Poem

we are ocean and sky made small
when we open our mouth, the world comes out

Killer phrases.

Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine

Killer Whale by  Rudhthoronwen; for more information, visit  http://rudhthoronwen.deviantart.com/ Killer Whale by Rudhthoronwen; for more information, visit
http://rudhthoronwen.deviantart.com/

The Killer Whales Sing

by Ryan Dzelzkalns

and as if that fantastic animal we accommodate had itself such finely tuned ears, such searching eyes, so gifted a tongue and mind, as to know much and be quite willing to tell it…

~Michel Foucault

we are ocean and sky made small

we speak, that is, rule

we come from below in families and institutions

when we open our mouth, the world comes out

make no mistake here

we are obeyed, and yet, no one was there to invent us

somehow we suspect the dark, suffer our body with hunger

we know only the skin holds in your blood

we surround you, are exercised from innumerable points of light

we think of you like you do: singular, yearning

we are wolfwhistle; we are thrall

where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, there…

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Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 8-3

Volume IV, Episode VIII

 

In En no Gyoja’s cave an old man assesses Fuse-hime’s fate

In a village near Takita a tanuki feeds a puppy

 

After a visit to En no Gyoja’s cave, Princess Fuse grew up in health to be a beautiful and intelligent child. Meanwhile, in a village in Toyama, a strange tale was unfolding about a motherless pup – he appeared to be growing without being fed.

 

 

Wazahey told it to the neighbours, and he himself was watchful in dawn and dusk. One such morning, in early hours, he woke up to find an ancient-looking tanuki dog[1] running out of the kennel. It headed back towards a mountain of Toyama. Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 8-2

Volume IV, Episode VIII

 

In En no Gyoja’s cave an old man assesses Fuse-hime’s fate

In a village near Takita a tanuki feeds a puppy

 

Fuse-hime, Takita Castle’s much adored baby princess, travelled to a sacred cave in Suzaki to seek blessings from En no Gyoja. On their return journey the princess and her company met a strange old man, who foretold her fortune and vanished into thin air.

 

 

For a brief period of time, the dazed attendants gazed in his direction. They decided everything was due to one of En no Gyoja’s manifestations and all bowed down to worship him.

On the return journey to Takita, the princess never cried and even played happily. Ever since this day, her speech started to appear even better than that of an average three year old. It made everyone happy and suspicious at the same time.

Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 8-1

 

Volume IV, Episode VII

 

In En no Gyohja’s cave an old man assesses Fuse-hime’s fate

In a village near Takita a tanuki[1] feeds a puppy

 

After the Satomi force had conquered Takita Castle of Heguri County,  Kanamari Hachiro Takayoshi committed suicide in order to avoid benefiting from his deceased master. Hachiro’s love child he had with Kohagi, Issaku’s daughter, was named ‘Kanamari Daisuke Takanori’ and was raised by Yoshizane. Years passed.

 

Some of those who didn’t know Hachiro Takayoshi’s intention behind his own death talked about it disapprovingly.

“Such a waste of a precious life when he didn’t have to die, turning down the rewards for the exploits he’d achieved! He must have been ashamed of Tamazusa’s insults.”

In contrast, an ancient wise man said ‘men of few words avoid evils and harms; women who envies not turns all flaws into charms”. Let alone those of compassion and justice. Hence, Yoshizane was not a singular man of virtue and samurais in the neighbouring countries admired him to the extent that many would ask through acquaintances for his hand in marriage. Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 7-2

 

Volume IV, Episode VII-ii

 

Kagetsura with Cunning Plans Sells Nobutoki

Takayoshi for Fidelity Retires from Yoshizane

 

Yoshizane and his men finally freed people from Tamazusa and Sadakane’s rules. Now Awa Province is governed by Yoshizane and his former enemy, sly Anzai Saburo Kagetsura, and it seems like peace and happiness descended on earth. However, Tamazusa’s curse is still lurking to seek revenge on our heroes…

 

It soon came to the Star Festival of Tanabata in the month of July[1]. That evening Yoshizane was seen by the passageway outside. He had invited only the meritorious men, Sugikura Ujimoto, Horiuchi Sadayuki, Kanamari Takayoshi and such, and had just finished a tea ceremony. [Author’s note: The Satomi had a tradition of tea ceremony, as was mentioned in ‘Awa Province Archives (房総志料)’.]

