Matthew is hosting a read along for The Tale of Genji. This week we have read chapters 5 – 9.
I am still finding The Tale of Genji very hard to read. It is a real chore, and I have a feeling of dread whenever I know it is time to pick it up again. I admit that I sometimes cannot follow what is going on without referring to the online study guides. Sometimes the meaning hinges on one sentence, or even a single word, and I often don’t pick up on these things until I read about them afterwards.
I am getting a much better feel for who everyone is now, and Matthew’s chart has helped with this immensely. I can’t say I know who everyone is, but I’m getting there!
Here is a brief summary of what happens in chapters 5 – 9.
Genji becomes ill and so goes to find a holy man in the mountains in the hope of being cured. While he is there he spots a beautiful young girl, Murasaki. Even though she is only ten-years-old Genji decides that he must have her as a wife, and so takes her into his care until she becomes old enough to be married.
Genji is still sad after the loss of Yugao, and longs to find someone else who is:
He hears about the shy princess, Suetsumuhana, living in the mountains and so predictably he decides to woo her, and sends her a series of notes.
The Emperor shows off his new son, and is pleased that he looks so much like Genji did as a baby. The Emperor doesn’t realise that the Genji is actually the baby’s father.
Genji sleeps with Oborozukiyo, the younger sister of Kokiden, the wife of the Emperor.
The Emperor abdicates, and his son, Suzaku, (son of Kokiden) becomes the new Emperor. This leads to Genji having a rise in rank by being appointed Commander of the Right, and so having an escort of eight guards at all times.
Genji’s wife Aoi becomes pregnant, and they have a son named Yugiri, but Aoi becomes very ill after the birth and dies a few days later. Genji is devastated, but after a short period of mourning he has sex with the now fifteen year-old Murasaki.
Can you understand what is going on without outside help?
Are you still struggling to follow it, or have you got the hang of it now?