Does that ever happen to you? Arriving at your lover’s bedroom, you realize that the person in the bed is not your lover at all but a stranger… What to do? Well, if you are Prince Genji, you carry on!
Chapter three carries on the story of Genji, the shining prince and Utsusemi, the discarded shell of a cicada. Why did this story get divided into two chapters and what does her name mean?
The answer to the second question is easy. In trying to escape his relentless advances, the woman flees her bedroom leaving one of her robes (the empty shell) behind. The women of the time wore layers and layers of robes, sleeping in the inner layers and putting the outer ones back on when they awoke. Sometimes the outer robes were perfumed overnight, airing but also permeated with the sweet smoke of blended incense.
Aristocratic women were veiled by their robes and living behind bamboo blinds (misu 御簾) and standing curtains (kichō 几帳). The idea of a man peeping between the gaps of a fence—or sneaking a peak behind the curtains, called kaimami 垣間見, was experienced as being erotic in literature.
It is a kind of seeing that is also a transgression and possession. To see is to behold and to possess. Ancient emperors would climb a hill and behold their realm.. this was called kunimi.
1. one's present existence; this mortal frame; this world; this life; temporal things
2. cast-off cicada shell; cicada
I never heard of the first meaning of the word utsusemi before. I suppose it makes sense that the empty, cast off shell of the cicada after it molts (or dies?) somehow represents our lives and the world, この世.
空蝉: Ateji (phonetic) reading. 虚蝉: Ateji (phonetic) reading.I have always loved kanji that was created for phonetic reasons. This is called ateji. Explanation of ateji from Wikipedia:
For example, the word "sushi" is often written with its ateji "寿司". Though the two characters have the readings 'su' and 'shi' respectively, the character '寿' means "one's natural life span" and '司' means "to administer", neither of which has anything to do with the food. Ateji as a means of representing loanwords has been largely superseded in modern Japanese by the use of katakana (see also Transcription into Japanese), although many ateji coined in earlier eras still linger on.
No wonder Japanese is so challenging!
Very nice, indeed.
This is my only contribution to the genre. (kunimi)
山常庭 I Yamato land
村山有等 berg och åter berg som syns
取与呂布 där sig torna upp
天乃香具山 Himlens berg - Kaguyama
登立 om man klättrar upp
国見乎為者 och spanar ut mot nejden
国原波 landet vitt och brett
煙立龍 rökpelare sig reser
海原波 spegeln ifrån sjön
加万目立多都 måsar måsar överallt
怜可国曾 fulländat vackert
八間跡能国者 Yamato är landet här