 

(c) Pan Jama Lammy

 

Demonstration of tea ceremony much enjoyed by samurai (7 min) : https://youtu.be/_OVu_yBWfac

Documentary (30 min): https://youtu.be/gx59Y8VFse0

 

Yoshizane alternately talked of what had happened and let them talk to him. He said to them, Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 7-1

 

Volume IV, Episode VII-i

 

Kagetsura with Cunning Plans Sells Nobutoki

Takayoshi for Fidelity Retires from Yoshizane

 

The beautiful mastermind Tamazusa was finally executed, but not before putting curses upon the entire Satomi clan. There came a messenger from Ujimoto, who was guarding the Fort of Tojo alone while Yoshizane and his men were away to attack Takita Castle.

 

When Amazaki Juro Terutake, a messenger sent by Sugikura Kiso-no-suke Ujimoto, hastily travelled from Tojo to bring the head of Maro no Nobutoki, Yoshizane went out to the edge of Daishoji[1] and beckoned the messenger to request the report of the battle. Amazaki Juro replied,

“Ujimoto had been aware that you were short of food supplies and he was preparing to urge farmers to transport some. Meanwhile Anzai Kagetsura and Maro no Nobutoki had already been talked by Sadakane into blocking land and sea passages and were waiting to rob us of our provisions. The goings got tough and further agonized Ujimoto who had to wait idly.

“Then one eveing, Kagetsura secretly sent an unnamed manservant to give him a message. Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 6-2 (End of Episode 6) – with original illustration

 

Episode VI-ii

Opening the Granary Yoshizane Enlivens Two Counties

Receiving Lord’s Order Takayoshi Chastises Three Outlaws

 

The renowned stronghold Takita has finally fallen and the two vassals who had been tormenting people for years have met their fate. Now the court procedures move on to the last one of the accused, Tamazusa – Mitsuhiro’s beautiful courtesan and Sadakane’s wife, but Takayoshi will soon find out that she’s in a totally different league as Donpei and Togoro. Meanwhile, at the fort of Tojo, Ujimoto has to singlehandedly face the enemy…

 

*This episode proudly presents an original illustration by Pan Jama Lammy! Your feedback would be awaited with much eagerness and enthusiasm. Thanks millions!

Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 6-1

Episode VI

Opening the Granary Yoshizane Enlivens Two Counties

Receiving Lord’s Order Takayoshi Chastises Three Outlaws

After capturing a fort  of Tojo, Yoshizane and his followers attacked Takita Castle. but it was a well-build stronghold and they were nearly running out of food supplies. With the aid of carrier pigeons and the farmer recruits inside the castle, however, Sadakane was finally brought down by none other than two of his own top retainers. Now we move on to a key event of the story…

A poster of Nanso Satomi Hakken-den on stage at Kokuritsu Gekijo in January 2015. I hope they’ll do it again.

Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 5-4 (End of Episode 5)

Episode V-iv

Good captain declines intrigues and enlistees learn benevolence

Carrier pigeons deliver a message and the traitors offer a head

Hachiman, the god of war and protector of Genji, whome Yoshizane worshipped on the way to Takita Castle, fighting the devil in a Kagura performance, courtesy of Iwami Tourism Promotion Committee (石見観光振興協議会)

 

Yoshizane’s plan of using carrier pigeons worked and the birds successfully dropped near the soldiers’ quarters copies of letter to persuade the farmer recruits to rebel against Sadakane. Now it’s up to the men in the castle.

 

Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 5-3

Episode V-iii

Good captain declines intrigues and enlistees learn benevolence

Carrier pigeons deliver a message and the traitors offer a head

 

Previously in Episode 5-2, Sadayuki couldn’t capture Tsumadate Togoroh riding back into Takita Castle. This must mean Maro and Anzai have already been talked into attacking Yoshizane’s army from behind to support Sadakane within the castle. Soon Yoshizane’s army will be surrounded by enemies. On top of that Yoshizane’s running out of food supplies for his men. How are Yoshizane, Sadayuki, and Takayoshi going to fight back?

 

Meanwhile Sadakane heard that Tsumadate Togoro had returned safely, so he summoned him hastily to ask about the outcome. Togoroh rubbed off the pouring sweat.

“Yes milord, Kagetsura and Nobutoki have agreed without hesitation. Also, those master and men of the Satomis were fools who entrusted themselves to Anzai at Tateyama but were mightily threatened and ran away sore losers. ‘How they raised a big army in such few days was hard to comprehend’ according to them. Both Kagetsura and Nobutoki were jealous. There is no doubt they will attack Tojo.”

