- 1. A Shochiku Production
- 2. Japan Art Festival Entry
37th Year of Showa Era (1962)
- 3. "In the year 1630,
- 4. "13th day of May.
- 5. "Fair skies.
- 6. "Extremely hot
from early on in the day."
- 7. Iyi Clan Journal
- 8. "At 10 in the morning,
- 9. "... pays a visit to the Kandabashi
mansion of the Honourable Lord doi,
- 10. "to present fresh river trout
from the Shirakawa River,
- 11. "which arrived from our domain.
- 12. "No other official business to record.
- 13. "However,
at about four in the afternoon,
- 14. "a samurai claiming
to be a former retainer
- 15. "of the Fukushima Clan
- 16. "appeared at our gate."
- 17. Produced by HOSOYA Tatsuo
- 18. Original Story by TAKIGUCHI Yasuhiko
- 19. Screenplay by HASHIMOTO Shinobu
- 20. Cinematography by MIYAJIMA Yoshio
- 21. Music by TAKEMITSU Toru
- 22. Tatsuya
- 23. Akira, IWASHITA Shima
- 24. Tetsuro
- 25. Masao, NAKATANI Ichiro
- 26. Kei, INABA Yoshio, AOKI Yoshiro
- 27. Rentaro
- 28. directed by KOBAYASHI Masaki
- 29. Soto Sakurada-machi, Edo
- 30. Official Residence of the Iyi Clan
- 31. You were a retainer of the former
Fukushima Clan in Hiroshima?
- 32. Correct.
- 33. My name is Tsugumo Hanshiro.
- 34. Written with the character "Tsu"
- 35. and "Gumo" for "cloud".
- 36. What is the nature of your visit?
- 37. The house of my master fell in 1619.
- 38. Subsequently, I left the domain
and moved here to Edo,
- 39. where I found shelter
in a back-alley tenement.
- 40. While eking out a meagre living,
- 41. I sought connections
for employment with a new master.
- 42. But try as I might,
we live now in times of peace,
- 43. and my every effort
has been in vain.
- 44. Failing to find employment
and with little to do,
- 45. he finds himself in dire straits
- 46. and believes that
he can endure it no further.
- 47. Rather than live on
in such poverty and disgrace,
- 48. he wishes to die honourably
by committing harakiri
- 49. and asks for permission
to use our forecourt.
- 50. Such is his request, sire.
- 51. Not again?
- 52. Will it never stop?
- 53. How shall I respond, sire?
- 54. Fine. Show him in, then.
- 55. This way.
- 56. Please enter.
- 57. Thank you.
- 58. I am a former retainer
- 59. of Lord Fukushima Masanori
- 60. Tsugumo Hanshiro by name.
- 61. I respectfully beg your favour.
- 62. I am senior counsellor
of the House of Iyi, Saito Kageyu.
- 63. I am much obliged
for this immediate interview.
- 64. The purpose of my visit...
- 65. I've already been told
of your request.
- 66. Rather than live on in endless poverty,
idly waiting for death,
- 67. you wish to end your life
in a manner befitting a samurai.
- 68. I believe that was the gist of it.
- 69. Indeed.
- 70. In these times,
your resolve is truly admirable.
- 71. I can only express
the highest esteem.
- 72. You mentioned that you served
the former Lord Fukushima.
- 73. did you happen to know a man
named Chijiiwa Motome?
- 74. Chijiiwa?
- 75. Yes.
- 76. Well...
- 77. You don't recognise the name?
- 78. I'm quite certain he said he'd served
the former Lord Fukushima.
- 79. In its prosperous days,
the clan's retainers
- 80. numbered some 12,000 men.
- 81. One could hardly know them all.
- 82. I see.
- 83. But never mind that.
- 84. Earlier this year,
perhaps around the end of January,
- 85. this ronin named Chijiiwa Motome
- 86. The purpose of his visit
was the same as yours.
- 87. He requested the use of our forecourt
to dispatch himself with honour.
- 88. Is that so?
- 89. Would you like me to tell you
what happened in that case?
- 90. I would indeed.
- 91. You say you were a retainer
- 92. of the former Fukushima Clan
- 93. Correct.
- 94. I served the former
Lord Fukushima Masanori of Hiroshima.
- 95. My name is Chijiiwa Motome.
- 96. And what is the nature
of your visit?
- 97. After the fall of my master's house,
- 98. I moved here to Edo and found
shelter in a back-alley tenement.
- 99. While eking out a meagre living,
- 100. I sought connections
for employment with a new master.
- 101. But try as I might,
we live in times of peace,
- 102. and my every effort
has been in vain.
- 103. So now it seems it's our turn.
- 104. How shall we respond?
- 105. Let me think.
- 106. It's amazing how such foolishness
can take hold.
- 107. Blame it on what
the Sengoku Clan did.
- 108. - Say what you will, that was a mistake.
- No, Yazaki.
- 109. - That's not necessarily true.
- Why not?
- 110. The fellow who went
to the Sengoku house
- 111. was serious about
- 112. There was nothing dishonourable
about his intent.
- 113. It was precisely because
they were touched by his sincerity
- 114. that the Sengoku house decided
to take him in as a back-room retainer.
- 115. That was good.
They made the right decision.
- 116. The problem is the shameless
imitators who have followed.
- 117. They have no intention whatsoever
of performing harakiri,
- 118. and just because they're hurting
a little for food and clothing,
- 119. they show up at our gate
to practise their pathetic extortion.
- 120. We can't very well allow him
to disembowel himself in our gateway.
- 121. Our only choice is to follow
the example of other clans,
- 122. and give him a little something
and ask him to leave.
- 123. No. That will not do.
- 124. If we give him money
and send him away,
- 125. he'll soon be followed by others.
- 126. One after the other,
- 127. like ants drawn to a mound of sugar.
- 128. Ever since the Battle of Sekigahara,
- 129. Edo has been teeming
with masterless samurai.
- 130. They're like wild dogs
roving about in search of prey.
- 131. Think what people will say...
- 132. "Everybody thought that
the House of Iyi had backbone,
- 133. "so up until now,
the ronin avoided their gate.
- 134. "But look what they've done now.
- 135. "They boast of their martial valour,
- 136. "but this is a time of peace,
- 137. "so they're just living
through yesterday's dreams."
- 138. Would you have such derisive chatter
spreading all over Edo?
- 139. Especially when our lord
is away in his domain.
- 140. Under no circumstances
- 141. can we allow a stain
on our lord's name while he's away.
- 142. Giving him money
and asking him to leave,
- 143. such lily-livered nonsense
is out of the question.
- 144. He hasn't the slightest intention
of killing himself,
- 145. yet he speaks of honourable harakiri.
- 146. Counsellor!
- 147. If I may...
- 148. My apologies for keeping you waiting.
- 149. I am Kawabe Umenosuke,
a member of Lord Iyi's mounted guard.
