The Tale of Genji

Minister of the Left Character Analysis

The Minister of the Left is Aoi's father and Genji's father-in-law. He's described as being a kind, generous, and at times, more of a doddering old man than the powerful political figure he appears to be. He's also one of the Emperor's greatest allies, which is the primary reason the former chooses to marry Aoi to Genji instead of the Minister of the Right's son, Suzaku. When Genji is still young the Minister of the Left takes it upon himself to arrange outings to pique Genji's interest and make sure he has reasons to visit his mansion in Sanjō, but he's generally unsuccessful. Despite the fact that Genji and Aoi are very unhappy in their marriage—and that Genji neglects her and the Minister of the Left as a result—the minister remains pleased with Genji as a son-in-law and when he is unhappy with Genji, he chooses not to voice this. When Aoi dies within days of giving birth to Genji's son Yugiri, the minister takes heart that Genji will surely continue to visit Sanjō for the sake of his son. He continues to support Genji through Genji's exile. When Genji returns and Reizei takes the throne, the Minister of the Left agrees to come out of retirement to act as a regent for the eleven-year-old ruler.

Minister of the Left Quotes in The Tale of Genji

The The Tale of Genji quotes below are all either spoken by Minister of the Left or refer to Minister of the Left. 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.
Lavender Quotes

"It would be nice, I sometimes think, if you could be a little more wifely. I have been very ill, and I am hurt, but not really surprised, that you have not inquired after my health."

"Like the pain, perhaps, of awaiting a visitor who does not come?"

Related Characters: Genji (speaker), Aoi (speaker), Minister of the Left
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
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Minister of the Left Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji

The timeline below shows where the character Minister of the Left appears in The Tale of Genji. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Paulownia Court
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...beautiful in adult dress that he nearly cries for joy. Soon, the Emperor and the Minister of the Left decide that the Minister's only daughter, Aoi, should be given to Genji rather than to... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...of this, but he offers the hand of his favorite daughter to one of the Minister of the Left 's sons to help smooth things over. Genji spends most of his time with the... (full context)
Lavender
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...with Genji, who then prepares to leave. He's interrupted, however, when a group from the Minister of the Left 's house, including Tō no Chūjō, arrives. They decide to stay and enjoy the cherry... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...in on the Emperor. The Emperor vows to promote the sage for his good work. The Minister of the Left is in attendance and convinces Genji to recover from his journey at the Sanjō mansion... (full context)
An Autumn Excursion
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...Genji feel like a child, and he feels as though he can't do anything right. The Minister of the Left is annoyed that Genji has other dalliances as well, but he likes Genji himself too... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Those at the Minister of the Left and Aoi's house think it's odd that Genji is spending so much time with his... (full context)
The Festival of the Cherry Blossoms
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Aoi keeps Genji waiting, so Genji fiddles with a koto. The Minister of the Left congratulates Genji on his poem and his dancing at the cherry blossom festival, saying his... (full context)
Heartvine
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Minister of the Left and Genji both leave for court. Not long after, a messenger arrives at court with... (full context)
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...Genji returns to court. He leaves notes for Princess Omiya and says goodbye to the Minister of the Left in person. The Minister asks Genji to tell the Emperor that he's still too sad... (full context)
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
On New Year's Day, Genji visits the Emperor and then goes to see the Minister of the Left . He's thrilled to see Yugiri. Princess Omiya sends a note with New Year robes... (full context)
The Sacred Tree
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...Genji's life miserable, as she and the Minister of the Right haven't forgotten that the Minister of the Left gave Aoi to Genji instead of to Suzaku. Genji dedicates himself to Yugiri's education and... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...to prayer and reminds herself that Reizei's security is the most important thing. Genji, the Minister of the Left , and Tō no Chūjō are also slighted when the promotions are announced. Tō no... (full context)
Suma
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
Genji visits the Minister of the Left . All the women of the house gather with Yugiri to look at Genji. The... (full context)
Channel Buoys
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...his sons crown prince. Genji tries to refuse an appointment to be a minister and The Minister of the Left also tries to refuse an appointment to be a regent; both, however, must ultimately accept... (full context)