The Tale of Genji

The Rokujō Lady Character Analysis

The Rokujō Lady is one of Genji's first lovers, though she doesn't appear herself until midway through the novel. She had been a consort of the emperor before the Emperor and is therefore a number of years older than Genji (though this is never specified in this translation). Though Genji sees the Rokujō Lady with relative frequency, he's often neglectful of her. This makes the Rokujō Lady feel extremely jealous. Her jealousy is so great that her spirit actually leaves her body and kills two of Genji's other lovers: the Lady of the Evening Faces and Aoi, Genji's wife. Though the Rokujō Lady recognizes her jealousy, she does feel bad and ashamed of what her jealousy is capable of doing. The lady is also very concerned about what might happen if the truth of the ladies' deaths gets out; her primary concern is her reputation, which she believes would be irreparably damaged. (The narrator, however, insists that this isn't true.) To escape all of this, the Rokujō Lady decides to accompany her daughter Akikonomu to the Ise shrine, where the latter will act as high priestess. This is unprecedented, but the Rokujō Lady believes it's the only way to escape Genji and preserve her reputation. She returns from the shrine near the end of the novel when Reizei becomes emperor, though she promptly becomes ill and dies. On her deathbed, she asks for Genji to care for Akikonomu but specifies that she doesn't want him to take her daughter as a lover. This shows that the Rokujō Lady understands that becoming involved with Genji brings major risks with it, and she'd like to save her daughter from suffering at Genji's hands as she did.

The Rokujō Lady Quotes in The Tale of Genji

The The Tale of Genji quotes below are all either spoken by The Rokujō Lady or refer to The Rokujō Lady. 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

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 I am weak and indecisive by nature myself, and a woman who is quiet and withdrawn and follows the wishes of a man even to the point of letting herself be used has much the greater appeal.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:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Tale of Genji quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The Tale of Genji LitChart as a printable PDF.
The tale of genji.pdf.medium

The Rokujō Lady Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji

The timeline below shows where the character The Rokujō Lady 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
...the Lady of the Evening Faces as soon as he reaches the house of the Rokujō Lady. In the morning, though, he passes by the house of the Lady of the Evening... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...happily. Genji spends little time with Aoi, which angers her, and after pushing through the Rokujō Lady 's resistance, he stops seeing her so often. The lady herself is somewhat distraught and... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
One morning, as the Rokujō Lady hastily sends Genji away, he asks her serving lady to sit with him for a... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...the panic that must be gripping the palace with his absence and how upset the Rokujō Lady must be that he didn't visit last night. Compared to the Rokujō lady, who is... (full context)
Lavender
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...doesn't worry; he's too caught up in worrying about how things are going with the Rokujō lady . As he prepares to visit the lady one night, Genji is sidetracked when Koremitsu... (full context)
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... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...instigate a number of rumors instead. Genji makes it seem as though he's leaving the Rokujō lady alone because she wants to be left alone (effectively making his neglect her fault). Fearing... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Sanjō footmen (that is, Aoi’s) recognize that the unattended carriages belong to the Rokujō Lady , who only wants to watch the parade and forget her sorrows. Aoi's carriages squeeze... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Genji finds out about the carriage debacle later. He feels horrible for the Rokujō lady and angry at Aoi, who he feels is uncompassionate and rude. Genji tries to call... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
The Rokujō Lady continues to dwell in her sorrows. She knows she'll be lonely at Ise, but she... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Genji disguises himself and visits the Rokujō Lady at her new house. He explains Aoi's illness and stays the night, but this does... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
The Rokujō Lady hears rumors that her father's spirit may be the one possessing Aoi. Distraught, the Rokujō... (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
...at him and cries. He comforts her, and Aoi speaks—but in the voice of the Rokujō Lady. She tells Genji to bind the hem of her robe, a method of keeping a... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
The Rokujō Lady has mixed feelings when she learns of this. Strangely, she finds that no matter how... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Genji attempts to contact the Rokujō Lady , but she refuses to answer. Weeks later, Genji receives a letter from the lady... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
...hear this, but he resolves to remain true to Murasaki. He thinks too of the Rokujō Lady and thinks that if she's willing to continue seeing him, they may be able to... (full context)
The Sacred Tree
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Rokujō Lady grows more and more despondent. Genji stops visiting altogether and so she decides to accompany... (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
At dawn, Genji takes the Rokujō Lady 's hand and professes his love. She expresses sadness that she's leaving and finally, Genji... (full context)
Heian Court Culture Theme Icon
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
...for Ise. As the procession passes Genji's mansion, he sends out a poem asking the Rokujō Lady if she'll regret her decision. The Rokujō Lady replies briskly the next morning that she's... (full context)
Suma
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Nature, Poetry, and Beauty Theme Icon
Genji even resumes correspondence with the Rokujō Lady. He's entranced by her calligraphy and her five-page letter, and thinks he was wrong to... (full context)
Akashi
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...asks the lady if she'd play for him. Her sad reply reminds Genji of the Rokujō Lady. The lady runs to an inner room. Genji follows and does force himself on her,... (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... (full context)
Women, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
The Parent-Child Relationship Theme Icon
A week later, the Rokujō Lady dies. Genji arranges the funeral and writes several notes to Akikonomu. The relationship makes her... (full context)
A Picture Contest
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 new lady. Reizei fears that because she's... (full context)