- 150. My name is Chijiiwa Motome,
a ronin from Hiroshima.
- 151. Kindly come with me.
- 152. - Excuse me?
- I am to show you to the bath.
- 153. Since Lord Iyi is at present
away in his domain,
- 154. Counsellor Saito
conveyed your request
- 155. to His Lordship's son,
- 156. He finds your resolve
- 157. and wishes to grant you
an immediate audience.
- 158. So... I am to have an audience
with Master Bennosuke?
- 159. Correct.
- 160. I must beg your pardon,
but your present attire will not do.
- 161. While you refresh yourself
in the bath,
- 162. we'll arrange for some new robes
- 163. I place myself in your hands.
- 164. Your kindness overwhelms me.
- 165. I must be dreaming.
- 166. This is so...
- 167. Almost...
- 168. Pardon me.
- 169. My apologies
for keeping you waiting so long.
- 170. I must ask you to change again.
- 171. Your robes.
- 172. Is something wrong?
- 173. What about my audience
with Master Bennosuke?
- 174. I was told
I'd be granted an audience.
- 175. I don't believe so.
- 176. - You must have misunderstood.
- No, I'm quite certain.
- 177. That was the word I received
from Kawabe of the mounted guard.
- 178. Kawabe?
- 179. Now that you mention it...
- 180. That must be it.
- 181. So I'm not mistaken?
- 182. I believe I understand.
- 183. When Counsellor Saito conveyed
your desire to Master Bennosuke,
- 184. he noted how rare it was these days
to find men with such a sense of honour.
- 185. "I would like to add this man
to the ranks of our retainers", he said.
- 186. "But when a man declares that
he wishes to cut his belly open,
- 187. "it can only come
from a most profound resolve.
- 188. "I am sure it would be no use
trying to dissuade him.
- 189. "Grant him his final wish.
- 190. "I would like to meet this man
of uncommon valour
- 191. "and tell him how much
I admire his purpose.
- 192. "Unfortunately I am scheduled to go
to Lord doi's residence at this hour.
- 193. "Extend to him every courtesy
of this house,
- 194. "and have all our retainers
witness his final act,
- 195. "that they may remember it
as a proud example."
- 196. Such were Master Bennosuke's words,
I was told.
- 197. Tell me, what do you think
of this story?
- 198. A most interesting tale,
- 199. worthy of the famous red armour
that symbolises the House of Iyi
- 200. and its reputation
for great martial valour.
- 201. May I ask what your intentions are?
- 202. You mean...
- 203. about this?
- 204. Exactly.
- 205. You may set your mind at ease.
- 206. I came here
with every intention of dying.
- 207. Well, well.
- 208. A most admirable resolve.
- 209. In that case, Master Tsugumo...
- 210. perhaps I should recount for you
- 211. a little more of Chijiiwa Motome's story.
- 212. By all means.
- 213. Now then,
we must be aware of the time.
- 214. Please change into those robes.
- 215. All other arrangements
are already in place
- 216. for a harakiri ceremony
with all the proper formalities.
- 217. I have a request.
- 218. I must beg a brief respite.
- 219. Respite?
- 220. I will not run or hide.
I will return to this house.
- 221. But I beg you
for a day or two respite.
- 222. I'm afraid it's too late for that.
- 223. - But this is absurd!
- 224. We made the harakiri arrangements
at your own request.
- 225. My most abject apologies!
- 226. Just a day or two respite.
I will return without fail.
- 227. A samurai's word is his bond.
- 228. There can be no delay!
- 229. Master swordsman Yazaki Hayato.
- 230. Fit and eager,
his skills honed to perfection.
- 231. One false step
and he'll cut you in two.
- 232. The others will descend on you as well.
- 233. Rather than being chopped up
like a dead fish,
- 234. perform harakiri
and die like a samurai.
- 235. Now, change into those robes.
- 236. O, ancestors of the House of Iyi,
- 237. I must beg your forgiveness
for defiling the mansion courtyard
- 238. with unworthy ronin blood.
- 239. I do this to preserve
the honour of this house,
- 240. as well as that
of the Tokugawa family
- 241. and of the samurai code itself.
- 242. I beg you to be witness
to my decision.
- 243. His short blade is the same.
- 244. Look at it.
- 245. It wouldn't cut tofu.
- 246. He sells off his soul as a samurai,
replacing his blades with bamboo,
- 247. and then says he wants
to perform harakiri?
- 248. The nerve of the man!
- 249. Everything is in place
for the ceremony to begin.
- 250. Master Chijiiwa Motome...
- 251. Rather than wait for death
in dire poverty,
- 252. you've declared your wish
to die honourably by harakiri.
- 253. It is a commendable decision.
- 254. You are an example for all samurai.
- 255. I am ashamed to admit it,
- 256. but even in this house
known for martial valour
- 257. since our ancestor Naomasa's day,
- 258. the resolve you've shown
is seen but rarely.
- 259. So they may witness
the noble demise of a true warrior
- 260. and engrave its lasting impression
upon their minds,
- 261. I've ordered all retainers
of this household to attend.
- 262. May your heart be at peace.
- 263. I beg of you!
- 264. What is it?
- 265. I beg for a brief respite,
a day or two's grace!
- 266. I swear I will not run or hide.
I'll return to this spot without fail!
- 267. Please! I implore you!
- 268. This is most unexpected.
- 269. I've heard lately of incidents
all across Edo
- 270. in which ronin, who don't deserve
to call themselves samurai,
- 271. demand the use of a clan's forecourt
to commit harakiri,
- 272. but are happy to walk away
in exchange for a few coins.
- 273. Surely you're not...
- 274. Absolutely not, sir.
- 275. No, no.
- 276. Of course not.
- 277. I'd never believe that a man
of your noble character and mien
- 278. could be such
a despicable extortionist.
- 279. Now then.
- 280. You may proceed.
- 281. Unworthy as I am,
I shall be your second.
- 282. I am an exponent
of the Shindo-Munen-Ichi school.
- 283. I imagine you are aware,
but let me note just to be sure.
- 284. The rite of harakiri
has changed over time.
- 285. In recent years,
it is often harakiri in name only.
- 286. The subject reaches for the blade
on the wooden stand,
- 287. and his second immediately
strikes off his head.
- 288. In other words,
there is no disembowelment at all,
- 289. and in fact sometimes
the stand holds not a short sword
- 290. but only a folding fan.
- 291. However,
- 292. our proceedings today will not sink
to such debased and empty forms.
- 293. We shall adhere strictly
to the traditional ways.
- 294. Is that understood?
- 295. You will rip your bowels open
crosswise, like this.
- 296. Once I see you have done so,
I will strike off your head.
- 297. Until I'm satisfied
you've fully torn open your bowels,
- 298. I will not bring down my sword.
- 299. Is that understood? Now then.