Maro and Anzai, with Sadayuki, Ujimoto, Bokuhei and Mukuzo in the background. Courtesy of National Diet Library

Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 5-2

Episode V-ii

Good Captain Declines Intrigues and Enlistees Learn benevolence

Carrier Pigeons deliver a Message and the traitors Offer a Head

 

Courtesy of Ban Getu Tei by Yoshitate Kyounosuke & Fuyu

 

Previously…

While Sadakane, the enemy of all folk, was spending day and night partying, a strange looking army approached his castle and brought down one of his favourite warriors Sabitsuka Donpei. It was the wandering freelancer Kanamari Takayoshi coming back to avenge his former master. Sadakane listens on to the eyewitness’s account of the battle scene. Now the stage is set for Yoshizane’s ever-reliable lieutenant Horiuchi Krando Sadayuki. Coolness. Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog

Episode 1. Suyemoto Dies an Opportune Death Leaving Guidance, The White Dragon Goes South through the Clouds

Episode 2-1. Assassins shoot arrows to slay the white horse, Evil vassal robs two counties and leans on the red gate

Episode 2-2.  Assassins shoot arrows to slay the white horse, Evil vassal robs two counties and leans on the red gate

Episode 3-1. Kagetsura and Nobutoki subtly sabotage Yoshizane, Ujimoto and Sadayuki comply with Tateyama at risk

Episode 3-2. Kagetsura and Nobutoki subtly sabotage Yoshizane, Ujimoto and Sadayuki comply with Tateyama at risk

Episode 3-3. Kagetsura and Nobutoki subtly sabotage Yoshizane, Ujimoto and Sadayuki comply with Tateyama at risk

Episode 4-1. In Ko-minato Yoshizane raises justic, In Kaki-no-uchi Takayoshi pursues vengeance

Episode 4-2. In Ko-minato Yoshizane raises justic, In Kaki-no-uchi Takayoshi pursues vengeance

Episode 4-3. In Ko-minato Yoshizane raises justic, In Kaki-no-uchi Takayoshi pursues vengeance

Episode 5-1. Good captain declines intrigues and enlistees learn benevolence, Carrier pigeons deliver a message and the traitors offer a head

Episode 5-2. Good captain declines intrigues and enlistees learn benevolence, Carrier pigeons deliver a message and the traitors offer a head

Episode 5-3. Good captain declines intrigues and enlistees learn benevolence, Carrier pigeons deliver a message and the traitors offer a head

Episode 5-4. Good captain declines intrigues and enlistees learn benevolence, Carrier pigeons deliver a message and the traitors offer a head

Episode 6-1 Opening the Granary Yoshizane Enlivens Two Counties; Receiving Lord’s Order Takayoshi Chastises Three Outlaws

Episode 6-2 Opening the Granary Yoshizane Enlivens Two Counties; Receiving Lord’s Order Takayoshi Chastises Three Outlaws

Episode 7-1 Kagetsura with Cunning Plans Sells Nobutoki; Takayoshi for Fidelity Retires from Yoshizane

Episode 7-2 Kagetsura with Cunning Plans Sells Nobutoki; Takayoshi for Fidelity Retires from Yoshizane

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 5-1

Episode V

 

Good Captain Declines Intrigues and Enlistees Learn benevolence

Carrier Pigeons Deliver a Message and the traitors Offer a Head

 

The emissary Yamashita Sakuza’emon-no-Joe Sadakane had sent to Maro and Anzai was now back to Takita.

“Those fellows didn’t explicitly say they would capitulate but were terribly intimidated. There is no doubt that before long both of them will pay a visit by themselves to repent their sins and be your highness’s subjects. The poor state of their affairs was such and such, this way and that way.” Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 4-3 (End of Episode 4)

Episode IV-iii

In Ko-minato Yoshizane raises justice

In Kaki-no-uchi Takayoshi pursues his vengeance

 

“Master Yoshizane, may we suggest a humble idea of ours? The county of Nagasa is delegated to Sadakane’s trusted retainer Shietage Kokuroku[1], who resides in the Castle of Tojo. It is not far from here. If you attack Kokuroku for a start, you will not only be equipped with armaments and food provisions but instantly have the whole county in your hand. It will give you much mobility in attacking Takita.” Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 4-2

Episode IV

In Ko-minato Yoshizane Raises Justice

In Kaki-no-uchi Takayoshi Pursues Vengeance

 

However, Yoshizane didn’t appear convinced.

“You speak too highly of me. Even though it is a great plan ‘tis hard for few to beat many adding to the fact that I’m a vagabond. What do I possess that should attract men? If three or four of us were to attack Takita Castle it’d be just like a praying mantis charging at a carriage with an axe. It’s hardly a match.”

