Tosabo. Pray don't be so rash! Was that poor old man your own father then? How very sad to hear that! And your name?

Sabro Ise. Well, I tell you my real name is Sabro Ise, one of the most loyal subjects of our illustrious Lord Yoshitsune, and the old man you killed was my father, the Hon. Toshimori Ise.

Tosabo. Just wait! Let me see! I know the Ises are the most important and aristocratic family, and why should you lead such a poor life like this? I do not understand. I doubt you are an impostor!

Sabro Ise. Impostor? Nay, I am not. According to your own information now, when you killed my father I was far away in Suruga district. My wife sent me the grave news and I hurried myself to Kioto at once. Then I was told there was a great fighting near Gojo Bridge and many people were killed by a stranger, and my father's dead body was among those corpses. That was all, and there was no clue about the stranger. Year after year has passed away in the utter mystery about that fighting, and then the war was declared between the Minamoto and Taira families. I, as the most loyal subject, joined to our honourable Lord Yoshitsune and fought all the battles to the end. The world knows how I did my duty for the Minamoto family. But when we came back triumphant, the honourable Lord Yoshitsune told me one evening that that stranger-fighter at the Gojo bridge was his lordship's self. I thought then my father's enemy was my honourable master. If I wanted to be filial to my father and revenge I should be disloyal to my own master to fight with him. I was in such an awkward position. Therefore I bid farewell to my Hon. Lord. I wanted to pass all my life in a monastery. Alas! then my old mother became seriously ill.

This is why I am now leading such a life, as I know a little of the surgical treatment, in order to support my invalid mother and my wife.

It was only last night that my wife informed me the murderer of my father was some-one else, and not my hon. Lord Yoshitsune, and I was just grieving because I could not find out the real enemy of my father. Ah, this is the heaven's help to meet you here now.

Prepare yourself for the duel!

Tosabo. Ise! Wait! Wait a few moments. I have something to tell you. I thoroughly sympathise with your sad life. Indeed, I wish I could fulfil your intention at once, but there is the most important matter which reluctantly prevents your proposal of duel. Keep your sword in the sheath while I am

speaking to you. Lately our illustrious Shogun Yoritomo got an unreasonable suspicion upon his hon. brother Yoshitsune as a conspirator, and gave the mission to his favourite subject Kajiwara to inspect the matter. In fact, as you know how spiteful is Kajiwara, it was he who communicated with our rival Taira and planned to betray our White Flag and so cunningly accused the Shogun's innocent brother. The matter was so serious. Therefore I, Tosabo, begged the Shogun to let me accompany Kajiwara for this mission. As I have anticipated, Kajiwara sent a detective to the Horikawa Palace to steal his signed agreement with Taira family. But I disguised myself and went to the Palace before his detective arrived there and I got possession of this agreement to present it to our Lord Yoshitsune. And pray look at my wound, which I received when I performed this mission.

Now it is easy for me to give my life to you, but pray listen to me seriously. If I did now, who else could save our Hon. Yoshitsune from the suspicion of the shogun? Therefore I humbly beg your mercy upon me until I finish my important mission.

[TOSABO kneels down before Sabro Ise and begs his mercy with tears.

Sabro Ise. No, no. As long as we did not know each other, it could not be helped. But as it is clear that you are my father's assassinator, I cannot forgive you for a minute. Now duel, duel, duel with you, Tosabo!

Tosabo. That is too piteous, my Hon. Ise. If I want to fulfil my own intention alone, I may kill you in our duel, but this is not my ethic. O, honourable Madame, the matter stands as you hear. Will you honourably be the arbitrator between us two? For I, Tosabo, faithfully promise you that I shall come back when I finish my important duty between the hon. Shogun and his hon. brother.

The Wife of Ise. Whatever may be, such a noble Samurai like the hon. Tosabo Sama will not fail in his own words. My hon. husband shall listen to him.

Sabro Ise. This is not the place for the woman. You shall keep yourself silent. Now Tosabo, whether you will kill me or I kill you, all depends upon the Heaven's will. Speak no more, but duel, duel. .

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A voice from the next room. Wait, my son Sabro, wait.

[The invalid mother with the pale face like the earth

comes out with her feeble and trembling feet, and the wife assists her to sit down. The invalid mother speaks with difficulty.

Are you the hon. Sho-shun Tosabo who assassinated my husband? You are a splendid Samurai. I have heard all your story in my sick-bed, and I thoroughly understand your great anxiety about the unfortunate trouble of our illustrious Shogun and his hon. brother. Pray be at ease. Now Sabro, you have always been a very sensible son, but why are you so rash today? Or are you thinking that the human life is always so uncertain and you may miss the chance to fulfil your duty to duel with him? It all depends upon the person. It won't be more than two or three months before the hon. Tosabo finishes his important mission, and I, your own mother, guarantee his life until then.

Sabro Ise. Well, my hon. Mother, I should like to obey you and say, yes. But I can not. About the hon. Tosabo's life I have no fear to wait even three or five years. But Mother, you yourself who guarantee his life, are not in safety. Nay, your serious illness cannot be guaranteed even three days now. And what was the cause of your illness? All because this fellow killed my father, the husband to you. You have been deeply grieving over this matter for last thirteen years, and I, too, had to abandon my hon. Lord Yoshitsune thinking he was our enemy. Mother, your anxiety was piled ten-fold by that, and the result is your present serious illness, and I could not look after you enough through my poor fugitive life. This is all through that man Tosabo. How could I forgive him? I want to revenge on him at once and see your hon. smile in happiness.

