A summary of the each chapter of The Tale of Genji (源氏物語各帖のあらすじ)
A brief summary of each chapter of The Tale of Genji. For further details, see the contents of each individual chapter.
Kiritsubo (The Paulownia Court)
(Genji, age 1 to 12)
Emperor (Emperor Kiritsubo) falls in love with Kiritsubo no Koi, a lower class court lady, and she bears him an Imperial prince, but she soon dies of a disease. In order to console the deeply grieving Emperor, Fujitsubo, who looks exactly like the late Koi, is sent to the Imperial court and wins the Emperor's favor. The child of the late Koi is brought up under the protection of the Emperor, and comes to love Fujitsubo, who is said to look like his lost mother. He celebrates his coming of age, being given the name of Genji and getting married to Lady Aoi, a daughter of the House of the Sadijin (Minister of the Left), and people come to call him Hikaru Genji because of his shining beauty. See Kiritsubo.
(Genji, age 13 to 17)
He has an affair with both Fujitsubo, his father's wife, and Rokujo no Miyasudokoro (The Rokujo Haven, widow of a former Heir Apparent). He also has a relationship with Asagao no Saiin (Priestess of Morning Glory). Some people claim that once there was a chapter called 'Kagayaku Hinomiya' (The Shining Princess) which deals with this period of time.
Hahakigi (The Broom Tree)
(Genji, age 17, summer)
One night, when an early summer rain is falling, young court nobles gather around Genji, who is on night duty, and have a chat about ladies, in an episode known as 'rating woman on a rainy night.'
On the following day, Genji has a relationship with Utsusemi (lady of the cicada shell), a wife of Iyo no Suke (Iyo Deputy), at her residence which he has visited for ritual abstention. Genji wins over her younger brother to his side, and tries to meet her again and again in vain, but Utsusemi keeps strongly refusing him. See The Broom Tree.
Utsusemi (The Cicada Shell)
(Genji, age 17, summer)
In the summer evening, Genji catches a glimpse of Utsusemi and her daughter-in-law, Nokiba no Ogi, having a game of Go, and he grows affectionate toward her. When night falls, Genji sneaks into her bedroom, but Utsusemi senses he is coming and runs away leaving her clothes behind. Genji gets home holding her clothes which look like the empty shell of a cicada. See Utsusemi.
Yugao (Evening face)
(Genji, age 17, from summer to winter)
Disclosing his identity, Genji has a sexual relationship with Yugao, who lives around Gojo. Yugao is the missing lover of To no Chujo, Genji's best friend. Genji loves the pretty and obedient Yugao deeply, but Rokujo no Miyasudokoro is so jealous of Yugao that her spirit possesses Yugao and causes her death. Genji deeply laments the death of the lady. See Yugao.
Wakamurasaki (Young Murasaki)
(Genji, age 18, from March to winter)
The following spring, Genji visits the Northern Hills to perform incantations, finding a beautiful little girl there who lives with her grandmother and others. Genji is infatuated with the girl, a niece of Fujitsubo, and asks the nun to take responsibility for her, but the nun refuses his offer. In the summer, Fujitsubo takes a short leave from service due to her illness. Genji has a second secret meeting with Fujitsubo and right after that her pregnancy is revealed. In winter, Genji takes the little girl from the Northern Hills to his residence in an act which is tantamount to kidnapping. It is this girl, Wakamurasaki, who will be known as Lady Murasaki later. See Wakamurasaki.
Suetsumuhana (The Safflower)
(Genji, age 18 in spring to 19, New Years day)
Genji and To no Chujo are possessed by a rumor that a daughter of Prince Hitachi is living in sad circumstances, and compete with each other in their advances to her. Genji succeeds in having a relationship with her sooner than To no Chujo, and is surprised to find her an ugly lady with a long red nose. Because the tip of her nose was red as though it had been stained with a safflower, she is called Suetsumuhana (the lady of the safflower). See Suetsumuhana.
Momiji no Ga (The Autumn Excursion)
(Genji, age 18 in October to 19 in July)
When Emperor holds the Momiji no Ga (the autumn excursion) to celebrate the Retired Emperor's birthday, Genji performs a dance. His dancing is also seen in the Imperial court, and its high courtiers, as well as Fujitsubo, are filled with admiration for Genji. In the following spring Fujitsubo gives birth to a baby boy. The emperor believes that it is his own son, and thinks about making him the heir apparent. See Momiji no Ga.
