According to Richard Bowring, Minamoto no Takaakira (914-82) was most likely the “historical figure who Murasaki had in mind when she created her hero [Genji].” Made a commoner in 920, Minamoto no Takaakira “rose to the position of Minister of the Left, incurred Fujiwara displeasure and, as we have already mentioned, was exiled in 969, accused of plotting against the government.”
Bowring also notes in this essay that Murasaki’s technique is to give the story legitimacy by beginning it in the style of the Nihongi. But “as we progress through the work this historical crutch become less and less important, and indeed less and less tenable, as Genji eventually fathers an emperor, but in the early stages it certainly plays its part . . . [it is a] technique designed to increase the verisimilitude of the fictional work; it is a matter of legitimization, of filling it with so many signs of the public domain that the illusion is created that the fiction itself is of the same ilk.” It might be interesting to compare this with Tanizaki`s own ideas on giving fictional works a kind of legitimacy by presenting them as fact (嘘を本当らしく書く）.