Takekawa (Bamboo River) (竹河)
Takekawa is a chapter title of "Genji Monogatari "(The Tale of Genji) which has fifty four chapters. It is the forty-fourth chapter. It describes a struggle of Tamakazura, Kita no kata (the woman living in the north of the house; wife) of Higekuro Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state), after his death.
It is the story of Kaoru's life between the ages of fourteen and twenty three.
After Higekuro Daijo-daijin passed away, Tamakazura was left with her three sons and two daughters, and tried to restore her ruined family. Kinjo no Mikado and Emperor Reizei asked Tamakazura to let them marry her two daughters, Oigimi (oldest sister) and Naka no Kimi, but Mikado had already been married to young lady Akashi, her sister-in-law, and Emperor Reizei had Kokiden no nyogo (Empress Kokiden), her older sister by a different mother, so she did not know what to do. Kaoru and Kurodo no Shosho (Chamberlain Lieutenant) who was Yugiri (Evening Mist)'s fifth son were also Oigimi's suitors.
In late January when Kaoru was fifteen, young people gathered at Tamakazura's residence to sing "Takekawa" in the Saibara style (a genre of Heian-period Japanese court music (primarily consisting of gagaku-styled folk melodies)). At that time, Tamakazura realized that the sound of wagon (Japanese harp) which Kaoru was playing was similar to that by her deceased father, Tono Chujo (the first secretary's captain), and her deceased older brother, Kashiwagi (The Oak Tree).
At dusk in March, when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, two himegimi opened the bamboo blind and played a game of Go for the cherry blossom tree. Kurodo no Shosho saw this and felt his feelings for Oigimi deepen.
Tamakazura decided to make Oigimi marry Emperor Reizei.
When Shosho knew this, he was so disappointed that he appealed to his mother, Kumoi no Kari,
Kumoi no Kari sent a letter of protest to Tamakazura, so she was unsure what to do. Oigimi entered the imperial palace in April and Emperor Reizei felt great affection towards her. On the other hand, Kinjo no Mikado was in a bad mood because his wish was not accepted, so her sons blamed Tamakazura.
In April of the following year, Oigimi gave birth to an onna miya (Japanese imperial princess). Tamakazura handed over her position of Naishi no tsukasa (female palace attendant) to Naka no Kimi, marrying her to Kinjo no Mikado.
Even after that, Emperor Reizei's affection didn't fade and Oigimi gave birth to an imperial prince a few years later. Emperor Reizei was greatly pleased, but Oigimi came to go back home frequently due to mental exhaustion because those around her were jealous. Meanwhile, Naka no Kimi lived in comfort with Kinjo no Mikado.
A few years later, Kaoru and Kurodo no Shosho were steadily promoted to Chunagon (vice-councilor of state) and Saisho no Chujo (Consultant Captain) respectively. Every time when Tamakazura thought of unhappiness of Oigimi and compared Kaoru and Kurodo no Shosho with her sons whose promotions were slow, she was bitterly disappointed by this frustrating world and could not help feeling regret.
Theory about the additional chapter/ Theory about the authorship
In this chapter, Kaoru was promoted to Chunagon (vice-councilor of state), and Kobai (the rose plum) and Yugiri were also promoted from Dainagon (chief councilor of state) to Udaijin (minister of the right), and from Udaijin to Sadaijin (minister of the left) respectively. Nevertheless, in the following chapters, there are inconsistent descriptions of official titles, for example, some characters are called by their old titles. In addition, of the 54 chapters, this is the only chapter in which the narrator shows its position; for these reasons, some people claimed that the chapter was written in later years or by a different author.
However, some people deny these theories about the additional chapter and the different author, stating that these problems can be explained as a matter of structure.