Hana no En (The Festival of the Cherry Blossoms)
(Genji, age 20, spring)
In the following spring, after the festival of the cherry blossoms is held at the Imperial court, Genji has an affair with a princess. At the end of the spring, Genji, invited to a feast held at the residence of the Udaijin (Minister of the Right), knows that she is a daughter of his political enemy the Udaijin, and moreover, she is the woman called Oborozukiyo (the misty moon), who is going to be married to Genji's older brother. See Hana no En.
(Genji, age 22 in April to 23, New Year's day)
Two years later. Emperor Kiritsubo has already abdicated the throne and Genji's older brother (Emperor Suzaku) has ascended to it. At the Aoi festival, Rokujo no Miyasudokoro is humiliated by lady Aoi over a quarrel about where their carriages are to be kept, and feels great bitterness toward her. Aoi, who is pregnant and in childbed, gives birth to a baby boy (Yugiri), but is tortured by the spirit of Rokujo no Miyasudokoro and dies. At the end of the summer, Genji and lady Murasaki consummate their marriage. See Aoi.
Sakaki (The Green Branch)
(Genji, age 23 in September to 25 in summer)
Rokujo no Miyasudokoro is afraid of her own vicious spirit, so when her daughter becomes a high priestess, she decides to go down to Ise Province with her daughter, to confine and purify herself in the temporary shrine at Sagano. In the late autumn, Genji visits her and is reluctant to leave. In winter, Emperor Kiritsubo dies. Fujitsubo agonizes over her relationship with Genji and becomes a priestess. The relationship between Genji and Oborozukiyo continues even after her marriage. The next summer, Genji's secret meeting with Oborozukiyo is discovered by the Udaijin. Because of this, Genji, who has become involved in the political conflict between the Udaijin and Sadaijin (Minister of the Left) after the death of Emperor Kiritsubo, is put in a difficult situation. See Sakaki.
Hanachirusato (Falling Flowers)
(Genji, age 25, May)
During a break in the early summer rain, Genji visits lady Reikeiden, one of the court ladies of the late Emperor Kiritsubo. At her residence in which she lives a quiet, charming life like something out of an old tale, Genji remembers the days of the reign of his father the emperor. The encounter with Hanachirusato, who is a younger sister of the lady and to be one of Genji's wives, is not mentioned in the work, but the author wrote of their reunion after many years. See Hanachirusato.
(Genji, age 26 in March to 27 in March)
Hikaru Genji senses that he is being punished, so takes the initiative, secluding himself from society to Suma. It is pitiful to see Genji, worried about lady Murasaki, say good-bye to all the women with whom he has had relations and leave Kyo. In the following spring on March 3, a storm strikes the beach where Genji is performing his ablutions. Around the same time, Priest Akashi, who lives in a neighboring province, knows that Genji is staying temporarily in Suma, so he plans to make his daughter marry Genji. See Suma.
(Genji, age 27 in March to 28 in August)
Genji has a revelation in a dream in which Emperor Kiritsubo encourages him to leave Suma, so he follows the revelation and Priest Akashi takes him in his residence. Genji has a relationship with lady Akashi, a daughter of Priest Akashi, and before long the first signs of her pregnancy become apparent. Meanwhile at the capital, Emperor Suzaku has a dream in which Emperor Kiritsubo appears and tells him that Genji is innocent, blaming Suzaku. The Emperor regrets expelling Genji and issues an order to bring him back to the capital. Genji heads for Kyo hastily, being still attached to lady Akashi. See Akashi.
Miotsukushi (Channel Buoys)
(Genji, age 28 in October to 29 in winter)
After Genji has returned to the capital, he embarks smoothly on a career in politics again, and embarks on the high road to success. The following year, Emperor Suzaku abdicates the throne. And then Emperor Reizei, the child of Genji and Fujitsubo, succeeds to the throne. In autumn, Genji pays a visit to the Sumiyoshi Taisha shrine, which has guarded him in exile at Suma Akashi. Lady Akashi also visits the shrine at the same time by chance, but they couldn't meet again. Also, Rokujo no Miyasudokoro and her daughter priestess return to the capital because when the new Emperor succeeds to the throne, the priestess also has to be changed. Before long Miyasudokoro dies of disease. According to her will, Genji adopts her daughter, making her a court lady of Emperor Reizei. See Miotsukushi.