- 300. It is your own sword.
That is the blade you will use.
- 301. A samurai's sword is his soul.
- 302. No blade could be more fitting
for this purpose than your own.
- 303. Come. What keeps you?
- 304. Proceed!
- 305. Strike me!
- 306. No, not yet!
- 307. Pull your blade across!
- 308. Why do you delay?
- 309. draw your blade across!
Pull it to the right!
- 310. I suppose he had no other recourse,
- 311. but even so,
to bite off his tongue?
- 312. Would you say he was being
resourceful or just unseemly?
- 313. Then again,
- 314. who in his right mind attempts
harakiri with just a bamboo sword?
- 315. Now then...
- 316. What are your intentions?
- 317. You mean...
- 318. about this?
- 319. The account I've just given you
- 320. of Chijiiwa Motome's fate
is true in every detail.
- 321. Take my advice, Master Tsugumo.
- 322. Quietly take your leave.
- 323. You need have
no such concerns with me.
- 324. Unlike this Chijiiwa fellow...
- 325. the sword in my belt
is not made of bamboo.
- 326. I will not bite off my tongue,
- 327. I will disembowel myself
in grand form.
- 328. Very well.
- 329. Master Tsugumo,
- 330. since you are unswerving in
your resolve, I shall grant your wish.
- 331. - Attendant!
- 332. This ronin from Hiroshima,
Master Tsugumo Hanshiro,
- 333. is to be granted use of the courtyard
to perform harakiri.
- 334. His present dress will not do.
- 335. Give him fresh robes befitting one
who journeys to the next world...
- 336. If I may.
- 337. What is it?
- 338. Please do not trouble yourselves
over such things.
- 339. For the final moments
of a down-and-out ronin like myself...
- 340. surely nothing is more fitting
than the clothes I now wear.
- 341. I am deeply grateful for the courteous
and considerate treatment
- 342. that you have accorded me today.
- 343. I can find no adequate words
to thank you.
- 344. Thus, I shall begin.
- 345. Might I ask, Counsellor,
- 346. who will be serving as my second?
- 347. I have assigned Shinmen Ichiro.
- 348. Master Shinmen?
- 349. did you wish for someone else?
- 350. Yes, sir.
- 351. I would like to request
Master Omodaka Hikokuro.
- 352. You request Hikokuro?
- 353. I believe he's a retainer in this house.
- 354. I've heard he's trained
in the Shindo-Munen-Ichi school.
- 355. Indeed.
- 356. Hikokuro is a fine choice.
- 357. Hikokuro?
- 358. I'm afraid he's not
in attendance today.
- 359. He sent a note saying he's ill
and requesting a few days' rest.
- 360. I see. That's too bad.
- 361. Master Tsugumo,
- 362. as you heard,
Omodaka is not present today.
- 363. You will need to make another choice.
- 364. That is most disappointing.
- 365. I had my heart set on Master Omodaka
performing the service.
- 366. I wonder if I might not beg
his special consideration.
- 367. Well, he says he's ill,
but he seemed fine yesterday.
- 368. Surely it can't be anything serious.
- 369. Messenger!
- 370. Make all due haste
to Omodaka's residence.
- 371. Tell him to come immediately,
if his illness permits. Now hurry.
- 372. I'm putting you
to a great deal of trouble.
- 373. Please accept my apologies.
- 374. Now then,
- 375. do you wish to wait here?
- 376. Or would you like
to come inside and relax?
- 377. No.
- 378. The comfort of your residence
might cause my resolve to waver.
- 379. My journey into eternity mustn't
grow distasteful. I shall remain here.
- 380. You display remarkable discipline.
- 381. I can but express my admiration.
- 382. If I may, Counsellor,
- 383. it could be quite tedious for us both
to sit here and wait in silence.
- 384. To pass the time,
- 385. perhaps you'll allow me
to tell you a little about myself.
- 386. About yourself?
- 387. Yes.
- 388. The hardscrabble tales of a half-starved
ronin don't amount to much,
- 389. but what befalls others today
- 390. may be your own fate tomorrow.
- 391. Perhaps your retainers
- 392. will find some small point or two
- 393. among my otherwise
- 394. "What befalls others today
may be your own fate tomorrow"?
- 395. Well, this could be amusing.
- 396. I want everyone here
to listen carefully.
- 397. The words of one
staring death in the face...
- 398. are unlikely to be
- 399. I'm sure we'll all learn something.
- 400. Counsellor.
- 401. That tale you related earlier...
- 402. may I be assured
it was true in every detail?
- 403. Indeed.
- 404. The ronin from Hiroshima
named Chijiiwa Motome
- 405. was a man
of some acquaintance to me.
- 406. Chijiiwa Motome...
- 407. was a man
of some acquaintance to me.
- 408. Motome was a lad of 15,
- 409. and my daughter Miho
was an angelic child of 11.
- 410. That was 11 years ago.
- 411. But when I close my eyes,
- 412. their images come back to me vividly,
as if it were only yesterday.
- 413. - My turn again.
- Never mind.
- 414. All we do is count stones all day
to repair the castle walls.
- 415. We won't need bows and arrows
for a long while.
- 416. "The world is at peace.
The four seas are calm."
- 417. Incidentally, this coming 22nd
- 418. is the seventh anniversary
of Nui's passing.
- 419. I knew it was soon,
but is it seven years already?
- 420. Yes, and I'm planning
a modest ceremony at my residence.
- 421. - But don't bring any offerings.
- Very well.
- 422. I can hardly believe it.
- 423. Seven years already.
- 424. What never ceases to amaze me
- 425. is how a rough warrior like you
- 426. has managed to raise Miho all these
years without taking a second wife.
- 427. Jinnai... look who's talking!
- 428. When your Yuki died, I wondered
how you would ever manage.
- 429. But look at you.
- 430. You're a perfect example
of the kite begetting a hawk.
- 431. Kite begetting a hawk?
- 432. You were the widower kite,
- 433. doting on your child
in every aspect of his upbringing.
- 434. And lo and behold,
- 435. the child grew not into a kite
but a magnificent young hawk.
- 436. Nonsense!
- 437. He certainly keeps growing,
but he's got a long way to go
- 438. before you can compare him
to a hawk soaring overhead.
- 439. I never figured either of us would be
good for anything but battlefield laurels,
- 440. but we haven't done too badly
at raising our children.
- 441. Had life gone on like that,
all would have been well.
- 442. But it was not to be.
- 443. When all is said and done,
- 444. our lives are like houses
built on foundations of sand.
- 445. One strong wind and all is gone.
- 446. How my master's house
with its 498,000-koku domain
- 447. was brought to ruin...
- 448. I'm sure you already know
even better than I do myself.
- 449. due to an unreasonable judgement
by the Tokugawa shogunate
- 450. regarding the repairs being performed
on Hiroshima Castle,
- 451. in June 1619,
- 452. my master, Fukushima Masanori,
was ordered into exile at Kawanakajima,
- 453. leaving his 12,000 retainers
without any means of livelihood...
