Chapter 9 of The Tale of Genji

Heartvine
4th month of Genji's 22nd year to the new year of his 23rd.

Genji's father, the Emperor abdicates and Genji's brother, Lady Kokiden's son, Suzaku, becomes the new Emperor. The old Emperor will set up his own court in retirement and will still hold a considerable amount of power.

It is revealed that Rokujo used to be married to Zembo, a brother of the old Emperor; a brother who would have become Emperor had he lived. Their daughter is to become a high priestess at Ise shrine.
Genji is rebuked by his father for his poor treatment of Rokujo. however his own wife, Aoi is pregnant and he finds himself with less and less time to spend with Rokujo.

A festival is held at the Kamo river and there is a very big turn out. Many people have come from far away to see Genji in his finery. The streets are packed with carriages and Lady Aoi only decides to attend at the last minute. Upon arrival her men have to push and shove in order to get her a good vantage point. The ensuing scuffle seriously damages the position and pride of the rider of another carriage, which turns out to be Lady Rokujo.

As Aoi's pregnancy advances, her health declines and it is suspected that she is the victim of a spiritual posession by Rokujo, who appears to be unaware of her role in the affair(see below). Rokujo however does have numerous dreams which eventually lead to her suspecting the truth. Genji softens towards his wife, but although he is confronted with circumstantial evidence, he refuses to believe that Rokujo is responsible. One day when he is attending to Aoi, he hears Rokujo's voice and is startled. Soon thereafter, a baby boy is born and is named Yugiri. After a few days the possession strikes again and Aoi dies. Genji mourns profusely.

When some of the pain subsides, Genji's attention turns to fifteen year old Murasaki. He decides that the time is right to take her as his bride. She of course was unaware of his intentions and is horrified when he forces himself on her. Koremitsu conspires to have them married secretly and the plan is consummated, however Murasaki is far from happy with the whole situation.

People begin to notice the striking resemblance between Aoi's son and Fujitsubo's, however, nobody mentions it.


A note on spiritual possession in Heian Japan
The hannya( as it is called) is the most feared of Japanese mythical demons. The person who the spirit belongs to is not dead, nor is she necessarily aware of what she is doing. The hannya is a scorned woman's jealousy and hatred manifested.

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