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In the tale of Genji, Genji is married to one wife, Aoi but has multiple lovers as his concubines and mistresses. Lady Rokujo is one of Genji's lovers, very jealous of Genji's wife and other lovers. She decides to spiritually leave her body to possess torture and kill her female rivals. Her spirit continued to haunt Genji's women even after her death. Lady Rokujo's affection towards Genji changes to animosity towards his wife Aoi, after realizing that Genji is by her side (Shikibu 80).
Aoi is disappointed by Genji's extremity of sexual conduct as he is always busy with his other lovers and rarely has time to visit her at her father's Sanjo mansion no matter how much she tries to remind him. She expresses her displeasure with Genji's neglect for her by reminding him that to be a little more wifely and by registering her disappointment to him that despite her sickness, she is not surprised that he has absolutely nothing about it (Shikibu, 83). Aoi likens Genji to a visitor rather than a husband when he goes to see her. She resists Genji through verbal reproaches and withholds her affection towards him (Shikibu 83). This is contrary to Tono Chunjo's description of a good wife, whom he saysthat she should not confront her husband when he misbehaves but she should only use delicate hints to alert him as this will make him feel guilty and mend his ways (Shikibu 38).
This suggestion seems farfetched and quite unpractical in this context as Aoi never has any kind words for her husband's negligence and lack of affection. Although Tono Chunjo and his friends seem to classify women according to their family's financial and social backgrounds, they agree that rank and beauty are not of much significance and give preference to less demanding women (Shikibu 36). Less demanding women as seen in the tale of Genji allow men to use them as sex objects as seen throughout Genji's numerous love affairs.
In the tale of Genji demonstrates that the bond between a husband and wife is a strong one by first drawing a picture of Genji's unhappy marriage to his wife Aoi, which is characterized by Genji's lack of interest in his wife's well being and happiness as he constantly engages in numerous fruitless love affairs that only hurt his wife. Genji suddenly discovers that he still loves his wife and tries to show affection to her when it is already too late and she is about to die as a result of oppression from evil spirits that had constantly haunted her. He stays home after she delivers her baby boy and still feels strong desire to see her although she is too week and emaciated. He looks at her, condemning himself for feeling dissatisfied with her over the years (Shikibu 84).
On the other hand, Genji's wife is filled with admiration for her husband as he shows affection to her by preparing medicine for her. She equally realizes that she still loves him despite the mental and emotional anguish that he has caused her (Shikibu 86). Furthermore, Genji's love for his wife becomes evident after her death. He is depressed as he goes through sleepless nights thinking over the years he spent with his wife and condemning himself for the suffering and anger that he has caused her over the years. He constantly blames himself for letting his wife carry her hostility to the grave and cries for several days as he secludes himself from other people for seven weeks after the memorial services were over.
In conclusion, Genji's anguish, depression and guilt feelings after death of his wife shows that the bond between a husband and wife is a strong one that persists even after death.