Nyobo (my dear wife) you honourably accompany Mother to her bed. Now Tosabo, duel, duel, don't make any more excuse, don't be coward now.

The Mother. Sabro, my son, if you have the duel with the hon. Tosabo now, you are not only disobedient to your mother, but you could not be filial to your dead father, either.

Sabro Ise. Why, mother, why?

The Mother. Why, my son, you remember the tale of your father. One evening while he was a fugitive he went to that bamboo bush in order to attack the tyrannical Taira and he came back no more. Now the hon. Tosabo's story coincides in every detail. Both your father who was killed by Tosabo and Tosabo who killed your father tried their best for the sake of our Minamoto family. Only it was the unfortunate accident after all. I feel you need not revenge on him. But this is the question beyond the woman's concern. However, why you could not be filial to your parents if you have the duel with the hon. Tosabo is too simple to explain. If the hon. Tosabo dies now who else beside him could save both the Shogun and his brother, to whom you ought to be most loyal? Would the spirit of your

father be pleased if you killed the hon. Tosabo now? The Samurai is different from those merchants or farmers. To be filial to his parents is not only his duty, but he ought to be loyal to the Shogun.

O, my hon. Sho-shun Tosabo, how shameful is my son! You who forget yourself for the sake of the Shogun and kneel down before my son, may see the stupidity of my son. O, what right has he got to shout, Duel, duel' to such a noble Samurai like you!


Now, Sabro, my son, I shall not stop your duel any longer. But if you raise your sword against him, I, your own mother, will die first under your dishonourable sword. Only if I died yesterday, I would not see such a shameful conduct of my son now. [SABRO ISE repents, and throws himself under his mother's feet.

Sabro Ise. I humbly beseech your generous forgiveness. For I was thinking nothing else but to fulfil my duty of revenge upon my father, while you are still in this world, and I have quite forgotten my greater duty to our illustrious Shogun. Tosabo, as you hear, I decide to wait everything until you finish your noble duty to the Shogun.

Tosabo. O, how very grateful I am to you. through the noble kindness of your hon. Mother. I thank her ladyship? O yes, here is something.

This is all

How could

[TOSABO takes out a parchment from his pocket and puts it before the mother.

Tosabo. This is the parchment in which Kagiwara signed his name for the agreement with the Taira families. As I told the hon. Sabro Ise, I have secured it at the Palace last night.

The Mother. What could be the better present than this? This parchment itself would save all the trouble of our hon. Lord Yoshitsune, and it would be the greatest honour for my son to present it to our Lord Yoshitsune. I heartily thank you my most noble and thoughtful Tosabo. Until this serious matter of the Shogun is quite settled you and my son will be the great friends and fulfil your duty to the Shogun. If I have life in this world longer, I will meet you again. But my hon. Tosabo, you will not stay in such a place like this any longer, or else you may get suspicion from that spiteful Kagiwara. Go, go now, my noble Samurai.

Tosabo. O, how thoughtful is your ladyship!

[The invalid mother with the wife's assistance goes to her bed-room and SABRO ISE sees TOSABO to the


Sabro Ise. The world often has the unexpected climates, and the humans often have the unexpected illness, too. Be careful for your own health, and always let me know about yourself.

Tosabo. Ah, don't worry yourself. I shall be most careful of my life, which belongs to you. When everything is over, we shall have a splendid duel.

Sabro Ise. How glad I am to hear that. Sayonara, then. Tosabo. Sayonara.

[They part, and SABRO comes back to his seat. His

wife comes out from the next room.

The Wife. Our mother is dead.

Perhaps such as Forty-Seven Ronins, Taihei Ki are the good examples of the masterpieces, but there is more than one translation into English published in Japan, so I omit them now.

Here is one good example of the Japanese dramas which the Westerners may get amazed at for its socialistic spirit.

The scene of the execution of the famous robber Goemon Ishikawa2 and his pet-child Goroichi who was twelve years old. The robber and his young son were to be boiled to death in a large pot on the fire.

The two executors Hayano and Iwaki take their seats near the dreadful executing pot. Plenty of the wood is thrown into the fire underneath the pot.

The prison warder brings Goemon and his little boy. Hayano loosens the ropes from the prisoners.

Hayano. Listen Goemon, as you have not yet confessed, you shall have to go through this most dreadful punishment the world has ever had. If you love your child and if you feel sorry for him, why would you not confess and tell us the names of your robber companions and their whereabouts? It is the Government's duty to extinguish all the robbers in the country. Just think of that.

Goemon. It is quite so, my hon. officer. And you may honourably think I am heartless towards my dear little boy if I don't confess. But robbers in the country are just like mice in the house. Do you think you can ever extinguish all of them? If you make only fifty or sixty companions of mine into the prisoners, that will not help the whole matter whatever. The best help for the nation is only to let them be careful themselves. It is their own negligence that gives the chance for the robbers to steal. I, Goemon, have the farewell poetry for you

The day may come when you can extract all the pebbles in Ishikawa 3
Yet the seeds of robbers shall remain in this world for ever.

In Japanese characters the name Goemon in this drama has quite different meaning from Goemon of the preceding quotation. But the English translation makes the spelling alike.

Ishikawa is the surname of Goemon and its meaning is the river of


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