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Invitation to World Literature



audio-iconThe Akashi Lady
The daughter of an official in Akashi with whom Genji has an affair during his exile in Suma; she bears him a daughter who becomes Empress.
Genji's first wife, given to him when she was twelve; she is a daughter of the Minister of the Left, one of the most powerful officials at court.
A woman the Emperor takes as his official consort because of her resemblance to Kiritsubo; she becomes a foster mother, then a lover, to Genji, bearing his son, who becomes the Emperor Reizei.
Genji, or Minamoto, roughly translated means "someone of royal descent treated as a commoner." But the epithet Hikaru Genji, by which he becomes known, means "the shining prince." He is the son of the Emperor and Kiritsubo.
Genji's mother, the Emperor's true love, is of the lower ranks of court, and dies when Genji is only three.
The Emperor's principal wife, Genji's stepmother, who fears Genji's power. Her son is the Crown Prince.
audio-iconKumoi nokari
To no Chujo's daughter, who wants to marry her cousin, Genji's son Yugiri; eventually they do marry.
In the novel, this is Genji's second wife, whom he meets when she is ten; she is Fujitsubo's niece. Murasaki is Genji's true love, the most refined of all the women in his life. She dies tragically young. Historically, the author of The Tale of Genji became known by the same name, Murasaki Shikibu, as a tribute to her writing skill and the beautiful world she created in the novel.
Daughter of the retired Emperor Suzaku, who becomes Genji's third wife when the Emperor asks him to marry her. She has an affair with Kashiwagi, who dies, and then gives birth to his son and becomes a nun.
A younger sister of Kokiden, who has an affair with Genji and bears him a son.
audio-iconThe Reizei Emperor
Genji's secret son with Fujitsubo.
audio-iconThe Rokujo Lady
A mistress of Genji's whom he stops seeing; enraged by jealousy of his other lovers, she sends her spirit out to kill Yugao and Aoi, and attack Murasaki. When she dies, Genji still agrees to raise her daughter.
audio-iconTo no Chujo
Aoi's brother, with whom Genji is very close.
Formerly To no Chujo's lover, she becomes Genji's when To no Chujo abandons her, but she is almost immediately killed by the vengeful spirit of the Rokujo Lady. Genji raises her daughter Tamakazura, whom she had with To no Chujo.
Son and only child of Genji and Aoi.