Hashihime (The Tale of Genji) (橋姫 (源氏物語))
Hashihime is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the forty-fifth chapter. This is the first 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 (Hikaru GENJI's grandson) composed: 'Wet are my sleeves as the oars that work these shallows. For my heart knows the heart of the lady at the bridge.'
This chapter is also called Ubasoku Buddhist, which came from another name for Hachi no Miya, zoku hijiri (worldly saint).
"Okuiri" (the second edition), a commentary by FUJIWARA no Teika, says that the title is, 'Ubasoku, also called Hashihime,' while the Oshima-bon manuscript, which is considered the best Aobyoshi-bon manuscript, states that the name of this chapter is 'Ubasoku.'
Also, in "Genji monogatari ganmon" written by Seikaku and "Hikaru Genji monogatari honji" written by Ryogo, the title of this chapter is Ubasoku Buddhist, which suggests that it was a quite dominant other name for the chapter during the end of the Heian period.
Kaoru, from age twenty to twenty-two.
Around that time, there was an imperial prince who fell into oblivion. He was Uji Hachi no Miya (the Eighth Prince), the eighth son of Kiritsubo no Mikado (Emperor Kiritsubo), and was Hikaru Genji's younger brother by a different mother. When Emperor Reizei was the Crown Prince, Kokiden no nyogo (Empress Kokiden) plotted to remove him and help Hachi no Miya to the throne; as a result, he was involved in the conspiracy, and was coming down in the world as the times had changed. He had lost his wife, and spent his days bringing up his two daughters (Oigimi, the older sister, and Naka no Kimi, the younger sister), hoping to become a priest in Uji city. Kaoru, who came to know him through Ajari (a master in esoteric Buddhism; a high priest) in Ujiyama, was impressed by Hachi no Miya's solitary spiritual pursuits, and began to visit him, admiring him more and more.
In the third fall since Kaoru started to visit them, he caught a glimpse of the daughters playing so (a long Japanese zither with thirteen strings) and biwa (a Japanese lute) under the remaining moon at dawn, when he visited the residence of Uji where Hachi no Miya was absent. Kaoru was naturally attracted by the daughters who were innocent, but elegant and graceful.
Kaoru tried to see Oigimi with the aid of a nyobo (a court lady), but it was an old nyobo called Ben who appeared in front of him instead. Ben was a menotogo (the daughter of a menoto, a wet nurse to a high born baby) of the late Kashiwagi (a son of Tono Chujo - the first secretary's captain) (The Tale of Genji), and was Hachi no Miya's maid at that time. Ben promised Kaoru to tell him the secret concerning his birth and Kashiwagi's last words.
In early October, Hachi no Miya confided in Kaoru about his daughters and asked him to be their guardian after his death.
That night, Kaoru and Ben talked about old times, then he received a bag of letters from Ben. When he returned to Kyoto, he opened the bag to find a bundle of letters smelling moldy, which had been exchanged between Kashiwagi and Onna Sannomiya (the Third Princess). Kaoru couldn't help feeling embarrassed to see the vivid handwriting of Kashiwagi, who had been dying, but pleased about Onna Sannomiya's childbirth. When Kaoru visited his mother, Onna Sannomiya, he saw her reading sutras, so he lost the will to tell her that he had gotten to know the secret, trying to keep it to himself.