The Tale of Genji

The Akashi Lady is a young woman who lives in Akashi with her mother and father, the former governor. Though the former governor has high hopes for his daughter's future, the Akashi Lady herself is far more realistic about her prospects: she's happy when she's able to simply lay eyes on Genji and she's uninterested in pushing him to become involved with her, as she doesn't feel worthy enough. She's not described as being particularly beautiful, though she is kind, sensitive, and a skilled koto player. The former governor bullies her into corresponding with Genji and the two do begin a romance. Not long before Genji is called out of exile, she becomes pregnant with Genji's only daughter. Her daughter is born in the early spring, and Genji promises to bring the Akashi Lady and his wife to the city. However, Genji never follows through on this. Though the Akashi Lady is hurt, it's also implied that she never truly trusted him to follow through on this in the first place.

Akashi Lady Quotes in The Tale of Genji

The The Tale of Genji quotes below are all either spoken by Akashi Lady or refer to Akashi Lady. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Tale of Genji published in 1976.
Akashi Quotes

He thought that he could hardly be expected to visit her. She had her own ideas. She knew that rustic maidens should come running at a word from a city gentleman who happened to be briefly in the vicinity. No, she did not belong to his world, and she would only be inviting grief if she pretended that she did.

Page Number: 299
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Tale of Genji quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Tale of Genji LitChart as a printable PDF.
The tale of genji.pdf.medium

Akashi Lady Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji

The timeline below shows where the character Akashi Lady appears in The Tale of Genji. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lavender
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...Akashi coast, where a former governor lives with his wife and daughter. The daughter (the Akashi Lady ) is, according to the attendants, pretty and pleasant and her father apparently has grand... (full context)
Suma
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
Yoshikiyo remembers the Akashi lady , the daughter of the former governor, and writes to her. Her father replies and... (full context)
Akashi
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...thinking only of her. The rains stop and Genji and the former governor discuss the Akashi Lady . Genji secretly wants to see her and wonders if there's a bond between them,... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...governor doesn't want to push the issue, but he prays that his hopes for the Akashi Lady might be realized. The Akashi Lady herself is in awe of Genji, but feels her... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Genji is very interested in hearing the Akashi Lady play. He asks the former governor to play the lute. They pass the night happily... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
The next afternoon, Genji sends a note on saffron paper to the Akashi Lady . The former governor insists she respond quickly, but she feels unequal to Genji and... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...colder weather arrives, Genji begins to ask the former governor if he could bring the Akashi Lady to visit in secret. He believes he can't go visit her, as he thinks she's... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Finally, one night, the former governor arranges for Genji to visit the Akashi Lady 's house. Looking at the moon, Genji thinks of Murasaki, but the house intrigues him.... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Genji sends her a note in the morning. Every so often, he secretly visits the Akashi Lady , though he's constantly overcome with guilt that Murasaki will find out about his affair.... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...to court. Genji is thrilled, though sad to leave Akashi. The former governor and the Akashi Lady are upset, though Genji visits nightly to comfort her. She'd become pregnant in June, and... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...to get involved in "profitless affairs of the heart," and those who know that the Akashi Lady is pregnant gossip that Genji causes trouble. When Genji visits the Akashi Lady before his... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
On the last morning, Genji sends the Akashi Lady a regretful poem, and he cries as he writes it. Those who don't know she's... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...is more beautiful than ever, though the sight of her makes Genji think of the Akashi Lady . He tells Murasaki about his lover in Akashi. Murasaki insists she's not worried. The... (full context)
Channel Buoys
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...inherited house for his "neglected favorites" such as the Lady of the Orange Blossoms. The Akashi Lady gives birth to Genji's first daughter, which delights him. He wonders why he hasn't brought... (full context)
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...with his granddaughter and is very happy that Genji wants to care for her. The Akashi lady also feels more secure and sends a poem to Genji, telling him his "blossom" awaits... (full context)
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...not be jealous. She finds this insulting and thinks of Genji telling her about the Akashi Lady . She's annoyed that Genji was able to amuse himself during his exile while she... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
Genji begins to regret that he didn't bring the Akashi Lady to the city to give birth, as it will seriously disadvantage his daughter to be... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
In the fall, Genji makes a pilgrimage to the Sumiyoshi shrine. By chance, the Akashi Lady travels there on the same day. She arrives after Genji and when she sees his... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...has no idea about any of this, but he's very upset when he learns the Akashi Lady turned away from the shrine. He sends her a note from the Naniwa shrine and... (full context)