Shiigamoto (Beneath the Oak) (椎本)

Shiigamoto is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." This is the forty-sixth chapter. It is the second chapter in 'Uji Jujo' (The Ten Quires of Uji), part of the third section.
The title of this chapter came from a waka poem which was composed by Kaoru when he remembered late Hachi no Miya, 'The oak tree on which I depended, spreading shade does not exist any more, and I will live in emptiness and silence.'

It is commonly said that the second residence owned by Yugiri (The Tale of Genji), appearing in this chapter, was modeled after the Byodoin Temple because in the tale it is located on the shore of the Uji-gawa River, the opposite side of the capital.


Kaoru, age twenty-three in spring (February) to the summer of twenty-four.

Around February 20 (old lunar calendar), when Nioumiya pays a visit to Hatsuse (to Hase-dera Temple), he drops in at Yugiri's (The Tale of Genji) second house in Uji on his way home. Because he is interested in the princesses in Uji. Nioumiya enjoys playing the game of go, sugoroku (Japanese backgammon) and the koto (a long Japanese zither with thirteen strings) with Kaoru and Yugiri's sons. Hachi no Miya, who lives on the other side of the Uji-gawa River, hears the sound of some wind and string instruments, and cannot help remembering the old glorious days at the Imperial Court.

The following day, Hachi no Miya sends Kaoru a poem, but Nioumiya, who happens to see it, replies to the poem instead. After Nioumiya has returned to the capital, he frequently sends poems to Uji, but Hachi no Miya always has Naka no Kimi reply to his poems.

It is Hachi no Miya's unlucky year, so he asks Kaoru to look after his princesses. He also warns his daughters not to marry a man thoughtlessly, leave Uji, and disgrace themselves in public, then he visits a temple on a mountain and passes away there. It is an incident that happened around August 20 (old lunar calendar). The princesses, who are told about the death of their father, hoped to see his remains, but Ajari (a master in esoteric Buddhism; a high priest) refuses their request absolutely. Kaoru and Nioumiya visit the Hachi no Miya's residence to make a call of condolence, but the daughters feel so sad that they will not open up to anybody.

One snowy day, at the end of the year, Kaoru visits Uji and sees Oigimi (oldest sister). He speaks to her about marriage arrangements between Nioumiya and Naka no Kimi, also revealing to her that he has been in love with her and wants her to move to the capital, but Oigimi does not take his words seriously.

The following spring, Nioumiya comes to love Naka no Kimi more and more, and he is in no mood for the proposal of marriage with Yugiri's Roku no Kimi (Yugiri's sixth daughter). Meanwhile, Kaoru's residence, Sanjo no Miya was burnt down, so he gets busy taking care of the aftermath, and has not visited Uji for a long time.

In summer, when Kaoru visits Uji, he catches a glimpse of the princesses in the mourning clothes, and is attracted by the beauty of Oigimi more than ever.

[Original Japanese]