Yomogiu (A Waste of Weeds)
(Genji, age 28 in autumn to 29 in April)
While Genji has fallen on hard times and withdrawn from society, Suetsumuhana, who doesn't have anybody else to depend on, has been devotedly waiting for him while enduring a life of poverty. Genji, who visits her after a long interval, is moved by the purity of her heart.
Sekiya (The Gatehouse)
(Genji, age 29, September)
Utsusemi, who has accompanied her husband to Hitachi Province, returns to the capital. Genji, who is on his way to the Ishiyama-dera Temple, comes across the procession and exchanges poems with her. See Sekiya.
(Genji, age 30)
There is no description about this year in the tale.
Eawase (A Picture Contest)
(Genji, age 31, spring)
Competing for Emperor's favor, the high priestess of Ise (Lady Plum Pavilion, later called Empress Akikonomu) and a daughter of Gon no Chunagon (Kokiden no Nyogo) are respectively supported by Genji and To no Chujo (now Gon no Chunagon), who was once his best friend. When a picture contest is held, both Genji and Gon no Chunagon keep their respective princesses focussed on collecting picture scrolls in order to make their own one win. On the day of the picture contest, the picture scroll made by Genji when he was in exile in Suma is applauded by Fujitsubo and Emperor Reizei, so the high priestess wins the contest. See Eawase.
Matsukaze (Wind in the Pines)
(Genji, age 31 in autumn)
Genji encourages lady Akashi to come up to the capital, but she is concerned about her social standing. Priest Akashi also persuades her to go up to the capital, and at last she secretly moves to the second residence of Genji located near the Katsura-gawa River (The Yodo-gawa River system), where Genji welcomes her and meets his own daughter. When Lady Murasaki hears about her from Genji, she feels jealous of lady Akashi because she doesn't have a child, but she is pleased to know the Genji's plan to adopt the baby girl for her in the future. See Matsukaze.
Usugumo (Wisps of Cloud)
(Genji, age 31 in winter to 32 in autumn)
As lady Akashi's daughter is taken in by Genji, Lady Akashi experiences a sad separation from her daughter at the second house in Oi. The following spring, Fujitsubo passes away, and Genji feels the extremely sorrowful. On the other hand, Emperor Reizei accidentally finds out that his real father is Genji and tries to have his father succeed to the throne, but Genji admonishes him for it, keeping the secret.
Asagao (The Morning Glory)
(Genji, age 32, from autumn to winter)
Genji's cousin Asagao, about whom he had felt deeply once, resigns. Because Asagao is well known for her beauty and attractiveness, lady Murasaki can't help feeling uneasy, while Asagao keeps turning down Genji's marriage proposals. Genji tells lady Murasaki about the women he had relations with, and on that night he has a dream in which Fujitsubo appears, blaming him over her sin being revealed. See Asagao.
Otome (The Maidens)
(Genji, age 33 in April to 35 in October)
Yugiri, Genji's son by Aoi, celebrates his coming of age. For various reasons, Genji makes his son study at the Academy, but Yugiri is ashamed of this because it is not what the children of distinguished families do. Yugiri has a girl friend from his childhood called Kumoi no Kari, a daughter of the former To no Chujo (the Palace Minister), but her father becomes Genji's political enemy and forces the two of them apart, which makes Yugiri even more depressed. Two years later, Genji's residence, known as Rokujo estate, is completed. The residence is separated into four wings each of which is named after four seasons: in the spring wing, there lives lady Murasaki, the summer wing, Hanachirusato and other women, the autumn wing is for the Ise Consort's short leaves from service (because of this she is called Akikonomu, which literally means preferring autumn), and in the winter wing, lady Akashi. At the end of this chapter, lady Murasaki and Empress Akikonomu exchange poems of spring and autumn. See Otome.
Section 1 (3) Ten quires of Tamakazura (The Jeweled Chaplet)
Yugao and Tamakazura, a daughter of To no Chujo comes to be taken in by Genji and live in the Rokujo estate through an act of fate. Hikaru Genji, Hotaru Hyobukyo no Miya (Genji's younger brother), and Kashiwagi (Genji's older brother by a different mother) propose to her, but the most inelegant man Higekuro (The Commander of the Right) forces her to get married with him in the end. The ten quires of Tamakazura consist of short chapters which deal with the story around her, beginning with Hatsune (The First Warbler) and ending with Miyuki (The Imperial Process), in which a year in the Rokujo estate is elegantly depicted, focusing on elegance rather than the plot itself.
