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Jitsuroku Yon: Kazuma's Revenge

Original Story from A.B. Mitford's Tales of Old Japan

Afterword & Commentary by Justin Hagen

About two hundred and fifty years ago Ikeda Kunaishoyu was Lord of the Province of Inaba. Among his retainers were two gentlemen, named Watanabe Yukiye and Kawai Matazayemon, who were bound together by strong ties of friendship, and were in the habit of frequently visiting at one another's houses. One day Yukiye was sitting conversing with Matazayemon in the house of the latter, when, on a sudden, a sword that was lying in the raised part of the room caught his eye. As he saw it, he started and said:

“Pray tell me, how came you by that sword? ”

“Well, as you know, when my Lord Ikeda followed my Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu to fight at Nagakude, my father went in his train; and it was at the battle of Nagakude that he picked up this sword.”

“My father went too, and was killed in the fight, and this sword, which was an heirloom in our family for many generations, was lost at that time. As it is of great value in my eyes, I do wish that, if you set no special store by it, you would have the great kindness to return it to me.”

“That is a very easy matter, and no more than what one friend should do by another. Pray take it.”

Upon this Yukiye gratefully took the sword, and having carried it home put it carefully away.

At the beginning of the ensuing year Matazayemon fell sick and died, and Yukiye, mourning bitterly for the loss of his good friend, and anxious to requite the favor which he had received in the matter of his father's sword, did many acts of kindness to the dead man's son-a young man twenty two years of age, named Matagoro

Now this Matagoro was a base-hearted cur, who had begrudged the sword that his father had given to Yukiye, and complained publicly and often that Yukiye had never made any present in return; and in this way Yukiye got a bad name in my Lord's palace as a stingy and illiberal man.

But Yukiye had a son, called Kazuma, a youth sixteen years of age, who served as one of the Prince's pages of honor. One evening, as he and one of his brother pages were talking together, the latter said,

“Matagoro is telling everybody that your father accepted a handsome sword from him and never made him any present in return, and people are beginning to gossip about it. ”

“Indeed,” replied the other, “ my father received that sword from Matagoro's father as a mark of friendship and goodwill, and, considering that it would be an insult to send a present of money in return, thought to return the favor by acts of kindness towards Matagoro I suppose it is money he wants.”

When Kazuma's service was over, he returned home, and went to his father's room to tell him the report that was being spread in the palace, and begged him to send an ample present of money to Matagoro Yukiye reflected for a while, and said:

“You are too young to understand the right line of conduct in such matters. Matagoro's father and myself were very close friends; so, seeing that he had ungrudging given me back the sword of my ancestors, I, thinking to requite his kindness at his death, rendered important services to Matagoro It would be easy to finish the matter by sending a present of money; but I had rather take the sword and return it than be under an obligation to this mean churl, who knows not the laws which regulate the intercourse and dealings of men of gentle blood.”

So Yukiye, in his anger, took the sword to Matagoro's house, and said to him:

“I have come to your house this night for no other purpose than to restore to you the sword which your father gave me;” and with this he placed the sword before Matagoro.

“Indeed,” replied the other, “I trust that you will not pain me by returning a present which my father made you.”

“Amongst men of gentle birth,” said Yukiye, laughing scornfully, “It is the custom to requite presents, in the first place by kindness, and afterwards by a suitable gift offered with a free heart. But it is no use talking to such as you, who are ignorant of the first principles of good breeding; so I have the honor to give you back the sword.”

As Yukiye went on bitterly to reprove Matagoro, the latter waxed very wroth, and, being a ruffian, would have killed Yukiye on the spot; but he, old man as he was, was a skillful swordsman, so Matagoro, craven-like, determined to wait until he could attack him unawares. Little suspecting any treachery, Yukiye started to return home, and Matagoro, under the pretense of attending him to the door, came behind him with his sword drawn and cut him in the shoulder. The older man, turning round, drew and defended himself; but having received a severe wound in the first instance, he fainted away from loss of blood, and Matagoro slew him.

The mother of Matagoro, startled by the noise, came out and when she saw what had been done, she was afraid, and said:

“Passionate man! What have you done? Murderer; and now your life will be forfeit. What terrible deed is this!”

“I have killed him now, and there's nothing to be done. Come, mother, before the matter becomes known, let us fly together from this house.”

