Ukifune (浮舟, うきふね) is both the title of the last chapter of The Tale of Genji and the nickname of a related character (her real name is unknown), meaning a drifting or floating boat.
The character Ukifune
Ukifune plays the central role in the last part of The Tale of Genji.
Ukifune is the unrecognized daughter of the Eighth Prince, and is the half sister of Oigimi and Nakanokimi. She lives with her mother at a distance from the royal court, unbeknownst to her the reality of her birth and situation.
Ukifune, who was loved by both Kaoru and Prince Niou, had secretly been agonizing by the indecision of the situation. Eventually in order to release herself from the triangular love affair, she attempted suicide by throwing herself into the Uji River but was unsuccessful. Having been rescued, she became a nun and secluded herself in Ono, at the western foot of Mount Hiei. She refuses to see Kaoru again, where the entire story of Genji comes to an end.
Ukifune has often been a subject of many works, including a noh piece of the same title.
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