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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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

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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 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

Prologue: The Origin – The Prince, the Princess, and the Dog 2-1

Episode II-i

Assassins shoot arrows to slay the white horse

Evil vassal robs two counties and leans on the red gate[1]

 

In the first place, Awa was the Southern most part of the Province of Fusa. In the ancient days there was no distinction between Upper and Lower, but it was later divided and each named Kadzusa (Upper Fusa) and Shimofusa (Lower Fusa). The land was expansive with many mulberry trees, suited for silk production. Because of this, they submitted tufts of silk for tallage, hence it was called Fusa (tuft). As the South end was sparsely populated, people from Awa (阿波) in Nankai-do region[3] were brought to live here, thus it came to be called Awa (安房) Province[4]. Here is the port of Awa mentioned in the chapter on Emperor Keiko in The Chronicles of Japan. Continue reading

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

Episode I

Suyemoto Dies an Opportune Death Leaving Guidance

The White Dragon Goes South through the Clouds

The time was Muromachi Era, many a year before now, when Shogun in Kyoto and Shikken – Shogun’s Chief Steward – in Kamakura lost power, their minds turned bitter and brittle and the world entered the Hundred Years War.

Ambitious and independent Sir Mochiuji of Kamakura forgot the code of honour out of the blue, ignored the counsel of Shikken Norizane and fell out with Yoshinori the Muromachi Shogun. Troops from the capital Kyoto rushed in to serve under Shikken Norizane’s command, fought and advanced into Hohkoku Temple in Kamakura, where they cornered the father and son to their own end. It was the tenth of February in Eikyo 2 (1430) of Emperor Go-Hanazono[1].

Thus Yoshinari, heir of Sir Mochiuji, together with his father, perished to be buried in Kamakura. Yet, his brothers Prince Haruwo and Prince Yasuwo narrowly escaped the encircling enemies and fled to Shimo-fusa (Lower Fusa), where Yuki Ujitomo welcomed them as his lords, as he did their father once. Ujitomo paid no heed to the orders of the capital (the Shogunate in Kyoto) or gave no second thoughts about the big armies of the two Kanrei of Kiyokata and Mochitomo, Shogun’s Second-in-Commands.

Hence, under the flag of Satomi Suyemoto, who for the sake of honour will only stop at death, gathered those who had been indebted to Sir Mochiuji and they all joined the two princes and Yuki Ujitomo. Thus they guarded Yuki Castle surrounded by big armies, but not once showed weakness. For the next three years under siege and no help to turn to, they had finally exhausted food and ammunition. Continue reading

Preview

“In any event, what has become of my dear father? My mind is not at ease.”

Many a time he stopped his horse’s step to look back, only to hear the roar of the battle cries and screaming arrows. Now the castle seemed to have fallen, and violent fire was burning the sky. Even before a sharp cry came out of his mouth, he pulled the reigns and was trying to return, but the two lieutenants had a firm hold of the horse’s bridle and would not let go.

“What a waste! Have you gone out of your mind after all that, young master? What do you make of the Lord’s lessons? If you went back to the fallen castle now and let yourself be gone, it’d be an act more meaningless than a moss jumping into fire as they sang in the old song. Believing too much is not the same as believing. Being too good is not the same as being good. Those were the maxims you always liked saying, were they not? For the noble and the common alike there is only one way to be good. What makes you doubt that? Come this way.”

As they pulled the horse, Yoshizane, maddened by the hurt and pain he felt for his father, shouted in an irritated voice,

“Let go of me, Sadayuki. Do not stop me, Ujimoto. You said as my father wished, but I cannot bear this. A man’s child cannot. Let go, let go!”

 

This is a snippet from the first episode. To read the full story go to the Novel.

Livingdaylightz (livingdaylightz) and The Legend of Eight Samurai Hounds, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of all or any part of this material without express and written permission from me, Livingdaylightz (livingdaylightz), is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Livingdaylightz (livingdaylightz) and The Legend of Eight Samurai Hounds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content and upon express and written permission from me, the author/site owner.