The Tale of Genji: Chapters 10 – 13

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Matthew is hosting a read along for The Tale of Genji. This week I have read chapters 10 – 13. I am finally getting used to reading The Tale of Genji. I have established a pattern for reading, which first involves reading a summary of each chapter, so I have a rough idea of what is going on. I then read the chapter, going back to read the footnotes at the end.

I have also found this summary of The Tale of Genji, where each chapter is represented in the form of a painting. I can almost say that I am enjoying reading the book now!

Genji is still sleeping with every woman in sight, but we are also beginning to get a bigger picture of what life was like for them, and a feeling that not everyone is happy he is sleeping around!

Chapter 10

Genji’s father dies and everyone is stricken with grief.

It goes without saying that everyone was profoundly moved to see Genji, the most brilliant presence among all his father’s Princes, so devotedly perform the memorial rites. His beauty was perfect even in drab mourning.

Kokiden’s son becomes the Suzaku Emperor. Genji is then caught sleeping with Oborozukiyo again and so Kokiden decides to plot his downfall.

She could not have Genji pointedly mocking and belittling her by brazenly invading her house while she herself was at home, so nearby, and this gave her a fine reason to set in train the measures to accomplish his downfall.

Chapter 11

Genji has an affair with Reikeiden and her sister Hanachirusato.

Chapter 12

Genji feels the “mounting unpleasantness” after being caught sleeping with Oborozukiyo and so decides to travel to Suma. On the way he visits his father-in-law and he spends some time with his young son, Yugiri, who makes him cry. While he is away he write love letters to all the women but Murasaki is the one he misses most.

Chapter 13

A storm brews and Genji is miserable in Suma. He dreams of his father, who instructs him to leave Suma. Genji impregnates the Akashi lady. The Emperor summons Genji and he is reunited with Murasaki.


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9 Comments

  1. JoAnn says:

    Hurray – a breakthrough! Glad you found a reading pattern that’s working for you.

  2. Bellezza says:

    I have wanted to read this for quite awhilei. Kodansha sent me an illustrated version as well, but I wanted to try the full novel first. Maybe I’ll have to change my mind as you suggest how helpful the illustrations are (although my copy is different from the one you referenced in this post). Forgive me if I’m repeating myself ad nauseum here, but please consider joining the Japanese Literature Challenge 3 that starts July 30. I’d love to have your opinion, and surely The Tale of Genji would count! (I can’t remember who I’ve mentioned it to already. ;)

  3. Violet says:

    looks like all this guy Genji does is sleep around :)
    I’m glad you’re enjoying the book now. That link is awesome, I’m going to bookmark it.

  4. JoAnn – Yes, it is great to finally be enjoying it.

    Bellezza – Who is Kodansha? The illustrations help me a lot. Being able to picture what they were like is very useful. I think I’ll join the Japanese challenge, as I do love Japanese writing. There is something about the Japanese belief system that really appeals to me, and you never know what is going to happen next – the Japanese are so inventive!

    Violet – I’m pleased you like the link. I’ve found it really useful.

  5. Matt says:

    I’m also dancing to the book’s rhythm as well. It seems that all the characters that are introduced have been accounted for, easing the confusion of who is who. Murasaki is still very young despite her maturing to womanhood. I wonder what will become of her in terms of her position in Genji’s heart, since he takes a liking of her because she looks like Fujisubo.

  6. Eva says:

    Have you read The Tale of Murasaki? It’s historical fiction about the author of Tale of Genji; I really enjoyed it. (The author is American, but she’s spent years steeped in Japanese culture.) I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to reading this, though! I think The Pillow Book might be more my style.

  7. Jackie says:

    Matt
    “I wonder what will become of her in terms of her position in Genji’s heart”
    It is so good that we can actually ask questions like this! It means we finally have some idea about what is happening and what might occur in the rest of the book – I’m looking forward to finding out!

    Eva – I haven’t read The Tale of Murasaki, but I have heard of it before. I didn’t link the two books until I read your comment. Thank you for pointiing that out – I’ll try to find a copy now.

  8. Jackie says:

    I’ve just discovered that I have a copy of The Tale of Murasaki lurking in my TBR pile – no wonder I’ve heard of it! I plan to read it really soon!

  9. Rebecca says:

    I finally got my own post for the read along up today, lol. I just finished chapter 12 the other night. I read your summary on Chapter 13 and I can’t wait to move on! Thanks for the link to the picture summaries. Those are nice! I boomarked it to refer back to. :)

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