The Tale of Genji

The Former Governor Character Analysis

The former governor is the Akashi Lady's father. He desperately wants his daughter to marry someone important in the city and instructs her to throw herself into the sea if he can't make this happen for her. He invites Genji to come stay with him in Akashi after a supernaturally strong storm ravages the coast and the city. During the storm, the former governor sets a boat out to find Genji, as someone came to him in a dream and told him to do so. The former governor does whatever he can to make Genji comfortable and lives a life that's only slightly less grand than Genji's life at court had been. Though he pushes the Akashi Lady towards Genji and is successful in getting them to start a relationship, he's somewhat unsure what to do after the relationship begins. He appears to believe Genji when Genji promises to bring the Akashi Lady and the baby to court.

The Former Governor Quotes in The Tale of Genji

The The Tale of Genji quotes below are all either spoken by The Former Governor or refer to The Former Governor. 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:
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The Former Governor Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji

The timeline below shows where the character The Former Governor 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
...admire the landscape and tell him stories of mountains and the Akashi coast, where a former governor lives with his wife and daughter. The daughter (the Akashi Lady) is, according to the... (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 invites Yoshikiyo to visit. He refuses.... (full context)
Akashi
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...city. He remains awake until daylight. After dawn, a small boat pulls in from the former governor 's house, asking to speak to Yoshikiyo. Genji sends Yoshikiyo down, thinking that the small... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
A messenger tells Yoshikiyo that earlier in the month, the former governor saw in a dream that he'd receive a sign on the thirteenth of the month... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
The Akashi coast is gorgeous. The former governor installs Genji in a house on the beach, and the narrator notes that the governor's... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
The former governor doesn't want to push the issue, but he prays that his hopes for the Akashi... (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 singing, playing, and drinking. Late at... (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 refuses. The former governor... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
As 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... (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... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...summer, summons Genji back 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... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...recites poems about her sadness. Finally, Genji sends for a koto. He plays, and the former governor asks his daughter to play. Genji finds her playing much like Fujitsubo's and he regrets... (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
...pregnant think that Genji is just sentimental, but those who do know are jealous. The former governor arranges a farewell feast. Genji and the Akashi Lady exchange robes, and Genji promises the... (full context)
Channel Buoys
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...Though the nurse privately agrees she'd rather stay, she leaves for Akashi right away. The former governor is thrilled with his granddaughter and is very happy that Genji wants to care for... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...to promise to bring her to the city, but neither the Akashi Lady or the former governor really believe him. (full context)