Tamakazura (The Jeweled Chaplet)
(Genji, age 35, from March to December)
Tamakazura is taken to Dazaifu by her wet nurse and grows up to be a beautiful lady. The wet nurse wants Tamakazura's father to meet her, so they pay a visit to the Hatsuse shrine where they meet Ukon, who was a former court lady of Yugao and serves Genji now, and Genji comes to adopt Tamakazura. See Tamakazura.
Hatsune (The First Warbler)
(Genji, age 36, New Year's day)
The New Year has come and elegant new year celebrations at the Rokujo estate are depicted. Young courtiers who pay a New Year's visit to Genji's residence feel distracted because of Tamakazura. See Hatsune.
(Genji, age 36, from March to April)
In March, when Empress Akikonomu takes a short leave, the people in the Rokujo estate enjoy boating, and after that various events are held. Tamakazura is so attractive that even Genji confesses his love for her jokingly. See Kocho (Butterflies).
Hotaru (The Fireflies)
(Genji, age 36, May)
Being depressed, Tamakazura doesn't enjoy herself at all, but Genji amuses himself by making fun of the young courtiers who love her. When his younger brother Hyobukyo no Miya visits her, Genji lets fireflies out inside of the bamboo blind, showing her beauty to him. Around the time when the early summer rain keeps falling, illustrated stories become popular at the Rokujo estate, so Genji and Tamakazura debate about their tales. See Hotaru.
Tokonatsu (The Pink)
(Genji, age 36, June)
One summer day, Genji invites Yugiri and other young courtiers and ridicules the bad taste and inelegance of Omi no Kimi, a daughter newly discovered by the Palace Minister, and after that he visits Tamakazura's place where pinks (tokonatsu) are blooming in riotous profusion. See Tokonatsu.
Kagaribi (The Cressets)
(Genji, age 36, July)
One early autumn night, Genji teaches Tamakazura how to play koto (Japanese traditional zither), and lies down beside her, making a fire in an iron basket in the garden. However they don't enter into a sexual relationship. See Kagaribi.
Nowaki (The Typhoon)
(Genji, age 36, August)
On the next morning after nowaki (typhoon), Yugiri visits Genji's wife and mistresses at the Rokujo estate where he sees lady Murasaki by chance and becomes attracted to her. He also sees his father flirting with Tamakazura and grows suspicious. See Nowaki.
Miyuki (The Imperial Progress)
(Genji, age 36 in December to 37 in February)
In the winter when the Emperor makes a royal visit to Oharano, Tamakazura catches a glimpse of Emperor Reizei, who sets his heart on her, and she has tender feelings for him too. Genji confesses the truth to To no Chujo, and they makes plans for her initiation ceremony of tying the ceremonial apron for her bridal entry into court. New year has come and Tamakazura holds the initiation ceremony in spring, finally meeting his real father, the Palace Minister. See Miyuki.
Fujibakama (Thoroughwort Flowers)
(Genji, age 37, autumn)
In autumn, Palace Minister's mother Omiya passes away, and her grandchildren Yugiri and Tamakazura go into mourning. As Tamakazura's bridal entry into court becomes more of a real possibility, suitors feels uneasy, especially Yugiri who confesses his love for Tamakazura, putting a spray of thoroughwort flower into a bamboo blind. See Fujibakama.
Makibashira (The Cypress Pillar)
(Genji, age 37 in winter to 38 in November)
At the end of autumn, Higekuro, who has loved Tamakazura for a long time, forces her to have a relationship with him with the help of a court lady. Needless to say, Genji and the Emperor were dejected. Higekuro, who is deeply in love with Tamakazura, pays no attention to his wife and children, so his father-in-law Shikibukyo no Miya (the Highness of Ceremonial) gets angry and decides to take care of his daughter and grandchildren himself. The princess feels sorrow for being separated from her father, so she composes a poem and puts it into a crack in a pillar. The following autumn, Tamakazura bears Higekuro a child.