- 454. through no fault of their own.
- 455. Jinnai!
- 456. To Tsugumo Hanshiro
- 457. "In view of our long-standing friendship,
I ask your indulgence in the following.
- 458. "The castle repairs commissioner,
- 459. "the Honourable
- 460. "will be electing death at any moment.
- 461. "Therefore, I will precede him
on his journey.
- 462. "My company alone will suffice,
- 463. "I beg you not to follow.
- 464. "Regarding my only child, Motome,
- 465. "he has grown tall,
but he is still only 15.
- 466. "Please look after him
as he finds his way in life."
- 467. Why was he so hasty?
- 468. Committing harakiri
even before I have done so.
- 469. Hanshiro, I forbid you to follow.
- 470. If the house could still be saved,
I would allow it.
- 471. But with the house abolished,
it would be pointless.
- 472. - Jinnai's company will suffice.
- But, sire...
- 473. don't be foolish, Hanshiro.
- 474. Jinnai died because he knew
you would if he didn't.
- 475. He died to accompany me
on your behalf as well.
- 476. Which means, Hanshiro,
that you must now live on.
- 477. Both for you and for Jinnai.
- 478. Also for his son, Motome.
Who will look after him if not you?
- 479. I go now to meet Jinnai.
- 480. Hanshiro, is there anything
you'd like me to tell Jinnai?
- 481. do you have nothing for me
to say to him?
- 482. Tell Jinnai...
- 483. Tell Jinnai this.
- 484. Have no fears about Motome.
- 485. I will watch over his path
- 486. I will not fail him.
I swear this on my life.
- 487. Go on, Master Tsugumo.
- 488. What did you find out?
- 489. It seems his illness
is indeed most serious.
- 490. What is the nature of his ailment?
- 491. According to his family,
- 492. a high fever and excruciating pains
in all his joints.
- 493. Go on.
- 494. I asked if I might visit him
at his bedside,
- 495. but he sent word back
that his pain was so great
- 496. that he did not wish to be seen
in his present state.
- 497. All I could do was convey
the message you sent and return.
- 498. It seems
there's nothing we can do.
- 499. Perhaps he was overcome
by the relentless heat of recent days.
- 500. Master Tsugumo,
you heard what he said.
- 501. I must ask you to select
someone else as your second.
- 502. I am sorely disappointed,
but it appears I have no choice.
- 503. In that case...
- 504. I would ask for Master Yazaki Hayato.
- 505. Hayato?
- 506. Inaba, am I to believe he too has
been absent these four or five days?
- 507. Correct, sire.
- 508. He requested leave
because he wasn't feeling well.
- 509. Master Tsugumo,
- 510. I'm afraid Yazaki Hayato
is also absent due to illness.
- 511. Master Yazaki is also ill?
- 512. I'm sorry to hear that.
- 513. Again, it seems I have no choice.
- 514. Then I request
Master Kawabe Umenosuke.
- 515. Counsellor,
- 516. surely it's not possible
- 517. that Master Kawabe is also
under the weather?
- 518. Well, well.
- 519. It seems he is indeed indisposed.
- 520. All three of them unavailable
on this particular day,
- 521. what a very odd coincidence.
- 522. Most curious.
- 523. - He's up to something.
- Clearly so.
- 524. Hikokuro was the one
who first insisted
- 525. that Chijiiwa Motome be forced
to go through with harakiri.
- 526. Yazaki was the one
- 527. who discovered his blades were
bamboo and insisted he use them,
- 528. and Kawabe was quick to agree.
- 529. That's why I urged that he at least
be spared the bamboo blade...
- 530. - Of what good is that now?
- Indeed, sire.
- 531. But how shall we deal with him?
- 532. I doubt he intends
to meekly disembowel himself.
- 533. He obviously has something
up his sleeve.
- 534. Whatever it is...
- 535. he won't get away with it.
- 536. We'll force his hand
and make him commit harakiri.
- 537. In fact, if he refuses,
- 538. we'll fall upon him
and cut him down.
- 539. What happens within the walls
of this compound...
- 540. is as secret as what happens
behind the walls of our own castle.
- 541. One signal from me
and everyone will know what to do.
- 542. But I'm bothered about Hikokuro
and the other two.
- 543. I need to send someone
to find out more.
- 544. Under the circumstances,
- 545. I'd like you personally
to find out the real story.
- 546. Master Tsugumo...
- 547. Summer days are long,
but the hour advances.
- 548. I must ask you to proceed
without further delay.
- 549. But, Counsellor,
- 550. the ritual cannot take place
without a second.
- 551. I understand your concern,
- 552. but I've discussed the matter
with my senior colleagues.
- 553. With all three men of your choice ailing,
we cannot accommodate your wishes.
- 554. You will have to accept our selection.
- 555. Shinmen Ichiro!
- 556. I command you to serve
as second for Master Tsugumo.
- 557. Perform your duty with care.
- 558. I must protest!
- 559. To act as my second,
- 560. I have named three
specially selected men.
- 561. I must have one of these three.
- 562. Are you perhaps deaf?
- 563. All three you name are ill
and are not present today.
- 564. I explained this very clearly.
did you not hear?
- 565. Then in that case,
I have no choice.
- 566. I must call off my harakiri for now.
- 567. Enough, Tsugumo Hanshiro!
- 568. Your scheme for extortion
has gone too far.
- 569. It's bad enough to march in here
demanding a place to perform harakiri.
- 570. But then you quibble endlessly
over naming your second.
- 571. You never intended to commit harakiri.
- 572. All you really want is money...
- 573. Counsellor!
- 574. If I were the extortionist you say,
- 575. would I be calmly sitting here
on this platform?
- 576. - Then why do you not quietly proceed?
- I am fully prepared to die.
- 577. But cutting my belly open
does not in itself
- 578. ensure a smooth passage
to the netherworld.
- 579. I need someone to expeditiously
strike off my head,
- 580. a swordsman of reliable skill.
- 581. I do not commit harakiri
to atone for a crime.
- 582. The least I can expect
is to choose my own second!
- 583. Further debate on the matter...
- 584. is clearly a waste of time.
- 585. You are a fraud,
a disgrace to our class.
- 586. You never intended
to commit harakiri!
- 587. Insolent dog!
- 588. Wait!
- 589. Hold back!
Wait, I say!
- 590. I beg of all those present
- 591. a moment, a brief moment.
- 592. You can't possibly have
anything more to say.
- 593. But I do.
I do have more to say.
- 594. I haven't finished my story.
- 595. I have no ears
for your endless ramblings.
- 596. Counsellor!
- 597. If you force me to,
- 598. I will fight desperately to the death,
no matter the odds against me.
- 599. Some of your men
will be wounded undeservedly.
