Minori (The Rites) (御法)

Minori is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the fortieth chapter.
The title of this chapter was named after the waka poem which Murasaki no ue makes for Hanachirusato, 'This is the last Buddhist service, but I think of a bond between us as trustworthy and it will last many lives.'


It covers the period from March to August, when Hikaru Genji is fifty-one.

Since Murasaki no ue fell seriously ill, she has always been in poor physical condition. She is anxious to become a nun, but Genji will not allow her to do so.

On March 10 (old lunar calendar), a religious service for one thousand copies of Hoke-kyo Sutra (the Lotus Sutra) was held splendidly at Nijoin as part of a vow made by Murasaki no ue. Akashi no Onkata (Lady Akashi) and Hanachirusato also visit Murasaki no ue, and she thinks that this is the final meeting with them, being unwilling to part from them.

When it is summer, Murasaki no ue's condition gets worse and young Lady Akashi visits her old home to see her adoptive mother. Murasaki no ue leaves a message obliquely to her grandchild Nioumiya, whom she has loved.

On a windy evening, Empress Akashi visits bedridden Murasaki no ue, and Genji also joined them to make poems for each other. Right after that, Murasaki no ue's condition gets worse, and she passes away effervescently like dew at dawn with her hand held by the Empress.

Genji, in his grief, will not stay away from Murasaki no ue, and even when Yugiri comes to hold a whole funeral on behalf of Genji, he does not try to conceal his sorrow. The face of the Murasaki no ue looks even more beautiful in death than in life.

She died on August 14 (old lunar calendar), and her remains were cremated on the same day. The next morning, on August 15 (old lunar calendar), the funeral was held and many people such as the Emperor, Tono Chujo (the first secretary's captain), Empress Akikonomu, and so on came to give their condolences. Genji, who wants to become a priest, controls himself for decency's sake, and barely manages to survive from one day to the next.

[Original Japanese]