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Genji 5-9


Chapter 5 Wakamurasaki 若紫 / Lavender. In which Murasaki is introduced. Murasaki, at least ten years of his junior, has a striking resemblance to Fujisubo for whom he yearned.  “The child must stand in the place of one whom she resembled.” For this reason alone, Genji decided to bring her to the court with him, although the suit for the hand of a mere did occur to him as being capricious. Meanwhile, Genji’s wife, Aoi, continued to treat him with such indifference that he thought her “the stiffest, remotest person in the world.” Fujisubo lamented the burden of her sin, since she had been meeting Genji at night in secrecy.

Chapter 6 Suetsumuhana 末摘花 / Safflower. In which Suetsumuhana is introduced. The princess of Hitachi is unresponsive and outrageously shy toward Genji’s flurry of letters.

Chapter 7 Momiji no Ga 紅葉賀 / An Autumn Excursion. In which Genji and Fujitsubo’s son is born, and Genji has an affair with Naishi. Fuijisubo was tormented by feelings of guilt and apprehension, to the point that she felt she had fallen under a maiignant spell. The baby she bore for Genji, whom the Emperor had mistaken as his, became a source of boundless guilt. As the Emperor made plan for his abdication, Genji sadly reflected that Fujisudo was now in an unassailable position that she was beyond his reach. Genji’s bearing a son with the Emperor’s concubine is as creepy as his sexual issue with an older lady, Naishi.

Chapter 8 Hana no En 花宴 / The Festival of the Cherry Blossoms. In which Genji sleeps with Oborozukiyo, the lady of the misty moon. She was the sister of Kokiden, the mother of the Crown Prince, who would become the new emperor. With the new reign Genji’s career languished, and while he must be more discreet about his romantic escapades as he rose in rank, he became more promiscuous to me. The Queen’s sister? What about the love he swore for Fuijisubo?

Chapter 9 Aoi / Heartvine. In which Genji’s wife Aoi is killed by the Lady Rokujô’s ghost and Genji has sex with Murasaki. Lady Rokujô was present at the Kamo Festival, slighted by the entourage of Genji’s wife. Was it literally Lady Rokujô’s ghost it was, or she could practice black magic? Whatever the cause must be, the spirit that impregnated Aoi eluded the power of the most skilled exorcist. Did the Rokujô minister the spirit? The ancient Japanese did believe that the soul of one so lost in sad thoughts could trouble another body.

His promiscuity is beyond control. Very creepy indeed. While he despises all the polygamous affairs that were rife in court life, he himself was also engaged in such libertine escapades. He’s total hypocrite to me.

11 Responses

  1. Genji is certainly getting around! I wonder how normal this was in their society? It seems creepy to us, but it is hard to judge how shocking it would be to people living that long ago.

  2. I’m so glad you’re reading this and summarizing it so I don’t have to! :–) I will be interested at the end to see if you think it is the “great literature” it is reputed to be.

  3. I’m not ready to judge him yet, though you may be completely right in the end. He is only 19 at this point and he is without position so he’s free to do whatever he wants without worry. He seems to have an outlaw status, yes? He’s the only one who can do what he wants to. Everyone else has to follow the rules and worry about appearences. Maybe they are the hypocrites. I don’t know. There is still much to work out with The Tale of Genji.

  4. Jackie (Farm Lane Books):
    I believe many of the men did what Genji did, except everyone tried to be as subdued as possible. He has gone overboard, as you’ll be in the next set of reading, and that will cost his position in the court.

  5. rhapsodyinbooks:
    So far it reads like soap opera, trying to keep track of who is sleeping with who. LOL But no doubt the poetry is what makes this book literature.

  6. CB James:
    I think he has the liberty to do what he has done–all the adventures and escapades with women, because his father, the old emperor, did not make him the crown prince. His handsome appearance though makes him very conspicuous wherever he goes. That could be a bane.

  7. I hope you have been keeping a score card. He is one busy fellow.

  8. jennygirl:
    I’m keeping a relationship/escapade/liaison chart for him. Oh yes.

  9. I have yet to get up a post about Genji yet. I have made it a goal to have within the week. So far I am liking the book a lot. I think Chapter 2 was my least favorite. I found it a little confusing.

  10. Rebecca:
    The characters and their relationship will “de-fog” themselves as you read on. I agree that Ch. 2 is very confusing that I went back and re-read the whole thing over. Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

  11. Hey, cool to see you’re reading Genji! I’ve read (most of) it a few years back and it’s really great to recognize its influence in more recent Japanese fiction!

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