- 600. Some may even lose their lives!
- 601. Would it not be better
to simply hear me out?
- 602. Once I have finished my story,
- 603. I will disembowel myself
without further ado.
- 604. Or if you feel harakiri
is too good for me,
- 605. you may turn your men on me
to do what they will.
- 606. In any event,
- 607. I would first like you to hear
what I have to say.
- 608. As to these conditions you stipulate,
do I have your word?
- 609. You have my word.
- 610. And as a samurai,
you will hold true to it?
- 611. Very well, but make it short.
- 612. I will not listen
to your useless mutterings for long.
- 613. Men, fall back.
- 614. Now, where was I?
- 615. Oh, yes...
- 616. My master's house fell
and Chijiiwa Jinnai died.
- 617. But before doing so,
- 618. he asked me
to look after Motome.
- 619. When my master's house fell,
- 620. we immediately left the domain
and moved to Edo.
- 621. The streets of Edo
were crowded with ronin,
- 622. flotsam from the Battle of Sekigahara.
- 623. In former times, other clans would
have gladly taken in any ronin
- 624. who'd earned a name for himself.
- 625. But in an era no longer in need
of warriors or horses,
- 626. so peaceful that no wind even
rustled the leaves on the trees,
- 627. it was a constant struggle
simply to find a meal.
- 628. Indeed, it shames me to recall
- 629. our miserable lives
over these last eight or nine years.
- 630. But amidst all our hardships,
- 631. my daughter Miho was rapidly
becoming a woman,
- 632. and soon it was the spring
of her 18th year.
- 633. Father.
- 634. I've set out your lunch
in case I'm not back in time.
- 635. The greatest delicacies
taste of nothing when eaten alone.
- 636. If you're not back, I'll wait.
- 637. I'll collect the money for these
- 638. and then stop by Yoshizakicho
for some dried fish.
- 639. Good day!
- 640. Welcome, sir.
- 641. Busy as usual, eh? On your way out?
- 642. Yes, to the wholesaler
- 643. The Mikawaya, I suppose.
- 644. Practice makes perfect.
- 645. You've become very deft at that.
- 646. Forgive me.
- 647. I hate asking you
for advances all the time,
- 648. but my earnings
refuse to catch up.
- 649. You disarm me by beating me to it.
- 650. I came intending
to lodge a complaint or two,
- 651. but now that you've made
the first move...
- 652. what can I say?
- 653. By the way,
- 654. what are your thoughts on that matter
I raised the other day?
- 655. Have you come to a decision?
- 656. Yes, I have decided.
- 657. Glad to hear it.
- 658. That takes a load off my mind.
- 659. No...
- 660. I appreciate your proposal
- 661. but I've decided to decline.
- 662. In the end, her adoption
by the Joshuya family
- 663. would be a mere pretext
lasting perhaps six months.
- 664. Once established
as a member of their family,
- 665. she'd be sent to Lord Sakakibara
as his concubine.
- 666. Master Tsugumo,
- 667. the Sakakibara are a noble family
with a domain of 110,000 koku.
- 668. It may seem odd to seek benefit
from your daughter's connections,
- 669. but you need do nothing
and doors will open to you.
- 670. I understand that.
- 671. But, Master Seibei, no matter
how much I've fallen on hard times,
- 672. I cannot profit from making
my daughter a concubine.
- 673. It's fine to uphold your pride.
- 674. But as a parent, you must consider
your daughter's feelings too.
- 675. What?
- 676. She's young and beautiful,
- 677. yet she doesn't have
a single fancy kimono to wear.
- 678. She can only look forward to endless
days of slaving at her father's side.
- 679. Master Tsugumo,
you can't fight the world you live in
- 680. nor go against
the tide of the times.
- 681. It's a good proposal
for both Miho and for you,
- 682. no matter which way you look at it.
- 683. In fact, to be honest,
- 684. is it not precisely because Miho
was blessed with such beauty
- 685. that an avenue like this
remains open to you?
- 686. Confucius said:
- 687. "He who knows not the will of heaven
is not a superior man."
- 688. "He who knows not proper decorum
must not rise to his feet."
- 689. "He who knows not the heart of words
cannot know the heart of man."
- 690. That will be all for today.
- 691. Thank you, sir. Goodbye.
- 692. Hey, Katsuzo,
let's go sparrow-hunting today!
- 693. Hello, Uncle Hanshiro.
- 694. It's good to see you.
- 695. Some tea?
- 696. - Much obliged.
- Not at all.
- 697. I know this house well enough
at least to put water on to boil.
- 698. As it happens, Motome,
- 699. I came today to discuss
a matter of some weight.
- 700. You sound so formal, Uncle.
What could it be?
- 701. How quickly the days
and months fly by.
- 702. Miho is now 18.
- 703. She looks more
like her mother every day.
- 704. In fact, it's hard to see...
how she could possibly be of my blood.
- 705. If she'd taken after me,
she'd never have grown so beautiful.
- 706. Uncle... what are you trying to say?
- 707. Well... Motome...
- 708. I'd like you to take Miho
as your wife.
- 709. I realise this is all very sudden,
- 710. but what do you think?
- 711. Motome?
- 712. Uncle, you know as well as I
the state of my livelihood at present.
- 713. I offer classes in the Chinese classics
to a handful of children
- 714. and live from hand to mouth.
- 715. How could I possibly take a wife?
- 716. do you dislike Miho?
- 717. All I'm asking is
how you feel about her.
- 718. It's not only because of the promise
I made to your father
- 719. that I hope you'll marry Miho.
- 720. Boorish and dull as I am,
- 721. I'm not entirely insensitive
to your feelings for each other.
- 722. It was more difficult than I expected
to persuade Motome.
- 723. I didn't realise he had such
a stubborn and wilful streak.
- 724. But I knew he loved Miho,
- 725. and I knew Miho would have
no objections to the match.
- 726. The crane that lives
a thousand years
- 727. A symbol of myriad joys
- 728. The tortoise that lives 10,000 years
- 729. Bears on its back the three worlds
of heaven, earth and man
- 730. The sands upon the beach
- 731. Numberless and smooth
- 732. May they ever reflect
the morning sun
- 733. After two years,
a child was born.
- 734. It was a boy,
and they named him Kingo.
- 735. Of course, I was the one
who chose the name.
- 736. Good day.
- 737. What's this? Asleep again?
- 738. Father, you're too generous.
- 739. Nonsense.
- 740. Even after I married you off,
you still cook for me.
- 741. And besides,
I now have only myself to support.
- 742. I save more money
than I know what to do with,
- 743. and I can't take it with me!
- 744. Well, well.
- 745. did you wake up?
- 746. Now, none of that,
you little rascal.
- 747. A warrior's son should not
be flashing his dimples.
- 748. What did I tell you now?
- 749. Really? Even the Matsudaira Clan
of dewa province?