Umegae (The Plum Tree Branch)
(Genji, age 39, in spring)
The day of young lady Akashi's bridal entry into court is drawing closer, and Hikaru Genji prepares for it with every luxury imaginable. Various families are asked to blend fine incense as a part of the preparations, so one spring day when plum blossoms come out, a 'blending incense' competition is held. The following spring, young lady Akashi's splendid initiation ceremony is held. See Umegae.
Fuji no Uraba (Wisteria Leaves)
(Genji, age 39, from March to October)
To no Chujo approves Yugiri's marriage to Kumoi no Kari, and young lady Akashi enters the Imperial court to marry the Crown Prince (a son of Emperor Suzaku). Moreover, Emperor Reizei knows that Genji's fortieth birthday will come next year, and issues an order to grant him a rank equivalent to Retired Emperor. In winter, Emperor Reizei visits the Rokujo estate, and Genji is at the height of his prosperity. When he was a boy, a Goryeo physiognomist prophesied that he would become neither Emperor nor subject, which comes true. See Fuji no Uraba.
Wakana (Spring Shoots), volume 1
(Genji, age 39 in winter to 41 in March)
In celebration of Hikaru Genji's fortieth birthday, Tamakazura sends him spring shoots on New Year's day. Meanwhile, Emperor Suzaku is to retire into priesthood, but he is worried about his youngest daughter Onna San no Miya, and so asks Genji to marry her. Lady Murasaki is deeply concerned with this, and while Genji himself can't feel affection for the third princess because she is a mere child, he also can't turn down his older brother and the Emperor's offer. In Autumn, Genji's fortieth birthday ceremony is carried out with great splendor. The following spring, young lady Akashi bears the Crown Prince a child, increasing Genji's influence, while Kashiwagi (a son of To no Chujo) catches a glimpse of Onna San no Miya when kemari (Japanese ancient Imperial court game like kick-ball) is played, and falls in love with her secretly. See Wakana.
(Genji, age 41 to 47)
Between the first and second volume of Wakana, there is a blank of seven years. During this time, Emperor Reizei abdicates the throne, and Emperor Kinjo (a son of Emperor Suzaku) succeeds to his father. Lady Akashi's son becomes the Crown Prince.
(Wakana was divided into two volumes for posterity, but it was originally one volume.)
Wakana, volume 2
(Genji, age 41 in March to 47 in December)
At the Emperor Suzaku's fiftieth jubilee, a music concert performed by women is to be held, and Genji teaches Onna San no Miya the koto. Right after the music concert, lady Murasaki is sick in bed, and Genji busies himself in taking care of her. During this time, Kashiwagi realizes his desire, getting Onna San no Miya pregnant. Genji, discovering this through a letter Kashiwagi has sent to Onna San no Miya, agonizes over it. However, Kashiwagi gets ill because of Genji's indirect admonition, and falls into a critical condition. See Wakana.
Kashiwagi (The Oak Tree)
(Genji, age 48, from New Year's day to autumn)
Early in the new year, Onna San no Miya gives birth to a baby boy (Kaoru), while Kashiwagi, who was in a critical condition, passes away. Onna San no Miya is also racked by guilt, and doing badly after the birth, becomes a priestess. Genji decides to keep private the details concerning the circumstances of Kaoru's birth. However, Kashiwagi has asked Yugiri, his best fiend, to look after his family after he dies, and while Yugiri visits Kashiwagi's wife Ni no Miya (the Second Princess, Ochiba no Miya), he comes to be attracted to her. See Kashiwagi.
Yokobue (The Flute)
(Genji, age 49, spring to autumn)
Autumn marks the first anniversary of Kashiwagi's death. Ochiba no Miya's mother sends Yugiri a yokobue (a flute) treasured by the late Kashiwagi in reward for his support of her daughter Ochiba no Miya, but that night Kashiwagi appears in Yugiri's dream, saying that it was a different person (suggesting Kaoru) to whom he wanted to send the yokobue. Yugiri consults with Genji about this, but Genji avoids telling him what to do. See Yokobue.
Suzumushi (The Bell Cricket)
(Genji, age 50, from summer to autumn)
In summer a ceremony to consecrate Priestess Onna San no Miya's newly made Buddhist image is held. In autumn, Genji has bell crickets released on the garden of the estate, and holds a feast. At night, Empress Akikonomu confesses to Genji that she wants to become a priestess to console the spirit of her mother Rokujo no Miyasudokoro, whose spirit is still in agony even after death, while Genji persuades her not to do so. See Suzumushi.
