Akashi lived in the winter palace because she loved to spend winters waiting for spring. She was called Akashi because it was the name of the city where she resided before she married Genji. Akashi is less than 2 hours from Kyoto by train now, however people used a boat to travel to Akashi 1000 years ago. Genji and Akashi met while he was away from Kyoto. He was punished for having an affair with the Emperor’s lover. Akashi was 18 years old at the time, a year younger than Murasaki. She excelled at playing the Biwa, a musical instrument similar to the guitar. Although she was raised in the countryside, she had high self-esteem and was very sophisticated. She was also a beautiful lady. One night, her father had a prophetic dream that her daughter someday would have a daughter who would be a future empress. He refused to accept any proposals for her from men of the middle class. He waited until he met Genji. Akashi is said to be the most successful women in the tale because she would eventually become the grandmother of the crown prince.
Four years later, Akashi moved to Kyoto but not near Genji’s place. It is said that if Akasi had a boy, she would never be invited to Kyoto. (Note: Hiroki, H 2010. Atarashii Genji Monogatarino Kyokasyo, The Text Book of New Tale of Genji, Tokyo: East Press) Girls at this time were used for political marriage. Her father had a second house around the current Arashiyama, the place where Lila-san visited 2 years ago. When her daughter reached the age of 3 years old, Genji suggested Murasaki could raise her as a stepmother. At this time, the mother’s social status determined her child status. Genji thought it would be better for their children to be raised by Murasaki. It was a snowy winter morning when Akashi gave her daughter to Genji. After this moment, Akashi could not meet her daughter for 8 years until she married an emperor. She then became a lady attendant for her own daughter to care for her every day.
Her theme is Strawberry Essence. At first she refused to have an affair with Genji because she thought he would someday abandon her. Her father also told her that if she should fail her marriage with Genji, she must dive into the ocean to take her own life. (Note: Hiroki, H 2010. Atarashii Genji Monogatarino Kyokasyo, The Text Book of New Tale of Genji, Tokyo:East Press) Genji described Akashi: “She is so tall and elegant and dignified that I feel nervous in front of her.” (Note: Katsuyoshi .F 2002. Sukaresu Onna Kirawareru Onna, Women who is loved and not loved, Tokyo:Shin Ten Sya) Although she became a lady attendant for her daughter, she never told her that she was the real mother. Her mother accidentally confessed that Akashi was the real mother. Even after the fact was revealed, she remained humble and quiet. She never changed her attitude. She was not a high class women, although the way she behaved was like a noblewoman. One morning when Genji was about to leave her, Akashi was too sad to say good-bye and could not got out of bed. This behavior was allowed only to the noble class women in this time but Akashi could not hide her lonely feelings in this morning. Akashi was born an honorable lady.