- 750. That's right.
- 751. I can understand abolishing
the domains of newer vassals,
- 752. but to treat vassals who've supported
the Tokugawa for years so harshly?
- 753. The shogunate's policy towards
the daimyo is completely beyond me.
- 754. We'll see an increase
in the number of ronin.
- 755. did you hear?
- 756. One of them tried to commit harakiri
at the Sengoku Clan's gate.
- 757. A ronin named Oi Shume,
formerly of the Kurume Clan.
- 758. I heard the Sengoku
were so impressed
- 759. that they offered him employment.
- 760. That much was fine.
It's what happened next.
- 761. Yes, I heard.
- 762. Other ronin who got wind of the story
- 763. began presenting themselves at the
gates of daimyo houses all over Edo,
- 764. insisting on committing harakiri
and refusing to budge.
- 765. In order to get rid of them,
- 766. the houses offered them
money to leave.
- 767. It's a shameful turn of events.
- 768. It certainly is.
- 769. No matter how hard-pressed
they may be,
- 770. it's a despicable thing to do.
- 771. In these difficult times,
it's no help growing desperate.
- 772. Becoming too impatient
to seek employment
- 773. is a danger we must all
take care to avoid.
- 774. You are absolutely right.
- 775. If you stop worrying
about finding employment,
- 776. you can sit here like this
without answering to a superior,
- 777. at no one's beck and call.
- 778. What's the matter, little one?
- 779. It's time for his milk.
I'll nurse him.
- 780. don't give him your breast
every time he cries,
- 781. or he'll develop bad habits.
- 782. Lookee here, Kingo. Ready?
- 783. All right?
- 784. Upsy-daisy. Here we go, Kingo.
- 785. In Kanda
- 786. At the Myojin Shrine
- 787. There's a festival
- 788. This very night
- 789. Kingo was the centre of our existence,
and the three of us lived happily
- 790. with the constant sound
of warm laughter
- 791. raising peaceful ripples around us.
- 792. It truly was a time
of greater happiness
- 793. than I'd ever known in the domain.
- 794. However, good things
never last for long.
- 795. "We've been granted
to live thus far...
- 796. "But it won't last forever...
- 797. "We're destined to leave this world...
- 798. "And there's nothing untoward
- 799. One day, Miho suddenly coughed up
profuse quantities of blood.
- 800. She had always been
of weak constitution,
- 801. and with the endless burden
of our piecework labour...
- 802. she'd driven her frail body
too hard for too long.
- 803. Motome panicked.
- 804. The poor fellow.
- 805. date Clan construction site,
fifty labourers at 40 mon.
- 806. Fifty labourers at 40 mon.
- 807. Just a minute, samurai, sir!
- 808. Are you trying to get me in trouble?
- 809. There isn't enough work
even for the townsmen.
- 810. If the authorities spotted
a two-sworded labourer,
- 811. I'd be in for a real dressing-down.
- 812. Hosokawa Clan construction site,
twenty labourers at 45 mon.
- 813. Pawn Shop
- 814. Poor Motome,
- 815. he tried everything
but to no avail.
- 816. Miho was gradually wasting away.
- 817. And the worst was yet to come.
It's seared forever in my memory.
- 818. We'd just barely made it
through the end of the year,
- 819. and the plum blossoms
had begun to bloom
- 820. shortly after the beginning
of the new year.
- 821. What's wrong?
- 822. Is it Miho?
- 823. It's Kingo.
- 824. What? Kingo?
- 825. A fever.
- 826. Like he's on fire.
- 827. Why, Miho?
- 828. Why did you just sit by
until it came to this?
- 829. I thought it was an ordinary cold.
- 830. What did the doctor say?
- 831. You did have a doctor see him,
- 832. You haven't had a doctor see him?
- 833. Why haven't you had a doctor
look at him?
- 834. Kingo, fight it off.
- 835. Your grandpa,
like your mother and father,
- 836. has already sold off
everything of value.
- 837. There's not a thing,
not a thing we can do for you.
- 838. There's nothing...
- 839. nothing we can do, Kingo.
- 840. But you're the son of a samurai.
- 841. You can't let a little illness
get the better of you.
- 842. don't let it beat you.
- 843. don't let it... don't let it...
- 844. Father.
- 845. I have an idea.
- 846. What?
- 847. I need to go out.
- 848. Please look after Kingo.
- 849. What do you have in mind?
- 850. A former retainer of the Kato Clan
now lives in Nihonbashi
- 851. and makes his living
as a moneylender.
- 852. His rates are so high
I didn't dare go to him before,
- 853. but I can't worry about that anymore.
- 854. You're right. If you know such a man,
hurry and go!
- 855. I'm on my way.
- 856. I'll be back by evening at the latest.
- 857. As you can see, Miho is too weak,
- 858. so please take care of Kingo.
- 859. Of course. I know what to do.
- 860. But, Motome,
- 861. you can see
he's barely hanging on.
- 862. You must be quick,
and you mustn't fail.
- 863. I'll return by evening without fail.
- 864. Until then.
- 865. We're depending on you, Motome!
- 866. No, no, I'll do that.
- 867. It won't be long now, Kingo.
- 868. What's taking him so long?
- 869. He's getting worse.
- 870. What could Motome be doing?
- 871. No, no. Your getting up
won't do Kingo's fever any good.
- 872. Where can Motome be?
- 873. He swore he'd be back by evening.
- 874. What could he be doing?
- 875. I waited.
- 876. Every moment felt like an eternity.
- 877. But Motome did not return.
- 878. We never saw him again.
- 879. "I'll be back by evening,
so please look after Kingo."
- 880. Those were his final words
as he went out the door,
- 881. and that was the last I saw
of Chijiiwa Motome.
- 882. But then,
- 883. around nine that night,
he did return home.
- 884. Only not on his own.
- 885. He was borne home by a party
of retainers from the House of Iyi...
- 886. most courteously.
- 887. This was the request with which
Chijiiwa Motome came to us.
- 888. But our forecourt is a busy place
and would have been inconvenient,
- 889. so we offered him our courtyard and
saw to his needs with all due propriety,
- 890. thus allowing him to fulfil his wish
to commit harakiri.
- 891. We understand there have been
incidents all across Edo lately
- 892. in which ronin present themselves
at the gates of daimyo houses
- 893. and threaten to commit harakiri
unless given money.
- 894. This disgraceful practice has put
many houses at a loss as to what to do.
- 895. But now we have Chijiiwa Motome,
a samurai of true valour,
- 896. who carried out his resolve
to die honourably.
- 897. And we the members
of the Iyi Clan
- 898. responded appropriately
to facilitate his wishes.
- 899. In contrast to many disgraceful ronin
- 900. and the spineless timidity
of other daimyo households,
- 901. both parties in this instance
acted in an exemplary manner
- 902. that will open eyes
and clear the air.