Yugiri (Evening Mist)
(Genji, age 50, from autumn to winter)
In autumn, Yugiri, who can't help hiding his love for Ochiba no Miya any more, confesses his feeling to her, but she doesn't accept him. However, there is a rumor about these two people, and Ochiba no Miya's mother is so worried about this she sucumbs to illness and passes away. Ochiba no Miya grows increasingly weary of Yugiri, but he forces her to have a relationship with him. Kumoi no Kari is so jealous that she goes back to her father the resigned Grand Minister's home, and won't listen to Yugiri's excuses. At the end of the chapter, Yugiri's future and his family's prosperity is told. See Yugiri.
Minori (The Rites)
(Genji, age 51, from spring to autumn)
After lady Murasaki has fallen seriously ill in the chapter of Wakana, she often asks Genji to let her become a priestess, but he won't approve it, so all she can do is to pray for her happiness in the next world by performing a Buddhist service. The last glorious days at the Rokujo estate from spring to autumn and lady Murasaki's state of disease are depicted. In autumn, lady Murasaki passes away because of disease, and Genji grieves deeply over her. See Minori.
Maboroshi (The Wizard)
(Genji, age 52, from New Year's day to the New Year's Eve)
After the death of lady Murasaki, a whole year of Genji's life is lyrically depicted focusing on scenes and manners of the four seasons. At the end of the year, Genji decides firmly to retire into priesthood, burning letters from former lovers. See Maboroshi.
Kumogakure (Vanish behind the Clouds)
This chapter is blank. It has been said from long ago that this chapter evokes Genji's death. Besides, in the chapter of Yadorigi (The Ivy), the author wrote that several years after Genji had become a priest, he lived in seclusion at Saga (Kyoto City) and passed away. See Kumogakure.
Niou Miya (His Perfumed Highness)
(Kaoru, age 14 to 20, New Year's day)
The tale begins with a scene several years after Hikaru Genji's death. The prosperity among the Genji family thrives, centering around the children of young lady Akashi and Emperor Kinjo. Empress Akashi's son San no Miya is particularly well known for his amorousness, and popular with people along with Kaoru.
He is called 'Kaoru' because he gives off natural sweet scent from his body, while Nioumiya suffuses his clothes with the fragrance of fine incense which will be called 'Niou Miya.'
See Niou Miya
Kobai (The Rose Plum)
(Kaoru, age 24, spring)
This is the tale of the To no Chujo family after the death of Kashiwagi. A marriage between Niou Miya and Naka no Kimi, a granddaughter of resigned Grand Minister (To no Chujo), is being arranged, but he is attracted to both lady Makibashira and a daughter of Hotaru Hyobukyo no Miya, and takes no notice of Naka no Kimi. This chapter was probably forged for posterity. See Kobai.
Takekawa (Bamboo River)
(Kaoru, age 14 to 23)
This chapter deals with the tale of the family of Higekuro after he has died. Oigimi, one of the two daughters of Tamakazura, gets married with Emperor Reizei, while Naka no Kimi, the other daughter, is to enter into service at the Imperial court. Yugiri is loved by this family and has a close relationship with them. This chapter was probably forged for posterity. See Takekawa.
Section 3 (2) Uji Jujo (The Ten Quires of Uji)
This is a love story among the three sisters Uji Hachi no Miya (Oigimi, Naka no Kimi, Ukifune), Kaoru, an illegitimate child between Kashiwagi and Onna San no Miya, and Niou Miya, Hikaru Genji's grandchild. These chapters are dominated by a strong influence of Buddhism and sense of uncertainty, and the character of Kaoru is irresolute and can't take the initiative in love, which makes a strong contrast with his rival Niou Miya and Genji in the first and second section. Kaoru's personality had a strong influence on the tales of both the Heian and Kamakura periods later.
Hashihime (The Lady at the Bridge)
(Kaoru, age 20 to 22, October)
Genji's younger brother Hachi no Miya lives in seclusion with his two daughters at Uji, spending his days in Buddhist training. Kaoru, being burdened by the secrets concerning his birth, regards Hachi no Miya's way of living as ideal, and often visits his residence, coming to feel deeply attracted to Oigimi, his eldest daughter. Returning to the capital, Kaoru tells Niou Miya what is going on in Uji, and Niou Miya also gets interested in his story. See Hashihime.
