Umegae (The Plum Tree Branch) (梅枝)

Umegae is one of the 54 chapters of "The Tale of Genji." It is the 32nd chapter. The title of this chapter was derived from saibara (a genre of Heian-period Japanese court music primarily consisting of gagaku-styled folk melodies) which Ben no shosho (the second son of To no Chujo, the first secretary's captain, later known as Kobai) sang.

Hikaru Genji, age 39, spring.

Genji hurried to prepare for young lady Akashi's Mogi (coming-of-age ceremony for girls), which was timed to coincide with Kinjo no Mikado's coming of age ceremony. Genji asked his women to mix incense, and on a rainy day of February 10, he invited Hotaru Hyobukyonomiya to judge an incense competition. Every incense smelled so wonderful that even Hotaru no Miya could not decide which was better.
At night, Kangen (gagaku piece without dance) was held, and Ben no shosho, whose voice was beautiful, sang 'Umegae.'

The following day, a splendid Mogi for young lady Akashi was held, and Empress Akikonomu played the part of koshi-yui (a person who ties a band around the young woman's waist). Togu (the Crown Prince) was also looking forward to her coming, but Genji knew that other Kugyo (top court officials) hesitated to send their daughters to the kokyu (Empress's residence), so he postponed her entrance. Genji settled her in Shigeisha (The Paulownia), and asked various people to make lovely calligraphy models and to furnish lavish goods.

The Minister of the Palace, who heard the rumor, was still worried about the treatment of Kumoi no Kari. Genji was also anxious about Yugiri, who had difficulty getting married, and encouraged him indirectly to marry another woman. Kumoi no Kari, who heard about it, was shocked and felt resentment at the indifference of Yugiri, who did not tell her anything.

[Original Japanese]