Azumaya (東屋)

Azumaya is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the 50th chapter. This is the sixth chapter of 'Uji jujo' (The Ten Quires of Uji), a part of the tale's third section.

The title of this chapter was derived from the waka poetry which Kaoru composed when he visited Ukifune's refuge. This poem implies that because trailing plants grow so thickly that they obstruct the entrance to Azumaya (small arbor), I have to wait too long outside in the rain ('Azumaya' originally refers to a simple house in Azuma no kuni, but recently it refers to a small arbor built in a garden or a park).
This is a story about 26-year-old Kaoru from August to September. Although Kaoru cared about Ukifune, he hesitated because she was a stepdaughter of zuryo (provincial governor). The mother of Ukifune (Chujo no kimi) was also passive about this morganatic marriage. Ukifune was born to Uji Hachi no miya and Nyobo (a lady of the imperial court, a court lady) called Chujo no kimi. It was not long before Chujo no kimi got remarried to Mutsu no kami (deputy minister of regional administration in Mutsu) (later Hitachi no suke (Assistant Governor of Hitachi Province)), and together with Ukifune they lived in eastern part of Japan for a long time. They had a lot of children, but especially nursed the most beautiful child Ukifune and eagerly wished her a good marriage. Many suitors for Ukifune's hand came to Hitachi no suke because he was rich and of good birth for his rank, zuryo. Soon after reaching the age of 20, Ukifune got engaged to Sakon no shosho (deputy minister of the institution for guarding the Emperor). But Sakon no shosho was a fortune hunter, and as soon as he knew Ukifune was not Hitachi no suke's biological daughter, he turned to her younger sister who was Hitachi no suke's biological daughter and married her.

Feeling sorry for Ukifune, Chujo no kimi was going to place her under the care of Naka no kimi in Nijoin. Nevertheless, Nioumiya incidentally found Ukifune's whereabouts and forcibly made approaches to her.

Although hardly anything ever happened between them, Chujo no kimi was surprised to hear that and hid Ukifune in a small house at Sanjo. In autumn, September, Kaoru found again Ukifune's whereabouts, and through the mediation of Ben no ama, he visited her. The next morning, he took her on a cow carriage and went to Uji together. Despite her anxiety, he saw the late Okimi in her and cherished the memory of Oikimi. But he was worried about his future relationship with Ukifune.

[Original Japanese]