Shigamoto (Beneath the Oak)
(Kaoru, age 23 in February to 24 in summer)
Niou Miya stops at Uji in spring, and exchanges poems with Naka no Kimi. Hachi no Miya passes away in autumn. Two daughters are left in Kaoru's hands. Kaoru tries to arrange a marriage between Naka no Kimi and Niou Miya, while he himself confesses his love for Oigimi, but is refused. However, Kaoru loves her more than ever. See Shigamoto.
Agemaki (Trefoil Knots)
(Kaoru, age 24, from August to the year's end)
Kaoru tells his love for Oigimi again in vain, while Oigimi hopes that Naka no Kimi and Kaoru will get married. At the end of autumn, Oigimi leaves Naka no Kimi and Kaoru alone in a bedroom, but Kaoru won't touch her. According to plan, he arranges a marriage between Niou Miya and Naka no Kimi, but Niou Miya doesn't often visit his wife, and a bitter Oigimi falls sick in bed, soon passing away in Kaoru's arms. See Agemaki.
Sawarabi (Bracken Shoots)
(Kaoru, age 25, spring)
The following year, the period of mourning for Oigimi ended, and Naka no Kimi is taken in by Niou Miya. Although Kaoru serves her as a guardian, he ends up being distrusted by Niou Miya. See Sawarabi.
Yadorigi (The Ivy)
(Kaoru, age 24 in spring to 26 in April)
Niou Miya gets married to Roku no Kimi (Yugiri's sixth daughter), and Naka no Kimi, who is pregnant, cannot help feeling anxious about the future. While Kaoru consoles Naka no Kimi, he comes to feel affection toward her, which makes her confused, but after she safely gives birth to a baby boy, her position becomes more stable. Although Kaoru gets married with Onna Ni no Miya (Emperor Kinjo's princess), his sorrow can't be soothed. However when he visits the Hase-dera Temple, he catches a glimpse of Ukifune, Oigimi's half younger sister by different mother, and is moved by her. See Yadorigi.
Azumaya (The Eastern Cottage)
(Kaoru, age 26, autumn)
Because of her mother's second marriage, Ukifune has been brought up as a stepdaughter of the country Governor, and many men want to marry her because of her father's property. However, her mother hopes to make her marry a noble man, leaving her with Naka no Kimi. The mother wants to arrange a marriage between Kaoru and her daughter, but one night Niou Miya forces her into a relationship with him, so she takes in Ukifune hastily, consulting with Kaoru later and having her move to Uji. See Azumaya.
Ukifune (A Drifting Boat)
(Kaoru, age 27, spring)
Niou Miya, who still cannot give up his attachment to Ukifune, discovers her residence through a letter from Naka no Kimi, and visits Uji pretending that Kaoru had an affair with Ukifune forcibly. Before long Ukifune also comes to love Miya, while Kaoru, who knows nothing about them, begins preparations for having her move to Kyo, so Niou Miya enters into a rivalry with him, planning to take her to his residence. As a consequence, Kaoru, who knows about the relationship between Niou Miya and Ukifune, is sent a poem that blames her, and she agonizes over these two men. See Ukifune.
Kagero (The Mayfly)
(Kaoru, age 27, from spring to autumn)
Ukifune is lost, and remaining court ladies sense that she must have drowned herself, so they hold a funeral to hide the truth, lamenting over her death. Kaoru also knows this and grieves over her death deeply. When summer comes, Kaoru feels affection toward Onna Ichi no Miya, an older sister of his wife. See Kagero.
Tenarai (Writing Practice)
(Kaoru, age 27 in March to 28 in summer)
Actually Ukifune is not dead, and is helped by Yokawa no Sozu (the Prelate of Yokawa). Before long she recovers and, without revealing her name, tells the sozu that she would like to become a priestess. Because young lady Akashi's priest for incantation tells her about Ukifune, Kaoru also comes to know about her. See Tenarai.
Yume no Ukihashi (The Floating Bridge of Dreams)
(Kaoru, age 28, summer)
Kaoru goes to Yokawa and asks sozu to meet Ukifune to no avail, so he hands Ukifune's younger brother Kogimi a letter asking her to return to the secular life. However Ukifune refuses everything and thinks about nothing but Buddhist training, and doesn't even reply to him. Kaoru leaves Yokawa still loving Ukifune. See Yume no Ukihashi.