Maboroshi (The Wizard) (The Tale of Genji) (幻 (源氏物語))

Maboroshi is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the forty-first chapter. Feelings of Hikaru Genji, who is about to become a priest, is depicted through the changes of the four seasons.

The title of this chapter came from the poem, 'I want to ask the wizard traveling through the skies where the spirit is. I cannot see it even in my dreams.'
The poem alludes to the latter half of the Juyi BAI's "The Song of Everlasting Sorrow," and it is also the response to the waka poem which was composed by Genji's father, Emperor Kiritsubo, when he remembered the late Kiritsubo no Koi (lower class court lady) in the first chapter of 'Kiritsubo' (The Paulownia Court).

The episode in which Genji burns the letter written by the late Murasaki no ue (cremated on August 15 (old lunar calendar)) seems to have been inspired by "Taketori Monogatari" (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter), in which Mikado (Emperor) burns an elixir of life sent by Kaguya Hime (Lady Kaguya) who returned to the moon on August 15.

Hikaru Genji, age 52, stories from the New Year to the last day of December.

Murasaki no ue passed away, and the new year has come. Genji's sorrow does not abate even though he sees the light of the new spring, secluding himself from New Year's visitors. He spends his days talking to the court ladies who once served Murasaki no ue, feeling regret and leading a penitential life. Young lady Akashi returns to the Imperial court, leaving Nioumiya whom Murasaki no ue loved for his consolation.

As spring blooms into full glory, his love for Murasaki no ue, who loved spring, grows. Though he visits Onna Sannomiya and Akashi no Onkata, his sorrow for losing Murasaki no ue only deepens.

In April, Hanachirusato sends him a poem and some clothes for seasonal change.

Around the rainy season, he asks Yugiri to arrange for the first anniversary of Murasaki no ue's death. On the anniversary of her death in August, he holds a memorial service for a mandala of the Buddhist paradise for which Murasaki no ue said a prayer during her lifetime.

Genji, who is planning to become a priest after the New Year comes and begins to tidy things up. While he is putting things in order, he finds a bundle of letters which were sent by Murasaki no ue while he was in Suma. The black ink looks clear and beautiful as if the letters had just been written, so he feels great loneliness but tears them up and burns them.

In December, when the annual ceremony of reciting the names of the Buddhas is held at the Rokujo-in Palace, Genji makes his appearance in public after a long time. He looks much more beautiful and shining than when he was praised as 'Hikaru kimi,' so the priests who knew him from long ago shed tears.

At the end of the year, while excited about the ceremony for driving out devils, he thinks that it will be the last time he will see Onna Sannomiya
Genji prepares for his last New Year.

While I am lost in deep thought, time passes by and this year and my glorious days will be over today.

[Original Japanese]