The Tale of Genji

The Bishop Character Analysis

The bishop lives on the mountain near the sage and asks Genji to call on him when he realizes Genji is in the neighborhood. Though the bishop shows Genji a great deal of hospitality, he also is very firm in telling Genji that he absolutely cannot have control of Murasaki. However, after the nun dies, the bishop is either unable or unwilling to continue to protect Murasaki, though he remains in contact with Genji to keep up on Murasaki's whereabouts.
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The Bishop Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji

The timeline below shows where the character The Bishop appears in The Tale of Genji. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lavender
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The sage explains that a bishop lives there. Genji believes he's not dressed well enough to call on the bishop, so... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...possessed by a hostile power. That evening, Genji and Koremitsu go back down to the bishop's house. They stand at the fence and watch a nun struggling to read, flanked on... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...nun and Shōnagon exchange poems hoping that the "tender grasses" will be properly nurtured. The bishop interrupts and tells the women that Genji is around. The nun lowers the blinds. Genji... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...Genji sleeps, a messenger comes for Koremitsu and begs him to have Genji visit the bishop's house. The bishop himself also comes to ask Genji to visit and finally, Genji agrees.... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
Feeling unwell, Genji watches a spring shower pass overhead and listens to the bishop's intonations. He can hear the women in the house's inner rooms and behind screens. He... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...the nun finds the whole thing outrageous. At dawn, Genji sends a poem to the bishop revealing how upset he is that the bishop won't hand over Murasaki, but the bishop's... (full context)
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
The bishop and the nun discuss Genji's proposal and decide that if he's still interested in five... (full context)
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The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
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...Murasaki can't write properly yet and implies that Genji's interest is a passing fancy. The bishop writes a similar reply to Genji. (full context)
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Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...to speak with Shōnagon. Koremitsu explains how serious Genji is, but the nun and the bishop continue to think his interest will be fleeting. Genji sends another note for Murasaki with... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...events and doesn't ask after the nun for a while. When he finally does, the bishop writes that she has died. Genji knows Murasaki must be very sad and sends Shōnagon... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...serving ladies can only tell him that Shōnagon spirited her away. He writes to the bishop and receives no information there. Murasaki continues to settle in at the palace, though she... (full context)