“I will follow you; do you go and seek but my Lord Abe Shirogoro, a chief among the Hatamotos, who was my foster child. You had better fly to him for protection, and remain in hiding.”

So the old woman persuaded her son to make his escape, and sent him to the palace of Shirogoro

Now it happened that at this time the Hatamotos had formed themselves into a league against the powerful daimyos; and Abe Shirogoro, with two other noblemen, named Kondo Noborinosuke and Midzuno Jiurozayemon, was at the head of the league. It followed, as a matter of course, that his forces were frequently recruited by vicious men, who had no means of gaining their living, and whom he received and entreated kindly without asking any questions as to their antecedents; how much the more then, on being applied to for an asylum by the son of his own foster-mother, did he willingly extend his patronage to him, and guarantee him against all danger. So he called a meeting of the principal Hatamotos, and introduced Matagoro to them, saying:

“This man is a retainer of Ikeda Kunaishoyu, who, having cause of hatred against a man named Watanabe Yukiye, has slain him, and has fled to me for protection; this man's mother suckled me when I was an infant, and, right or wrong, I will befriend him. If, therefore, Ikeda Kunaishoyu should send to require me to deliver him up, I trust that you will one and all put forth your strength and help me to defend him.”

“Ay! That will we, with pleasure !” replied Kondo Noborinosuke. “We have for some time had cause to complain of the scorn with which the daimyos have treated us. Let Ikeda Kunaishoyu send to claim this man, and we will show him the power of the Hatamotos.”

All the other Hatamotos, with one accord, applauded this determination, and made ready their force for an armed resistance, should my Lord Kunaishoyu send to demand the surrender of Matagoro But the latter remained as a welcome guest in the house of Abe Shirogoro

Now when Watanabe Kazuma saw that, as the night advanced, his father Yukiye did not return home, he became anxious, and went to the house of Matagoro to seek for him, and finding to his horror that he was murdered, fell upon the corpse and embraced it, weeping. On a sudden, it flashed across him that this must assuredly be the handiwork of Matagoro; so he rushed furiously into the house, determined to kill his father's murderer upon the spot.

But Matagoro had already fled, and he found only the mother, who was making her preparations for following her son to the house of Abe Shirogoro: so he bound the old woman, and searched all over the house for her son; but, seeing that his search was fruitless, he carried off the mother, and handed her over to one of the elders of the clan, at the same time laying information against Matagoro as his father's murderer. When the affair was reported to the Prince, he was very angry, and ordered that the old woman should remain bound and be cast into prison until the whereabouts of her son should be discovered. Then Kazuma buried his father's corpse with great pomp, and the widow and the orphan mourned over their loss.

It soon became known amongst the people of Abe Shirogoro that the mother of Matagoro had been imprisoned for her son's crime, and they immediately set about planning her rescue; so they sent to the palace of my Lord Kunaishoyu a messenger, who, when he was introduced to the councilor of the Prince, said:

“We have heard that, in consequence or the murder of Yukiye, my lord has been pleased to imprison the mother of Matagoro Our master Shirogoro has arrested the criminal, and will deliver him up to you. But the mother has committed no crime, so we pray that she may be released from a cruel imprisonment: she was the foster-mother of our master, and he would fain intercede to save her life. Should you consent to this, we, on our side, will give up the murderer, and hand him over to you in front of our master's gate tomorrow.”

The councilor repeated this message to the Prince, who, in his pleasure at being able to give Kazuma his revenge on the morrow, immediately agreed to the proposal, and the messenger returned triumphant at the success of the scheme. On the following day, the Prince ordered the mother of Matagoro to be placed in a litter and carried to the Hatamoto's dwelling, in charge of a retainer named Sasawo Danyemon, who, when he arrived at the door of Abe Shirogoro's house, said:

“I am charged to hand over to you the mother of Matagoro, and, in exchange, I am authorized to receive her son at your hands.”

“We will immediately give him up to you; but, as the mother and son are now about to bid an eternal farewell to one another, we beg you to be so kind as to tarry a little.”

With this the retainers of Shirogoro led the old woman inside their master's house, and Sasawo Danyemon remained waiting outside, until at last he grew impatient, and ventured to hurry on the people within.

“We return you many thanks,” replied they, “for your kindness in bringing us the mother; but, as the son cannot go with you at present, you had better return home as quickly as possible. We are afraid we have put you to much trouble.” And so they mocked him.

