The Tale of Genji

Akikonomu Character Analysis

Akikonomu is the Rokujō Lady's daughter; it's never stated who her father is. When she's still a child, she's appointed to be the high priestess of the Ise shrine, a huge honor. Suzaku, as emperor, lets her go, despite the fact that he's in love with her. Genji is also interested in her, though he remains unable to pursue her throughout the novel. Akikonomu is thrilled to be able to take her mother with her to Ise, as such a thing is unprecedented. She and her mother return later in the novel and within weeks, the Rokujō Lady dies. However, on her deathbed, she asks that Genji take care of Akikonomu. Genji respects the Rokujō Lady's wishes to not take Akikonomu as a lover and instead, pretends he doesn't know that Suzaku loves her and offers her to Reizei. Because Akikonomu is a painter, she easily wins Reizei's heart and presumably, his hand as well.

Akikonomu Quotes in The Tale of Genji

The The Tale of Genji quotes below are all either spoken by Akikonomu or refer to Akikonomu. 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.
Heartvine Quotes

"Though I leave behind a world I cannot endure,

My heart remains with him, still of that world.

And will be muddied by it."

Related Characters: Genji, Fujitsubo, The Rokujō Lady, Reizei, Akikonomu
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
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Akikonomu Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji

The timeline below shows where the character Akikonomu appears in The Tale of Genji. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Heartvine
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
The Rokujō Lady is also affected by the change in emperor. Her young daughter, Akikonomu, is appointed high priestess of the Ise Shrine. Because Genji no longer shows her reliable... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...is uncompassionate and rude. Genji tries to call on the Rokujō lady to apologize, but Akikonomu sends him away. He instead goes to see Murasaki and marvels at how long her... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...her reputation, but the narrator insists this isn't the case: her relationship with her daughter Akikonomu and her good taste make her very popular. (full context)
The Sacred Tree
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...grows more and more despondent. Genji stops visiting altogether and so she decides to accompany Akikonomu to Ise. Genji is sad about this and tries to convince her to stay, but... (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
...next day and his letter almost makes the Rokujō Lady reconsider, but it's too late. Akikonomu is thrilled to get to take her mother with her to Ise. The Suzaku Emperor,... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
The Suzaku Emperor puts the farewell comb in Akikonomu's hair and in the evening, the procession of carriages leaves for Ise. As the procession... (full context)
Channel Buoys
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
A new high priestess is appointed to the Ise shrine, so the Rokujō Lady and Akikonomu return to the city. The Rokujō Lady decides not to call on Genji and he... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...week later, the Rokujō Lady dies. Genji arranges the funeral and writes several notes to Akikonomu. The relationship makes her wary, but her ladies encourage her to write. Genji finds her... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...in the matter, and she suggests that Genji pretend to not know that Suzaku loves Akikonomu. When she accepts Akikonomu as a candidate for Reizei's hand, Genji makes plans to bring... (full context)
A Picture Contest
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Fujitsubo desperately wants Akikonomu to come to court. Genji has decided to not bring Akikonomu to his own house... (full context)
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Genji helps install Akikonomu at court and feels the Rokujō Lady would be proud. Fujitsubo tells Reizei about the... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...Kokiden girl's apartments. Reizei loves them but is sad when Tō no Chūjō won't let Akikonomu look at the paintings. Genji ransacks his art collection and sends Reizei a number of... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...collection for royal review. By now, the palace is filled with the Kokiden girl and Akikonomu's favorite art. Their two styles are very different. Fujitsubo, a great art lover herself, decides... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...that have been in their collections for a long time. Suzaku gives some paintings to Akikonomu, some of which he painted himself. Suzaku and Akikonomu exchange notes and Akikonomu refuses Suzaku's... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...umpire. The debate is lively and by evening, Hotaru still hasn't reached a decision. Finally, Akikonomu's side brings out one of Genji's paintings from Suma. The painting that the Kokiden girl's... (full context)