Otome (The Tale of Genji) (少女 (源氏物語))

Otome (The Maidens) is the one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the 21st chapter. The title comes from a poetical word that means the Gosechi dancers.

The story takes place during the period from summer when Genji was 33 years old to winter when he was 35.

Genji's son, Yugiri (The Tale of Genji), had his coming-of-age ceremony at the age of twelve. But Genji deliberately did not give preferential treatment to Yugiri, made him remain at the sixth rank and sent him to the university. In the same year, Genji's adopted daughter Empress Akikonomu prevailed in the competition to be the empress of the Emperor Reizei. Genji was promoted to Daijo-daijin (Grand minister of state) and Udaisho (Major Captain of the Right Division of Inner Palace Guards, the former To no Chujo) was appointed as Naidaijin (Minister of the Center).

Defeated by Genji in the competition among the candidates for empress, the Naidaijin's hope is that his second daughter Kumoi no Kari, being looked after by Omiya (The Tale of Genji), might become the Crown Princess.

However, she had already secretly fallen in love with Yugiri, who she grew up with since childhood. When the Naidaijin learned about this, he became enraged, took Kumoi no Kari to his own mansion and split them up. The heartbroken Yugiri got a glimpse of one of the Gosechi dancers (the daughter of Koremitsu), and he was so attracted by her beauty that he sent a letter to her.

Later, Yugiri passed the exam to be a shinshi (a daigaku student who has passed a subject on the official appointment test), and was promoted to jiju (a chamberlain), the fifth rank. Meanwhile, Genji completed building an immense mansion that covered 63,471 square meters in Rokujo (Rokujo estate) and decided that the autumn wing would be the empress's home. As for the rest, Lady Murasaki was installed in the spring wing, Hanachirusato in the summer wing and Lady Akashi in the winter wing.

[Original Japanese]