Eawase (絵合)

Eawase (A Picture Contest) is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the 17th chapter.

The story takes place in the spring when Genji was 31 years old.

Empress Akikonomu was received at the imperial court, the Gyokasha building was given to her, and she became a nyogo (consort) under the guardianship of Hikaru Genji, who was ranked as the naidaijin (Minister of the Palace) at that time. The young Emperor Reizei did not become attached to the high priestess of Ise at first because she was older than him, but a common hobby of painting brought him to favor her. Gon Chunagon (a provisional vice-councilor of state, the former To no Chujo), who had already had his daughter received at court as Empress Kokiden, found out about this. Not willing to be outdone, he became an avid collector of splendid pictures to draw the emperor's attention. At the imperial court, it also became a trend for people to criticize each other's paintings. With a contest that had been held in front of Fujitsubo on inspiration, there was also a picture contest in front of the emperor between Umetsubo (Lady Plum Pavilion, i.e., Empress Akikonomu) and Kokiden, held in spectacular style. Among a lot of fine works of the past and present, people were struck by the sketchbook and journals from Genji's days in Suma that he presented in the final match because the drawings were excellent and the contents moved them, and Umetsubo's side prevailed. While Genji presented the illustrated journals to Fujitsubo some other day, he started to build a temple in Sagano for the day he would renounce the world in the future.

[Original Japanese]