marital relations, more so if their husbands had such amorous inclinations as Genji. Sometimes there was much rivalry and animosity among these wives. The situation does not change even when Genji is a grown man. The enthralling and passionate love affairs of Genji, the show of genuine care and concern, romance and longing, buffeted, at times, by pangs of remorse and guilt, are a lively commentary on the evolving human relationships of the times, providing deep insights into their socio-cultural moorings and their larger acceptance within the society.