Makibashira (The Cypress Pillar) (真木柱)

Makibashira is one of the 54 chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the 31st chapter. It is a story about Tamakazura's marriage and the incidents associated with it.
The title of this chapter was derived from the waka poem which Higekuro's daughter composed: 'Now I am leaving my house where I have lived; do not forget me, friendly cypress pillar.'

Makibashira is a nickname for a fictitious character in "The Tale of Genji." She is the eldest daughter of Higekuro, and her mother is Hyobukyonomiya's oldest daughter. Because she composed the poem, after which the title of the chapter mentioned above was named, she came to be called by this name.

Summary of the chapter
Hikaru Genji, age 37 to 38, from winter to the early spring.

Although Tamakazura was about to serve as Naishi no tsukasa (female palace attendant), Higekuro forced a relationship on her through the good offices of a court lady right before her entering the Imperial Palace. Genji kept his consternation absolutely secret, and treated Higekuro, who was ecstatic about getting married to young and beautiful Tamakazura, with courtesy as his son-in-law. However, Tamakazura, who reluctantly got married to boorish and graceless Higekuro, was so downhearted that she felt ashamed and could not even face Genji. On the other hand, her biological father, the Minister of the Palace, welcomed this marriage and thanked Genji, because he thought that it was better for his other daughter, Kokiden no nyogo (Empress Kokiden), not to compete with Tamakazura for Emperor Reizei's favor.

Then Higekuro began to rebuild accommodate Tamakazura. However, his wife, who he had completely abandoned by that time, despaired, so her father, Hyobukyonomiya, also thought of making her come back to his residence. Higekuro, who thought that it looked bad, tried to hold her back, but when he was about to leave for Tamakazura's, she suddenly got mad at him, and threw ashes from the incense burner at him. Higekuro was totally disgusted with the way his wife behaved, and stayed on at Tamakazura's. Shikibukyonomiya (the Highness of Ceremonial) lost his temper at last, and called his daughter and grandchildren while Higekuro was out. The daughter (Makibashira), whom Higekuro loved, declared that she would wait for her father alone, but was taken away crying, and left a poem of farewell on the pillar in the residence. When Higekuro later saw it, he cried, and visited the Miya's family to see her, but only his sons were given back to him.

When the New Year came, Higekuro finally allowed Tamakazura, who spent her days in mourning, to serve at the Imperial palace, and she made a splendid entrance. Emperor Reizei, who immediately visited Tamakazura, was charmed by her beauty which was even greater than he had heard, and confessed his love for her eagerly. Higekuro, however, got upset about it, and urged Tamakazura to leave, and took her home. Genji, thus deprived of Tamakazura, was bitter and still attached to her, and sent her several letters. However, Higekuro came between them, so Genji could not communicate with her freely. Before long, Tamakazura gave birth to a son, and after that she did not serve at the Imperial palace, staying at home as Higekuro's wife.

The eldest daughter between Higekuro and his first wife (the eldest daughter of Hyobukyonomiya). Her father, Higekuro, especially loved Makibashira, and she also loved him. However, her grandfather took her and her mother in, and would not give her away, so she lived with her insane mother even after that. Her two younger brothers, who went back to her father's, got along with their stepmother, Tamakazura, so Makibashira rather envied them.

Later, in the second chapter of 'Wakana' (Spring Shoots), her grandfather, Shikibukyonomiya secretly planned to marry her to Kashiwagi, but she finally became the second wife of Hotaru Hyobukyonomiya. However, she bore him a daughter (Miya no onkata), but they did not get along with each other. After the death of Hotaru Hyobukyonomiya, Kobai (younger brother of Kashiwagi) began to visit her, though he was worried about being seen, and he was accused by people for a while, but before long were formally married. It was also the second marriage to Dainagon (chief councilor of state), who took his two daughters with him, but they got along with each other including their daughters. Subsequently, she bore him a son (Taifu no Kimi), and it is said that she spent her days relatively happily.
She grew up to be a wise woman, who was cheerful and modern, in spite of her unhappy background, and took good care of Dainagon's eldest daughter when she entered Togu (the Crown Prince's palace). ('Kobai' - The Rose Plum)

[Original Japanese]