Kaoru is a fictional character who appears in Murasaki Shikibu's novel "Genji Monogatari." He is one of leading figures in Part III, so-called 'Uji Jujo' (Ten Quires of Uji). He is also called Kaoru no Kimi, Kaoru Daisho (or, Kaoru no Taisho). Kaoru' was not his real name, but a nickname based on the fact that he had an indefinable sweet scent by nature.
Genji was forty-eight years old when he was born in spring ('Kashiwagi'). Although ubuyashinai (party to celebrate the birth of a baby) was carried out as a grand event, his birth was not particularly welcomed. After childbirth, Onna Sannomiya, his mother, suddenly became a nun and his father, Genji, also could not forget past karma and although he outwardly treated the baby kindly, he could not do so without reservation. He was brought up iat Rokujoin and, after Genji's death, he was brought up by Emperor Reizei (tenth Imperial Prince of the Emperor Kiritsubo, but in reality, Genji's child) and Akikonomu Chugu, who did not have any children and they treated him favorably as if he were their own real child. At the age of fourteen, he celebrated his coming of age and was steadily promoted in February as Chujo (Middle Captain) and in the autumn, Ukon chujo and at the age of nineteen, 'Saisho no Chujo' (Consultant Captain).
As a successor to the prosperity of Hikaru Genji, who was called 'Hikaru Gimi' (literally, shining boy), he was called together with his childhood friend, Nioumiya, 'Niou Hyobukyo (Minister of Hyobusho (Ministry of the Military), Kaoru Chujo.'
Although he had noble roots and he was brought up in a blessed environment, he had doubts since childhood about his birth and spent discontented days. He began to believe Buddhism around this time. One day, he heard a rumor that there was a zokuhijiri (person who is engaged in Buddhist training without becoming a priest) in Uji City and visited the mansion of Uji Hachinomiya (Imperial Prince of the Emperor Kiritsubo, Hikaru Genji's younger brother from a different mother). Uji Jujo' (Ten Stories of Uji) starts from this point.
He was faithful, kind and considerate person. On the other hand, he had indecisiveness and especially passive in relationships with women, but carried things out quickly if his partner was a lower level court lady. He fell in love with Oigimi (first daughter of Hachinomiya) in Uji when he caught a glimpse of her by chance, but she died before his love was accepted. Because of his grief, he once approached Nakanokimi (second daughter of Hachinomiya and younger sister from the same mother of Oigimi; wife of Nioumiya) in Uji and, later, took Ukifune (Genji Monogatari) (younger sister from a different mother of Oigimi and Nakanokimi) who looked exactly like Oigimi and was brought up in the countryside, as katashiro (representation of a sacred object) and kept her in a mansion in Uji. However, Ukifune was of two minds between Kaoru and Nioumiya, who appeared before her when he knew of her existence and she threw herself into the Yodo-gawa River.
('Hashihime' (Genji Monogatari) through to 'Ukifune')
In the meantime, he married Onna Ninomiya of the current emperor (Genji Monogatari) who became his legitimate wife and his prosperity reached its height (he was also promoted to Gon Dainagon (provisional major counselor) and Udaisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards) around this time). However, he did not frequently interact with his wife and after Ukifune's death, he passed his days discontented, thinking about Onna Ichinomiya, daughter of the current emperor (her mother was Akashi Chugu). After he caught a glimpse of the beautiful figure of Onna Ichinomiya, who was playing with ice, he tried to have some fun by making Onna Ninomiya wear the same costume.
('Yadorigi,' 'Kagero' (Mayfly) (Genji Monogatari))
One day after the first anniversary of the funeral for Ukifune, Kaoru came to know through Akashi no Chugu that Ukifune was still alive and sent Kogimi, Ukifune's younger brother from a different father, to the village of Ono.
However, he was rejected by Ukifune, who had become a nun and had no attachment to secular society, saying 'You must have the wrong person,' and the humiliated Kaoru consoled himself by thinking 'There must be some man who is keeping her.'
('Tenarai,' 'Yume no Ukihashi')
The image of the main character full of irresolution greatly influenced later dynastic-style literature by female authors such as "Sagoromo Monogatari" (The Tale of Sagoromo) and "Tsutsumi-Chunagon Monogatari" (Collection of ten short stories after the late Heian period) and created many Kaoru-type main characters.
Regarding the question whether or not Kaoru was really the son of Kashiwagi, it seems to be true that Hikaru Genji and Yugiri (Genji Monogatari) felt that his eyes were similar when they saw Kaoru as a small boy ('Kashiwagi,' 'Yokobue') and it was repeatedly described that, while Genji's lineage including Emperor Reizei were good at painting ('Eawase'), the To no Chujo's lineage including Kashiwagi were good at music, and Kaoru played the koto and flute, which Kashiwagi was also good at this shows him to be close to the lineage of To no Chujo ('Takekawa,' 'Yadorigi'). Other than Kaoru himself, five people, Hikaru Genji, Kashiwagi who was the real father, Onna Sannomiya who was his mother, Kojiju (Onna Sannomiya's waiting maid), and Ben (court lady for Hachinomiya, cousin of Kojiju) knew the secret of Kaoru's birth, and Yugiri also knew the situation to a certain extent.