Suzumushi (鈴虫)

Suzumushi is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the thirty-eighth chapter. It is considered the parallel chapter of Yokobue (The Flute).

Hikaru Genji, age fifty, from summer to the middle of the August.

In the summer of the year when lotus flowers are at their best, a ceremony to consecrate a newly made Buddhist image for Onna Sannomiya (the Third Princess) is held. At the hall which has already been decorated, Genji complains to Onna Sannomiya, dressed as a nun, about his sorrow due to being left behind, but she just gives him a dismissive answer. Emperor Suzaku recommends her moving to the Sanjo no miya residence which he gave to her, but Genji, who is reluctant to lose his young wife, will not agree.

In autumn, he changes the front garden of Onna Sannomiya's room into one which resembles a field, and releases autumn insects such as pine crickets there. She is irritated by Genji's kind consideration but she cannot tell her feelings to him.

Around the 15th night of August, when Genji plays the kokin (ancient stringed instrument) at Onna Sannomiya's residence, Hotaru Hyobukyo no Miya and Yugiri come over and they have a banquet with wind and string instruments there. Then Emperor Reizei invites them to his place, and Genji and the others who hurry there stay up until dawn enjoying poetry and music.

The next morning when he visits Empress Akikonomu, she tells him that her lost mother, Rokujo no Miyasudokoro, became an evil spirit and is still wandering around there, confessing that she wants to become a nun. Genji protests against her idea, and recommends that she perform a memorial service.

On the left side of the back of the Bank of Japan notes in circulation now have both an image of the second picture of 'Suzumushi' in "The Tale of Genji" (the person in the left is Reizeiin and the right is Hikaru Genji) and an image in the upper part of the notes (in the evening of the fifteenth night Onna Sannomiya is sitting in front of the Buddhist image...). Because \2,000 notes do not contain the lower part of the foreword which was written vertically, it is impossible to read it.

The English translation of "The Tale of Genji" by Arthur Waley does not contain the chapter of 'Suzumushi.'
The reason is uncertain.

[Original Japanese]