Despite all this, Genji is not perfect. Impulsive to a fault, he follows his heart, more often than not, though it may lead to disastrous results. Particularly in the case of several wives or consorts to other men that invariably catch his attention. One such infamous encounter results in Genji’s banishment from court, though only temporarily it is a sorrowful time in his life.
Still, for many other women, Genji fills the order as Sei Shonagon would say of “Things that make your heart beat fast—“ one being a “fine gentleman (who) pulls up in his carriage and sends in some request” (30). One thing for certain, Genji savors each and every one of his conquests with a singular devotion.
The next to succumb to Genji’s charms is his step-mother, Kokiden, mother of the present heir apparent, Genji‘s older half-brother. “Admitting the boy to her inner chamber, (Kokiden) was pleased (even)…reluctant to let him go. She had two daughters, but neither could compare with (Genji) in beauty” (13). All this, even though in the recent past Kokiden proves a deadly rival against Genji’s birth mother.
At age 12, Genji is married to the Minister of the Left’s daughter. His boyish charm is enough to win over his father-in-law, though Genji’s wife, Aoi–five years his senior, is less than enthusiastic about the relationship.
As a young man of seventeen, Genji bewitches an even younger boy, Kojimi, age 12 and the boy’s reluctant older sister, Utsusemi, the wife of a government official:
“The two voices, very sleepy, resembled each other. (Utsusemi said,) “‘And where is our guest? (Kojimi’s) voice was low. ‘I saw him. He is every bit as handsome as everyone says’” (41).
Genji searches to find Utsumei alone. “His manner was so gently persuasive that devils and demons could not have gainsaid him” (32). “(Utsumei) was bathed in perspiration and quite beside herself at the thought of what… the others… would be thinking… Yet the sweet words poured forth, (from Genji’s lips) the whole gamut of pretty devices for making a woman surrender” (43).
As Utsusemi flees Genji’s further advances, she leaves behind her daughter-in-law, Nokiba-no-ogi. Though a bit startled by the unexpected visitor, Nokiba is quite happy to give her time and attention to the charming young man. “The girl beside him had a certain young charm of her own and presently he was deep in vows of love” (54).
On another occasion, Genji finds himself whisked into a passionate search to find a mysterious lady that has given him a “heavily scented white fan” to place a plucked white flower in, “known as ‘evening faces’” (58). Later Evening Faces, as the lady is referred to, is found to be the mother of another young woman who Genji will love, Tamakazura.
Even people who have nothing in common with Genji are drawn to him. On occasion someone may receive a “little poem from him or (having) been treated to some little kindness found him much on their minds. No doubt it distressed them not to be always with him” (63).
Copyright 2008 by Ledia Runnels
If you are just now reading this article, Part One begins here: http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/06/11/a-saga-of-seduction-in-japan-tale-of-genji-the-first-novel-ever-written-part-one/
- A Saga of Seduction in Japan: Tale of Genji (The first novel ever written) Part One (creativemusingsoflediar.com)
- Tale of Genji: Week 16, Chapter 16 (chazzw.wordpress.com)
- Tale of Genji, Week 12, Chapter 12 (chazzw.wordpress.com)
- Geisha Heiko, Genji’s Lover (fayewong6.wordpress.com)
- Our Summer of Genji (summergenji.wordpress.com)
- Tale of Genji: Week 13, Chapter 13 (chazzw.wordpress.com)
- Tale of Genji: Week 14, Chapter 14 (chazzw.wordpress.com)
- Tale of Genji, Chapter 11 (chazzw.wordpress.com)
- Genji in Midair (summergenji.wordpress.com)
- Wisteria Blossoms (summergenji.wordpress.com)