To this reply Kanamari Hachiro drew closer on his knees. Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 4-1

Episode IV

In Ko-minato Yoshizane raises justice

In Kaki-no-uchi Takayoshi pursues vengeance

And so Yoshizane and his men were on the road trying this pond and that river, seeking waters and standing in rapids the whole day without returning to their inn in Shirahama. In the end they reached as far away as the river Shirahashi in the County of Nagasa and it was already the third day. As it was their last day their frustration reached its peak. They caught plenty of fish but no carp, not even one as tiny as a small crucian carp took a bite. Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 3-3 (end of Episode 3)

Episode III-iii

Kagetsura and Nobutoki subtly sabotage Yoshizane

Ujimoto and Sadayuki comply with Tateyama at risk

 

Yoshizane smiled.

“Master Anzai, you’re quite correct. On the other hand, people talk. Ever since I arrived in this province the grapevine keeps telling me the one rumour. It’s one thing that folk will be critical of whatever you do, but it’s completely another when your own men will not let you hear of such criticisms nor reprove you themselves; can such an attitude be called loyalty? Even if Ujimoto and Sadayuki received an unexpectedly large sum of reward, they wouldn’t want to serve an unhearing master in the same camp as disloyal men.”

Kagetsura’s face changed colour at this.

“What slander is this?! What rumour are you talking about?”

Yoshizane stuck his fan on his lap.

“Are you not aware yet sir? This involves not just you but Master Maro also. The three families Jin’yo, Anzai, and Maro have been close collaborators for many years helping each other like their own hands and feet so that this country has long been peaceful, until now when Jin’yo’s best-loved servant Yamashita Sadakane harmed his master, instantly robbed him of the two counties and called himself the lord upon recommendation. Folk would naturally blame you if you didn’t crush the man for the sake of Jin’yo, unabashedly submitted to him and disgraced yourselves. My wish was to work like a horse with all my might for you if you ever took me up upon the information I provided, but it was all in vain and I don’t see any war preparation nor do you bring it up. There’s no place for my humble opinion. While you’re busy scrutinizing the courage of my men and me you’re not about to act on courage and justice to avenge Jin’yo. Such a samurai is no master of mine, and this is where we part. Let us take our leave.”

As soon as he uttered these words he made a move to leave, so Kagetsura called out to him in a hurry. Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 3-2

Episode III-ii

Kagetsura and Nobutoki subtly sabotage Yoshizane

Ujimoto and Sadayuki comply with Tateyama at risk

 

Having been criticised so, Nobutoki turned red in an instant and signalled to Kagetsura, who sighed a big sigh despite himself.

“You are quite right. It is just that bows and arrows are samurai’s wings and swords their tusks. They protect ourselves so we never put them down in sitting nor sleeping. They’re not to threaten you. I just wasn’t aware that our escorts were equipped with weapon and sumo wrestlers were in the hiding.

For what ever on earth did you do such a senseless thing? Get out now.” Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 3-1

Episode III-i

Kagetsura and Nobutoki subtly sabotage Yoshizane

Ujimoto and Sadayuki comply with Tateyama at risk

 

Thus Anzai Saburo Taihu Kagetsura listened to his attendant and largely surmised how Satomi Yoshizane, Ochiudo from Yuki Castle, and his two men came here by sea, but did not answer immediately as it was difficult to predict later troubles. He turned to Maro no Nobutoki and asked,

“Such and such is the matter. What would be your thoughts, sir?”

Nobutoki without a moment’s hesitation replied,

“Even though Satomi is a renowned Genji clan, he has no relatives or acquaintances around here. As they are a Mochiuji’s loyal ally Yuki no Ujitomo talked them into it and they were eventually besieged for as long as three years. If you fought against Kyo[1] and Kamakura you should consider your life gone from the beginning, but on the day the castle fell while his father was being brought down he unashamedly ran and hid, and drifted over around here. He’s a fool not worth taking on. Why should you meet him sir? Presently throw him out.” Continue reading

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 2-2

Episode II-ii

Assassins shoot arrows to slay the white horse

Evil vassal robs two counties and leans on the red gate

 

At this moment Yamashita Sakuza’emon, with a bow on his back and arrows under an arm, came running on his horse up to the cedar trees on the hill.

“You traitor who murdered our lord who is both our land’s ruler over generations and our folk’s parents! Don’t you recognize Yamashita Sadakane here? ‘Tis easier to kill you in one shot right now than to crush an egg with an iron hammer, but I only missed your vitals because I intended to capture you alive. Tie him up.”

As he ordered thus, scores of soldiers strutting about crowded around to capture him.

Bokuhei was astounded at hearing the man name himself Sadakane.

“In that case the one my own arrow shot musn’t have been the man-eater. Now that our plot crossed like a crossbill’s bills and we took the life of our lord, there’s no way of escaping conviction for treason. Cursed is Yamashita Sadakane. He shall be the target of my arrows.” Continue reading