The Tale of Genji

Lady of the Evening Faces Character Analysis

The Lady of the Evening Faces is a mysterious woman whom Genji begins a romance with in the beginning of the novel. She's relatively young, very small, and does her best to obscure her true identity from Genji. Genji likes her because she's yielding and childlike. In the fall, he takes her to an abandoned villa to continue spending time together. The Lady is very afraid. That night, the spirit of the Rokujō Lady kills the Lady of the Evening Faces. Because the Lady has no family that Genji knows of, Koremitsu takes her body to a small temple in the mountains to keep the story from getting out. Later, her maid, Ukon, tells Genji that the Lady of the Evening Faces used to be Tō no Chūjō's lover and even gave birth to his daughter. She had moved to the house where Genji met her to hide from Tō no Chūjō's family and was only nineteen when she died.

Lady of the Evening Faces Quotes in The Tale of Genji

The The Tale of Genji quotes below are all either spoken by Lady of the Evening Faces or refer to Lady of the Evening Faces. 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.
Evening Faces Quotes

She was of an extraordinarily gentle and quiet nature. Though there was a certain vagueness about her, and indeed an almost childlike quality, it was clear that she knew something about men. She did not appear to be of very good family. What was there about her, he asked himself over and over again, that so drew him to her?

Related Characters: Genji, Lady of the Evening Faces
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
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The priests did not know who he was. They sensed something remarkable, however, and felt their eyes mist over.

Related Characters: Genji, Lady of the Evening Faces, Koremitsu
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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The weak ones do have a power over us. The clear, forceful ones I can do without. I am weak and indecisive by nature myself, and a woman who is quiet and withdrawn and follows the wishes of a man even to the point of letting herself be used has much the greater appeal. A man can shape and mold her as he wishes, and becomes fonder of her all the while.

Related Characters: Genji (speaker), The Rokujō Lady, Murasaki, Aoi, Lady of the Evening Faces, Ukon
Page Number: 62-63
Explanation and Analysis:
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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:
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Channel Buoys Quotes

Though she saw little of him, the lady was completely dependent on him; but she was not of the modern sort, given to outpourings of resentment. He knew that she would not make him uncomfortable. Long neglected, her house now wore a weirdly ruinous aspect.

Page Number: 327
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lady of the Evening Faces Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji

The timeline below shows where the character Lady of the Evening Faces appears in The Tale of Genji. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Evening Faces
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...and sends her a poem, asking her to come out and see who he is. The Lady of the Evening Faces had thought Genji was someone else but is nevertheless excited to receive his special poem.... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Though Genji is sad, he stops thinking about the Lady of the Evening Faces as soon as he reaches the house of the Rokujō Lady. In the morning, though,... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Koremitsu is unable to identify the Lady of the Evening Faces , though he does discover that she has some sort of connection to Tō no... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Genji decides he must continue seeing the Lady of the Evening Faces . He becomes almost obsessed with her, which surprises him—even though she's pleasantly childlike and... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
In the fall, Genji wakes in the house of the Lady of the Evening Faces to the voices of common people. The women of her house are extremely embarrassed by... (full context)
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...disrepair, but Genji tries to speak of it as though it's all a grand adventure. The Lady of the Evening Faces is afraid. Ukon watches the caretaker energetically prepare the villa, which makes her suspect that... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...around noon and looks around the grounds, which are neglected and overgrown. He and the Lady of the Evening Faces exchange poems telling each other they're beautiful, and Genji attempts to get the lady to... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...send her to fetch a light, but she's too afraid. He and Ukon notice the Lady of the Evening Faces bathed in sweat and trembling, so Genji sends a guard to find fire. (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
When Genji returns to the room, he takes the Lady of the Evening Faces in his arms but discovers that she's dead. A man arrives with a torch, and... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...happened must be kept secret. He decides that they should send the body of the Lady of the Evening Faces to a temple on the mountain. At daylight, Koremitsu wraps up the body and puts... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
...receive visitors, though he receives Koremitsu immediately when he arrives later. He explains that the Lady of the Evening Faces is definitely dead and will have her funeral tomorrow, while Ukon is alive but distraught.... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
Genji insists that he must see the Lady of the Evening Faces one more time. Against his better judgment, Koremitsu takes Genji on horseback. The moon lights... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Some evenings, Genji summons Ukon to talk. He asks her once why the Lady of the Evening Faces insisted on keeping her name a secret, and Ukon explains that the lady figured out... (full context)