Maybe quite a few of you have experienced this. Here at the Legend of the Eight Samurai Hounds too, as the blog expanded some contents were starting to sneak into places where they shouldn’t and as a result it became difficult to find what you wanted, so I’ve refreshed the menu.
One of the changes that made me really happy is that the acknowledgement section, which used to be a small potion of a page called ‘Notes’, has a page for itself under the ‘About’ tab. This way it shows a lot more appreciation to those who deserve. Besides, as the work progresses more people have helped me along the way and naturally there are more people to whom I want to express my gratitude.
The latest addition to the acknowledgements is Bangetu-tei who created the music in the clip displayed in Episode 5-2. The song’s called ‘Yoshitsune Senbon-zakura (Yoshitsune the Thousand Tree Cherry Blossoms)’ which comes from a Kabuki play. Minamoto no Yoshitsune is a twelfth-century warrior and a famous Gen-ji, but more than anything else he’s one of Japan’s most favoured tragic heroes. The image of 15-year-old slightly built Ushiwaka-maru (Yoshitsune’s child name) fighting and subduing a bull of a man Benkei on a moon-lit bridge in Kyoto seems to be firmly embedded in the Japanese minds, and I personally believe he’s the hero many modern manga writers are repeatedly trying to recreate. Now you see why those manga heroes very often appear small of stature and have a rather pretty face.
The young Yoshitsune and the wild Benkei from a Wikipeadia page
Originally I came across another version of this song which is a little more slow-paced and atmospheric, on a video sharing site (but this particular clip was later found unfit for this blog as it was a pirate). What was great about the song was the expertise of the performance, of the singer’s voice, and of the lyrics. There’s a very good translation in a comment by Chilmark Gryphon if you go to the that video I encountered first. On the surface it sings war and how bravely they fight during the day while feasting at night and dancing to sakura blossoms but as their official clip in Episode 5-2 explains in the images it is about the tragedy of humans killing humans, of men-at-arms.
Anyway I loved the music so much that I wanted to buy it but could only find yet another version played by the same group of people on a CD, which I bought, mainly because I wanted to reward the artists for their work but on the CD they perform the song’s original version, which had completely different lyrics, nothing to do with Yoshitsune.
With the Bangetu-tei version I felt that the lyrics were somehow reminiscent of Yoshizane – who I suspect Bakin wrote somewhat with Yoshitsune in mind – or not, but either way I hoped the music at least would make great accompaniment to our tale of adventures and I hope you enjoyed it. So let me say again, thank you, Bangetu-tei for your kind permission to use the video clip in my blog!