Tale of the Genji


"In a certain reign there was a lady not of the first rank
whom the emperor loved more than any of the others. The grand ladies with high
ambitions thought her a presumptuous upstart, and lesser ladies were still more
resentful. Everything she did offended someone. Probably aware of what was
happening, she fell seriously ill and came to spend more time at home than at

It may have been because of a bond in a former life that she bore the
emperor a beautiful son, a jewel beyond compare. The emperor was in a fever of
impatience to see the child on the earliest day possible. When he was brought to
the court, the paulownia was full in bloom in the garden.

The emperor’s eldest son was the grandson of the
Minister of the Right. The world assumed that with this powerful support he
would one day be named crown prince; but the new child was far more

Tale of the Genji
UNESCO Global Heritage Pavillon

[Originally posted 5.25.05]

One thought on “Tale of the Genji

  1. The Royall Tyler translation of “Genji” is brilliant– very much worth having. And the Tale itself is always a delight to read on nights when winter is turning to spring.

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