When Danyemon saw that he had not only been cheated into giving up the old woman, but was being made a laughingstock of into the bargain, he flew into a great rage, and thought to break into the house and seize Matagoro and his mother by force; but, peeping into the courtyard, he saw that it was filled with Hatamotos, carrying guns and naked swords. Not caring then to die fighting a hopeless battle, and at the same time feeling that, after having been so cheated, he would be put to shame before his lord, Sasawo Danyemon went to the burial-place of his ancestors, and disemboweled himself in front of their graves.

When the Prince heard how his messenger had been treated, he was indignant, and summoning his councilors resolved, although he was suffering from sickness, to collect his retainers and attack Abe Shirogoro; and the other chief daimyos, when the matter became publicly known, took up the cause, and determined that the Hatamotos must be chastised for their insolence.

On their side, the Hatamotos put forth all their efforts to resist the daimyos So Edo became disturbed, and the riotous state of the city caused great anxiety to the Government, who took counsel together how they might restore peace. As the Hatamotos were directly under the orders of the Shogun, it was no difficult matter to put them down: the hard question to solve was how to put a restraint upon the great daimyos However, one of the Gorojiu, named Matsudaira Izu no Kami, a man of great intelligence, hit upon a plan by which he might secure this end.

There was at this time in the service of the Shogun a physician, named Nakarai Tsusen, who was in the habit of frequenting the palace of my Lord Kunaishoyu, and who for some time past had been treating him for the disease from which he was suffering. Izu no Kami sent secretly for this physician, and, summoning him to his private room, engaged him in conversation, in the midst of which he suddenly dropped his voice and said to him in a whisper.

“Listen, Tsusen. You have received great favors at the hands of the Shogun. The Government is now sorely straitened: are you willing to carry your loyalty so far as to lay down your life on its behalf?”

“Ay, my lord; for generations my forefathers have held their property by the grace of the Shogun. I am willing this night to lay down my life for my Prince, as a faithful vassal should.”

“Well, then, I will tell you. The great daimyos and the Hatamotos have fallen out about this affair of Matagoro, and lately it has seemed as if they meant to come to blows. The country will be agitated, and the farmers and townsfolk suffer great misery, if we cannot quell the tumult. The Hatamotos will be easily kept under, but it will be no light task to pacify the great daimyos If you are willing to lay down your life in carrying out a stratagem of mine, peace will be restored to the country; but your loyalty will be your death .”

“I am ready to sacrifice my life in this service.”

“This is my plan. You have been attending my Lord Kunaishoyu in his sickness; tomorrow you must go to see him, and put poison in his physic. If we can kill him, the agitation will cease. This is the service which I ask of you.”

Tsusen agreed to undertake the deed; and on the following day, when he went to see Kunaishoyu, he carried with him poisoned drugs. Half the draught he drank himself, and thus put the Prince off his guard, so that he swallowed the remainder fearlessly. Tsusen, seeing this, hurried away, and as he was carried home in his litter the death agony seized him, and he died, vomiting blood.

My Lord Kunaishoyu died in the same way in great torture, and in the confusion attending upon his death and funeral ceremonies the struggle which was impending with the Hatamotos was delayed.

In the meanwhile the Gorojiu Izu no Kami summoned the three leaders of the Hatamotos and addressed them as follows:

“The secret plotting and treasonable, turbulent conduct of you three men, so unbecoming your position as Hatamotos, have enraged my lord the Shogun to such a degree, that he has been pleased to order that you be imprisoned in a temple, and that your patrimony be given over to your next heirs."

Accordingly the three Hatamotos, after having been severely admonished, were confined in a temple called Kanyeiji; and the remaining Hatamotos, scared by this example, dispersed in peace. As for the great daimyos, inasmuch as after the death of my Lord Kunaishoyu the Hatamotos were all dispersed, there was no enemy left for them to fight with; so the tumult was quelled, and peace was restored.

Thus it happened that Matagoro lost his patron; so, taking his mother with him, he went and placed himself under the protection of an old man named Sakurai Jiuzayemon. This old man was a famous teacher of lance exercise, and enjoyed both wealth and honor; so he took in Matagoro, and having engaged as a guard thirty Ronin, all resolute fellows and well skilled in the arts of war, they all fled together to a distant place called Sagara.

