Yugao (The Tale of Genji) (夕顔 (源氏物語))

Yugao (Evening face) is one of the fifty-four chapters of "The Tale of Genji." This is the fourth chapter.

It is also a nickname for the female character appearing in "The Tale of Genji."
She is sometimes called 'Tokonatsu (the old name for pink) no Onna.'

Character of Yugao

She was the daughter of Sanmi no Chujo (lieutenant general of Sakone-fu (Left Division of Inner Palace Guards with sanmi rank - third rank), and a wife of Tono Chujo (the first secretary's captain), but later she lived as an ordinary person. She became a mistress of young Hikaru Genji, but they conceal their identities from each other, and she died young leaving her young daughter behind.

After the death of her father, she became the second wife of Tono Chujo (Shosho - Major General - in that time), and bore him a daughter (later known as Tamakazura), but she disappeared out of fear of the lawful wife's jealousy. In the chapter of 'Hahakigi' (The Broom Tree), her name 'Tokonatsu no Onna' comes up in the conversation about 'rating woman on a rainy night,' but nobody paid much attention to her at that time.

She did not appear so often in the tale, but her life ended in tragedy, which reminds the readers of the saying "beauties die young," and makes a deep impression on us. She is a frail-looking woman, but is cute and has a cheerful disposition, so Genji deeply loved her, although it was just a short time, after her death he often remembered her.

Later her daughter Tamakazura appeared and gave the tale more sparkle. It is said that she was one of the heroines who appeared in the tale when The Tale of Genji was still a fragment of a short love story.

When Genji called on his wet nurse who was also the mother of his follower, Koremitsu, to inquire after her health, he noticed that a moonflower was in bloom near the fence of his neighbor, sending a man for it, then his neighbor replied to him composing a waka poem. Genji, who got interested in the woman who is intelligent unlike an ordinary person, concealed his social status and went to visit her often.

One day, when Genji took Yugao to the lonely residence (called Nanigashi no In, said to have been modeled after MINAMOTO no Toru's old residence Rokujo Kawara no In) for a secret meeting, but he saw a spirit of a woman (some people claim that the spirit was Rokujo no Miyasudokoro, but it is not certain) complaining about him. Yugao lost consciousness, and died at dawn.

[Original Japanese]