- 903. It is truly an occasion
for mutual congratulations.
- 904. - We bid you...
- 905. To avoid any misunderstanding,
show the blades.
- 906. That's right.
- 907. For the record, we wish you to examine
the swords Chijiiwa was carrying.
- 908. You will note that
both blades are of bamboo.
- 909. Bamboo?
- 910. As you can see,
both are made of bamboo.
- 911. No one must accuse us later
of having switched blades.
- 912. So take a good look.
- 913. Is it clear?
- 914. In that case,
- 915. Motome must have borrowed
a blade from your household?
- 916. No, he did not.
- 917. He died magnificently
using his own blade.
- 918. Motome... killed himself
with that bamboo blade?
- 919. Exactly.
- 920. The entire household
witnessed the spectacle
- 921. of harakiri performed
with a bamboo blade.
- 922. As you may imagine,
an unsightly affair.
- 923. It would have been more fitting
for a samurai
- 924. to end his life with a true blade,
which is a warrior's soul.
- 925. - So long.
- We bid you good night.
- 926. Miho wept.
- 927. She wept...
- 928. and wept.
- 929. Motome!
- 930. Forgive me!
- 931. I had...
- 932. I had no idea.
- 933. You had even sold your blades.
- 934. For Miho's sake,
you even sold your blades.
- 935. But I...
- 936. I would never let this go.
- 937. It never entered my mind.
- 938. The stupid thing
was too dear to me...
- 939. and I clung to it.
- 940. To this stupid...
- 941. With his fever still raging
and in a coma,
- 942. Kingo died two days later.
- 943. Three days after that,
- 944. as if chasing after him,
- 945. Miho died as well.
- 946. Thus did Tsugumo Hanshiro find
himself utterly alone in the world,
- 947. having lost every last person
he had ever cared about.
- 948. Master Tsugumo,
- 949. does that conclude your story?
- 950. I suppose it does.
- 951. No...
- 952. there's one more thing.
- 953. May all those here listen carefully
to what I'm about to say.
- 954. No matter how grinding
his poverty and hunger,
- 955. for a samurai to present himself
in someone else's entryway
- 956. and declare that he wishes
to commit harakiri there
- 957. is an unspeakable act that
can in no way be excused.
- 958. Having said that...
- 959. the manner in which
the House of Iyi handled the matter...
- 960. surely left a great deal to be desired.
- 961. If a samurai risks shame and ridicule
- 962. to beg for a day or two's grace,
he must surely have good reason.
- 963. A simple inquiry
as to the reason for the request
- 964. would have told so much.
- 965. Yet with this many witnesses present...
- 966. not a single one among you
had the consideration to ask.
- 967. His wife lay on the very verge of death,
- 968. while his beloved son burned with fever,
in dire need of a doctor.
- 969. Motome no doubt wished
to explain the situation to me,
- 970. make whatever last effort
he could for his son,
- 971. before turning all further care
over to me,
- 972. and then return here
to the House of Iyi.
- 973. Tsugumo Hanshiro!
- 974. Enough of your self-serving excuses!
- 975. What?
- 976. As to Chijiiwa Motome,
- 977. the circumstances that drove him here
were no doubt complex.
- 978. But it was he who declared
his wish to commit harakiri.
- 979. What followed upon that request
may not have been what he intended,
- 980. but he reaped
what he himself sowed.
- 981. He was in no position to complain,
or to blame or condemn anyone.
- 982. At that point,
- 983. all he had to do was cast all else
aside and die a magnificent death.
- 984. To face death without wavering,
- 985. that is the true way of the samurai.
- 986. But what did this man do?
- 987. He cravenly asked
for a day or two's grace.
- 988. One might well accuse him
of having gone mad!
- 989. True enough.
- 990. Motome had indeed gone mad.
- 991. But I say good for him!
- 992. I praise him for it.
- 993. He may have been a samurai,
- 994. but he was also
a man of flesh and blood.
- 995. He could not live on air alone.
- 996. When a man has reached
the point of no return,
- 997. even one as strong as Motome will
go mad trying to protect his family,
- 998. and I would praise him for it!
- 999. They'll call him the "Bamboo Ronin".
- 1000. Not only samurai, but townspeople, too,
will scoff at his wavering.
- 1001. But let them laugh all they want.
- 1002. Who can fathom the depths
of another man's heart?
- 1003. Thanks to the shogunate's ruthless
policy of wiping out the provincial lords,
- 1004. countless samurai lost their masters
- 1005. and were cast out
to wander the depths of hell.
- 1006. How can those who never want for food
or clothing understand their misery?
- 1007. To those who find Motome loathsome
for his pleading, I ask you,
- 1008. what if you found yourself
in the same position?
- 1009. Would you do any differently?
- 1010. After all,
this thing we call samurai honour
- 1011. is ultimately nothing but a façade.
- 1012. Is that your grievance?
- 1013. - Grievance?
- Is that what you're trying to tell us?
- 1014. That samurai honour
is nothing but a façade?
- 1015. Exactly.
- 1016. "Even if I say I want
to commit harakiri,
- 1017. "they surely won't make me do it."
- 1018. Such wishful thinking
is where these ronin go wrong.
- 1019. If a man says he wants
to commit harakiri, we will let him.
- 1020. In fact, since he has proposed it
himself, we'll make sure he does.
- 1021. That is the policy of the House of Iyi.
- 1022. For us, samurai honour
is no mere façade!
- 1023. And so Tsugumo Hanshiro too
- 1024. has come here with no intention
of committing harakiri,
- 1025. but rather out of deep bitterness
- 1026. over the manner in which the Iyi Clan
treated his son-in-law Chijiiwa Motome,
- 1027. and the desire to vent
his many grudges.
- 1028. Is that what you think?
- 1029. That's not for me to say.
- 1030. You can only look into your own heart.
- 1031. But all the same,
- 1032. you have no intention
of letting me leave here alive?
- 1033. That is my decision to make.
- 1034. I need make no excuses to you.
- 1035. Counsellor,
- 1036. there is a proverb, "The suspicious
mind conjures its own demons."
- 1037. do you know it?
- 1038. When I say I will disembowel myself,
I truly mean it.
- 1039. Yet, even after all I have said,
you still refuse to...
- 1040. Suppose I were to go on living,
- 1041. what could I possibly have
to look forward to?
- 1042. The fact is, I can hardly wait
to join Motome and Miho and Kingo
- 1043. in that world to which
they have preceded me.
- 1044. But I would never be able
to look them in the face
- 1045. were I to go empty-handed.
- 1046. I think you can understand that.
- 1047. I thought perhaps
once I had explained,
- 1048. even members of the Iyi Clan would
surely say, "So that's how it was?
- 1049. "Perhaps we were overzealous that day
in pressing towards that end.
- 1050. "Anyone can see that our handling
of the situation was less than ideal.
