Tamakazura (The Tale of Genji) (玉鬘 (源氏物語))
Tamakazura is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." This is the twenty-second chapter. It describes mainly half the lifetime of Tamakazura, Yugao's daughter.
The title of this chapter was derived from the waka poem that Genji composed, 'My love lives on as it did long ago, but tendril wreath, what winding stem led you to me?'
Some people consider Tamakazura as a central figure in the ten chapters from 'Tamakazura' to 'Makibashira (The Cypress Pillar),' so these chapters are sometimes called the ten folded books of Tamakazura.
Hikaru Genji, age 35, from March to December.
After her mother, Yugao, died, she goes down to Tsukushi province at the age of four, accompanied by a wet nurse. Subsequently, her wet nurse's husband, Dazai no Shoni (junior assistant governor of Dazaifu, local government office in Kyushu region), passes away, and she has been stuck there, not being able to return to Kyoto, while turning twenty. Because she was a beautiful woman, there are many suitors, and she is unnerved by especially Taifu no Gen (Audit Commissioner), a leading figure of Gozoku (local ruling family) in Higo Province, who asks her to marry him aggressively. So she flees to Kyoto by ship with the help of nursemaid's eldest son, Bungonosuke. However, she does not know how she can find her mother, Yugao, so makes a petition to the gods and Buddha, setting out for Hasedera Temple to seek divine favor. At an inn in Tsubaichi, she happens to see Ukon again, who was a former maid for Yugao and now serves Genji. Genji, who has heard Ukon's story, takes Tamakazura in to Rokujo-in Palace as his own daughter, having her live in the west wing of the Summer-Residence and making Hanachirusato her guardian. Together with Murasaki no Ue, Genji chooses the best clothes to wear on the New Year's days for his women at the end of the year.
Half a lifetime of Tamakazura
Tamakazura is the daughter between Tono Chujo (the first secretary's captain) and Yugao, and her childhood name was Rurigimi. While her mother Yugao is hiding herself from Tono Chujo's legal wife, who threatened her, she meets Genji, but dies an accidental death in their secret meeting. However, her wet nurses are not informed of her death, and Tamakazura is taken to the Kyushu region by the wet nurse. She grows to be a beautiful woman there, and is eagerly asked to marry by the local Gozoku, Taifu no Gen, but she turns him down and returns to Kyoto. On her way to Hasedera Temple, she runs into Ukon, a woman who was once Yugao's maid, and through her good offices she is taken in to Rokujo-in Palace as an adopted daughter of Genji.
She is sent many love letters by Kindachi (high-ranking nobles) such as Genji's younger brother, Hotaru Hyobukyo no Miya, Higekuro, Kashiwagi (half brother by a different mother), and so on. The scene where Genji releases fireflies and Hotaru Miya sees her face in the dim light is well known. In the chapter of 'Miyuki (The Imperial Progress),' she celebrates her Mogi (coming-of-age ceremony for girls), and finally meets her real father, the Minister of the Center (Tono Chujo). She is to enter into court as Naishi no tsukasa (female palace attendant) of Emperor Reizei, but just before she enters, she suddenly is married to Higekuro. Later, She bears him a baby boy (Jiju no Kimi - a chamberlain), Oigimi (a consort of Emperor Reizei), Naka no kimi (Naishinokami of Kinjo no Mikado - Emperor).
In spite of being brought up in the countryside, she is more intelligent and beautiful than her mother, and Genji is impressed by her course of action and way she handles people. (In the chapter of 'Takekawa (Bamboo River),' a sequel to her story is told.)
Tamakazura' is an eulogistic name for hair. Hair keeps growing against our will, therefore hair has been a symbol of 'something beyond human control' or 'destiny' in literature since ancient times. Tamakazura in "The Tale of Genji" is also at the mercy of her fate due to the incidents triggered by her hapless fate and beauty. During the Heian period, a woman with long hair was a woman of beauty. From the above, it can also be said that Tamakazura is a character which the author Murasaki Shikibu used for dropping hints about things to come in the story.