All this time Watanabe Kazuma had been brooding over his father's death, and thinking how he should be revenged upon the murderer; so when my Lord Kunaishoyu suddenly died, he went to the young Prince who succeeded him and obtained leave of absence to go and seek out his father's enemy. Now Kazuma's elder sister was married to a man named Araki Matayemon, who at that time was famous as the first swordsman in Japan. As Kazuma was but sixteen years of age, this Matayemon, taking into consideration his near relationship as son-in-law to the murdered man, determined to go forth with the lad, as his guardian, and help him to seek out Matagoro; and two of Matayemon's retainers, named Ishidome Busuke and Ikezoye Magohachi, made up their minds, at all hazards, to follow their master. The latter, when he heard their intention, thanked them, but refused the offer, saying that as he was now about to engage in a vendetta in which his life would be continually in jeopardy, and as it would be a lasting grief to him should either of them receive a wound in such a service, he must beg them to renounce their intention; but they answered:

“Master, this is a cruel speech of yours. These years have we received naught but kindness and favors at your hands; and now that you are engaged in the pursuit of this murderer, we desire to follow you, and, if needs must, to lay down our lives in your service. Furthermore, we have heard that the friends of this Matagoro are no fewer than thirty six men; so, however bravely you may fight, you will be in peril from the superior numbers of your enemy. · However, if you are pleased to persist in your refusal to take us, we have made up our minds that there is no resource for us but to disembowel ourselves on the spot.

When Matayemon and Kazuma heard these words, they wondered at these faithful and brave men, and were moved to tears. Then Matayemon said:

“The kindness of you two brave fellows is without precedent. Well, then, I will accept your services gratefully.”

“Then the two men, having obtained their wish, cheerfully followed their master; and the four set out together upon their journey to seek out Matagoro, of whose whereabouts they were completely ignorant.

Matagoro in the meanwhile had made his way, with the old man Sakurai Jiuzayemon and his thirty Ronin, to Osaka. But, strong as they were in numbers, they traveled in great secrecy. The reason for this was, that the old man's younger brother, Sakurai Jinsuke, a fencing-master by profession, had once had a fencing-match with Matayemon, Kazuma's brother in-law, and had been shamefully beaten; so that the party were greatly afraid of Matayemon, and felt that, since he was taking up Kazuma's cause and acting as his guardian, they might be worsted in spite of their numbers: so they went on their way with great caution, and, having reached Osaka, put up at an inn in a quarter called Ikutama, and hid from Kazuma and Matayemon

The latter also in good time reached Osaka, and spared no pains to seek out Matagoro. One evening towards dusk, as Matayemon was walking in the quarter where the enemy were staying, he saw a man, dressed as a gentleman's servant, enter a cook-shop and order some buckwheat porridge for thirty-six men, and, looking attentively at the man, he recognized him as the servant of Sakurai Jiuzayemon; so he hid himself in a dark place and watched, and heard the fellow say:

“My master, Sakurai Jiuzayemon, is about to start for Sagara to morrow morning, to return thanks to the gods for his recovery from a sickness from which he has been suffering; so I am in a great hurry.”

With these words the servant hastened away; and Matayemon, entering the shop, called for some porridge, and as he ate it, made some inquiries as to the man who had just given so large an order for buckwheat porridge. The master of the shop answered that he was the attendant of a party of thirty-six gentlemen who were staying at such and such an inn. Then Matayemon, having found out all that he wanted to know, went home and told Kazuma, who was delighted at the prospect of carrying his revenge into execution on the morrow.

That same evening Matayemon sent one of his two faithful retainers as a spy to the inn, to find out at what hour Matagoro was to set out on the following morning; and he ascertained from the servants of the inn, that the party was to start at daybreak for Sagara, stopping at Ise to worship at the shrine of Tersho Daijin.

Matayemon made his preparations accordingly, and, with Kazuma and his two retainers, started before dawn. Beyond Uyeno, in the province of Iga, the castle town of the daimyo Todo Idzumi no Kami, there is a wide and lonely moor; and this was the place upon which they fixed for the attack upon the enemy. When they had arrived at the spot, Matayemon went into a tea house by the roadside, and wrote a petition to the governor of the daimyo's castle town for permission to carry out the vendetta within its precincts; then he addressed Kazuma, and said:

“When we fall in with Matagoro and begin the fight, do you engage and slay your father's murderer; attack him and him only, and I will keep off his guard of Ronin;” then turning to his two retainers, “As for you, keep close to Kazuma; and should the Ronin attempt to rescue Matagoro, it will be your duty to prevent them, and succor Kazuma.” And having further laid down each man's duties with great minuteness, they lay in wait for the arrival of the enemy. Whilst they were resting in the tea- house, the governor of the castle town arrived, and, asking for Matayemon, said:

“I have the honor to be the governor of the castle town of Todo Izu no Kami. My lord, having learned your intention of slaying your enemy within the precincts of his citadel, gives his consent ; and as a proof of his admiration of your fidelity and valor, he has further sent you a detachment of infantry, one hundred strong, to guard the place; so that should any of the thirty-six men attempt to escape, you may set your mind at ease, for flight will be impossible.”

When Matayemon and Kazuma had expressed their thanks for his lordship’s gracious kindness, the governor took his leave and returned home. At last the enemy's train was seen in the distance. First came Sakurai Jiuzayemon and his younger brother Jinsuke; and next to them followed Kawai Matagoro and Takenouchi Gentan. These four men, who were the bravest and the foremost of the band of Ronin, were riding on pack-horses, and the remainder were marching on foot, keeping close together.

As they drew near, Kazuma, who was impatient to avenge his father, stepped boldly forward and shouted in a loud voice:

“Here stand I, Kazuma, the son of Yukiye, whom you, Matagoro, treacherously slew, determined to avenge my father's death. Come forth, then, and do battle with me, and let us see which of us twain is the better man.”

And before the Ronin had recovered from their astonishment, Matayemon said:

“I, Araki Matayemon, the son-in-law of Yukiye, have come to second Kazuma in his deed of vengeance. Win or lose, you must give us battle.”

When the thirty-six men heard the name of Matayemon, they were greatly afraid ; but Sakurai Jiuzayemon urged them to be upon their guard, and leaped from his horse ; and Matayemon, springing forward with his drawn sword, cleft him from the shoulder to the nipple of his breast, so that he fell dead. Sakurai Jinsuke, seeing his brother killed before his eyes, grew furious, and shot an arrow at Matayemon, who deftly cut the shaft in two with his dirk as it flew; and Jinsuke, amazed at this feat, threw away his bow and attacked Matayemon, who, with his sword in his right hand and his dirk in his left, fought with desperation. The other Ronin attempted to rescue Jinsuke, and, in the struggle, Kazuma, who had engaged Matagoro, became separated from Matayemon, whose two retainers, Busk and Magohachi, bearing in mind their master's orders, killed five Ronin who had attacked Kazuma, but were themselves badly wounded. In the meantime, Matayemon, who had killed seven of the Ronin, and who the harder he was pressed the more bravely he fought, soon cut down three more, and the remainder dared not approach him. At this moment there came up one Kano Tozayemon, a retainer of the lord of the castle town, and an old friend of Matayemon, who, when he heard that Matayemon was this day about to avenge his father-in-law, had seized his spear and set out, for the sake of the old goodwill between them, to help him, and act as his second, and said:

“Sir Matayemon, hearing of the perilous adventure in which you have engaged, I have come out to offer myself as your second.”

Matayemon, hearing this, was rejoiced, and fought with renewed vigor Then one of the Ronin, named Takenouchi Gentan, a very brave man, leaving his companions to do battle with Matayemon, came to the rescue of Matagoro, who was being hotly pressed by Kazuma, and, in attempting to prevent this, Busuke fell covered with wounds. His companion Magohachi, seeing him fall, was in great anxiety; for should any harm happen to Kazuma, what excuse could he make to Matayemon? So, wounded as he was, he too engaged Takenouchi Gentan, and, being crippled by the gashes he had received, was in deadly peril. Then the man who had come up from the castle town to act as Matayemon's second cried out:

“See there, Sir Matayemon, your follower who is fighting with Gentan is in great danger. Do you go to his rescue, and second Sir Kazuma: I will give an account of the others!”

“Great thanks to you, sir. I will go and second Kazuma.”

So Matayemon went to help Kazuma, whilst his second and the infantry soldiers kept back the surviving Ronin, who, already wearied by their fight with Matayemon, were unfit for any further exertion. Kazuma meanwhile was still fighting with Matagoro, and the issue of the conflict was doubtful; and Takenouchi Gentan, in his attempt to rescue Matagoro, was being kept at bay by Magohachi, who, weakened by his wounds, and blinded by the blood which was streaming into his eyes from a cut in the forehead, had given himself up for lost when Matayemon came and cried:

“Be of good cheer, Magohachi; it is I, Matayemon, who have come to the rescue. You are badly hurt; get out of harm's way, and rest yourself.”

