Genji has numerous lovers in his life, starting with Lady Aoi. Aoi is aware of their age difference and offended by Genji’s philandering. She gives birth to a baby and suffers episodes of spirit possession, making her empathetic in her husband’s eyes.
The episode brings Rokujo, a widow and Genji’s senior, to the fore. Rokujo is entitled to the utmost respect, which Genji fails to provide due to his philandering. Genji’s behavior humiliates her, and with anger and jealousy, she becomes possessed by the spirit behind Yugao’s demise.
These two women are similar in that they are not comfortable with Genji’s philandering. They want respect, which Genji fails to give. They also go through episodes of spirit possession and die later. Both Aoi and Rokujo did not enjoy their relationship with Genji and were troubled by his character.
Fujitsubo also gets involved in illicit love with Genji at sixteen, like Aoi, and gets her first child. Like Aoi and Rokujo, she wants respect, and this makes her feel guilty about the affair she had with Genji and the unconfirmed rumor that their son was Emperor’s son.
Lady Murasaki comes later in Genji’s life and outshines Fujitsubo and other lovers. She remains Genji’s favorite lover but not Genji’s main wife because of her imperfect social status. Genji’s attention shifts to other women later, and she becomes a victim of spirit possession, like Aoi and Rokujo.
Only Murasaki seems attracted to Genji in the four relationships out of love. It seems other women came into Genji’s life just to be wives to a prince. The social status of Genji blinded them to the point where they did not see the trouble that Genji’s past lovers experienced.
These relationships reveal that courtship and marriage are not respected in Genji’s culture. Genji could get any woman he wanted and replace her anytime he felt like it. In other terms, women were not given as much importance as men in marriage.
The culture embraces polygamy and does not have respect for women, as shown by Genji’s lovers’ experiences. However, women seem to value respect and are jealous of women who want their husbands. Jealousy led to anger and spirit possession episodes, which led to death. Overall, women suffer the most in marriages and die out of the trouble they encounter in relationships and marriage.