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Kaoru is a fictional character in The Tale of Genji  (Genji Monogatari). Kaoru has sometimes been called the first anti-hero in literature. Kaoru is known for having a strange but pleasant smell always around him.
He is the son of Hikaru Genji's wife, "Third Princess" (known as Onna san no miya in the Seidensticker version, or Nyōsan in Waley's), and Genji's nephew Kashiwagi. Kaoru is known to the world as Genji's son even though he was in fact fathered by Genji's nephew. Genji is aware of the affair by his wife and nephew Kashiwagi. However, this does not crush him because he feels that perhaps this is karma, for Genji himself is committing adultery with his step-mother Fujitsubo.
In the final chapters of the Tale of Genji abruptly end, with Kaoru wondering if the lady he loves, Ukifune, is being hidden away by Niou, an imperial prince and the son of Genji's daughter, the current Empress now that Reizei has abdicated the throne.
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