Mume ga e (A Branch of Plum), Tale of Genji: Chapter 32

The day of the initiation ceremony for the Akashi lady’s daughter approaches. Prince Genji (in blue), now thirty-nine years old, devotes himself to every detail. As he and his brother, Prince Hotaru (in white), go over the plans, a messenger arrives with gifts of scent from Princess Asagao. One is decorated with a branch of […]

Kocho (Butterflies), Tale of Genji: Chapter 24

Prince Genji arranges for the construction of Chinese pleasure boats in the garden of Lady Murasaki, and a party is held in honor of a visit by the Empress Akikonomu and her ladies. The following day the festivities continue and Lady Murasaki sends eight of her prettiest attendants to deliver a message to the Empress. […]

Utsugumu (A Rack of Clouds), Tale of Genji: Chapter 19

Prince Genji is determined that his daughter be raised at court with all the advantages his position and wealth can provide. The girl’s mother (the Akashi lady), however, wishes to keep the child with her and so resists. Finally, after consulting fortune-tellers about the future of the child, she relents. “The thought of giving up […]

Yomogyu (The Wormwood Patch), Tale of Genji: Chapter 15

While Prince Genji (in blue) was in exile outside the capital, his former lover Suetsumuhana (the Safflower Lady) lived an impoverished life after the death of her father. After his recall to the capital, Genji passed a dilapidated house one night. “A house so utterly ruinous, a garden so rank, he wondered if human beings […]