- 1051. "In some ways,
perhaps we carried things too far.
- 1052. "No doubt both parties could have
conducted themselves to better effect."
- 1053. If I could take with me
even a single word in this vein,
- 1054. it would be a comfort to Motome.
- 1055. Was this not the most fitting gift
I could hope to offer him?
- 1056. Such were my thoughts!
- 1057. But I see now it was nothing
but wishful thinking.
- 1058. If you can see that,
then it makes the rest easy.
- 1059. This world does not bend
to sentimental tales.
- 1060. If you really think
that samurai honour
- 1061. is ultimately nothing more
than a façade,
- 1062. then you never had a chance
of swaying us.
- 1063. So in the end,
- 1064. these have been nothing but
the useless grumblings of an old man.
- 1065. But it does no good
to lament that now.
- 1066. Well, then, forgive me
for my long-winded recitation.
- 1067. I will now proceed with the ritual.
- 1068. Tarry a moment.
- 1069. Before that,
- 1070. I must return some items
that belong to this house.
- 1071. For identification,
I have placed name tags on each.
- 1072. Please examine them carefully.
- 1073. Master Yazaki Hayato
- 1074. and Master Kawabe Umenosuke...
- 1075. I understand they're both among
the best swordsmen of the Iyi Clan,
- 1076. held in high esteem
for their courage and honour.
- 1077. But, Counsellor,
- 1078. gentlemen,
let me set your minds at ease.
- 1079. I took only their topknots.
- 1080. Not their lives.
- 1081. In the case of Yazaki Hayato,
- 1082. it was six days ago.
- 1083. Hold it!
- 1084. In the case of Kawabe Umenosuke,
- 1085. it was five days ago, on May 8th.
- 1086. However,
- 1087. when it came to that master swordsman
of the Shindo-Munen-Ichi school,
- 1088. Master Omodaka Hikokuro,
I had a little more difficulty.
- 1089. Perhaps aware of what had befallen
Yazaki and Kawabe,
- 1090. I could not catch him off guard.
- 1091. In fact, to be honest,
I found myself at quite a loss
- 1092. as to how to deal
with Master Omodaka.
- 1093. May I enter?
- 1094. If you reach for your sword,
- 1095. I'll slice you in one motion
from shoulder to waist.
- 1096. However...
- 1097. I fear the lintel will catch
the tip of my blade.
- 1098. If you lunge to the side,
- 1099. then this pillar will get in the way.
- 1100. It took a few days to locate your home.
My apologies for the delay.
- 1101. I ask you to make ready.
- 1102. This is obviously no place
for a sword duel.
- 1103. It's a bit far, but I must ask you
to accompany me to Gojiin-gawara.
- 1104. As miserable a hovel as this is,
- 1105. your landlord will be inconvenienced
if you do not return.
- 1106. And without someone to retrieve your
remains, your soul will wander aimlessly.
- 1107. I suggest you leave a note.
- 1108. It should indicate
you're going to Gojiin-gawara
- 1109. for a duel with Omodaka Hikokuro
of the Iyi Clan.
- 1110. Taking advantage of the wind
- 1111. but a blade can do more than cut.
- 1112. It can also stab,
or even snap another blade in two.
- 1113. Swordsmanship untested in battle
- 1114. is like the art of swimming
on tatami mats.
- 1115. On the other hand,
- 1116. I had not seen battle either
- 1117. since the siege of Osaka Castle
16 years ago.
- 1118. Taking his head
would have been difficult enough,
- 1119. but taking only his topknot
proved more difficult still.
- 1120. Whatever the differences
in our skill,
- 1121. for a samurai to have
his topknot taken
- 1122. is the same as having
his head stricken off.
- 1123. It is an ineptitude, a disgrace,
- 1124. that can scarcely be atoned for
even by death.
- 1125. Yet these men claim illness
and shirk their duties
- 1126. while waiting for their topknots
to grow back. Counsellor!
- 1127. This house boasts of its red armour
and its martial valour,
- 1128. but it seems that even
in the great House of Iyi,
- 1129. samurai honour is nothing more
than a façade.
- 1130. Madman!
- 1131. Cut him down!
- 1132. Fall back!
- 1133. Tsugumo Hanshiro
has been killed, sire.
- 1134. And our casualties?
- 1135. What were the casualties
among our men?
- 1136. Sugita Masakatsu, Uemura Sobei.
- 1137. Shinmen Ichiro, Yoshioka Uemon.
- 1138. Four dead.
- 1139. Eight more seriously wounded.
- 1140. The ronin from Hiroshima,
- 1141. Tsugumo Hanshiro,
- 1142. All our own men died of illness.
- 1143. The House of Iyi has no retainers
- 1144. who could be felled or wounded
by some half-starved ronin.
- 1145. Former retainer of the Fukushima Clan,
- 1146. committed harakiri honourably,
according to his wish.
- 1147. All our men died of illness.
- 1148. Their deaths have nothing to do
- 1149. Furthermore, we cannot allow
any more to die of illness.
- 1150. See that the wounded
are treated immediately.
- 1151. I have just returned, Counsellor.
- 1152. Omodaka Hikokuro...
- 1153. last night at his home...
- 1154. Kawabe and Yazaki both claim illness.
- 1155. - But in fact...
- 1156. Why did you not order them
to commit harakiri on the spot?
- 1157. Go back at once
and order them to do so!
- 1158. And take some skilled swordsmen
- 1159. If they fail to willingly disembowel
themselves, make them do it by force.
- 1160. Of course, these two men
and Omodaka too,
- 1161. did not officially commit harakiri.
- 1162. They died of illness.
- 1163. Imbecile!
- 1164. You weren't born yesterday,
you know the ways of the world!
- 1165. do you not realise the implications?
- 1166. I am on my way, sire.
- 1167. The former retainer of the Fukushima
Clan, Tsugumo Hanshiro,
- 1168. died by harakiri
at six in the evening.
- 1169. His speech and behaviour
had been erratic.
- 1170. Many of those present felt
he showed signs of derangement.
- 1171. Furthermore, it has become clear
- 1172. when another former retainer
of the Fukushima Clan,
- 1173. one Chijiiwa Motome, asked to commit
harakiri in January of this year,
- 1174. we did not err
in our chosen response.
- 1175. Word of the martial rigour
of this house echoed throughout Edo.
- 1176. In the present case too,
word of our resolute handling
- 1177. spread across the city
before two days were out.
- 1178. As a result,
- 1179. on the third day,
in a formal session at Edo Castle,
- 1180. Lord Doi took the occasion
to confer words of praise
- 1181. upon our young master Bennosuke
- 1182. "At peace, yet ever vigilant.
- 1183. "Let the House of Iyi continue
to embrace this principle,
- 1184. "and your fortunes are sure
to prosper for ages to come."
- 1185. The 16th day of May,
- 1186. 1630.