Then Magohachi, who until then had been kept up by his anxiety for Kazuma's safety, gave in, and fell fainting from loss of blood; and Matayemon worsted and slew Gentan; and even then, although he had received two wounds, he was not exhausted, but drew near to Kazuma and said:

“Courage, Kazuma! The Ronin are all killed, and there now remains only Matagoro, your father's murderer. Fight and win!”

The youth, thus encouraged, redoubled his efforts; but Matagoro, losing heart, quailed and fell. So Kazuma's vengeance was fulfilled, and the desire of his heart was accomplished.

The two faithful retainers, who had died in their loyalty, were buried with great ceremony, and Kazuma carried the head of Matagoro and piously laid it upon his father's tomb.

So ends the tale of Kazuma's revenge.


Marubashi Chuyaii

This tale of revenge seems to be a dramatized version of an amalgamation of both the Shimabara Uprising that occurred between 1637-1638, Keian Jiken Incident of 1651 and Joo Jiken Incident of 1652 in Feudal Japan intertwined with another story of revenge involving Araki Mataemon (Matayemon) and Kawai Matagoro. These revolts have been dramatized in kabuki plays throughout Japan's history, the most famous of which is the dramatized version of the Keian Revolt titled Keian Taiheki . A key figure from both the plays as well as a significant personage in history is Matsudaira Nobutsuna, also known as Izu no Kami, the main suppressor of the Shimabara Uprising.

It appears that the revenge aspect of this story is a bit out of context with the root being based on the story of Araki Matayemon (1598/99-1638), the founder of the martial art Yagyu Shingen Ryu. An account of Araki Matayemon's life indicates that Kawai Matagoro had killed his brother in-law's younger brother Gendayu, with Matayemon's brother in-law being Watanabe Kazuma. As a result Mataemon and Kazuma teamed up and ultimately were able to hunt down and kill Matagoro at the town of Ueno near Iga pass in 1634. Later in life, it appears Mataemon was poisoned to death in 1638, which seems to echo the death of Lord Kunaishoyu in our story who was poisoned.1 It appears that therefore our story of Kazuma's revenge has elements of the life story of Araki Mataemon, which began to be dramatized in kabuki plays in the 18th century and the incident became known as the Vengeance at Iga Pass.2It would appear that this story of revenge has been intertwined with historical revolts that occurred between 1637-1652 to be adapted for Kabuki plays.

In history, Matsudaira Nobutsuna was a Hatamoto himself, who ultimately rose in statues to become the daimyo of the Oshi domain in 1633 as well as became the senior councilor to the Tokugawa Iemitsu and his successor Tokugawa Ietsuna. It was during his time as a daimyo that the Shimabara Uprising occurred when a group of primarily Catholic peasants led by Amakusa Shiro and supported by Dutch merchants revolted against the Tokugawa government in 1637. It is very likely the first patron who offered protection to Matagoro in this story, Abe Shirogoro, is based on Amakusa Shiro as both in history and in our story, Matsudaira Nobutsuna was put in charge of the forces to suppress the rebellion.3

According to history, Matsudaira successfully led a force of 125,000 soldiers to lay siege to the rebels stronghold at Hara Castle. In the aftermath, 37,000 supporters of the rebellion were executed and the Dutch traders were expelled from Japan. As a result of Dutch involvement against the Tokugawa, this caused widespread mistrust of foreigners in Japan and led to Matsudaira helping the Tokugawa Shogunate create their national seclusion policy to isolate itself from the outside world. This policy stayed in effect for 214 years, ending only upon Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan in the Meiji Era when a trade agreement was signed in 1854.4

The second part of our story seems to be in reference to the Keian Jiken Incident. This revolt was initiated by a group of disgruntled Ronin led by Yui Shosetsu and Marubashi Chuya who had plotted to blow up Edo Castle with gunpowder. Their plot was discovered however before it could be carried out when Marubashi Chuya fell ill and in a delirium state revealed the details of the plot resulting in himself and the other conspirators to be caught and executed under the direction of Matsudaira. This feverish and ailing state of Marubashi seems to resemble when we learn the Matagoro allies with Sakurai Jiuzayemon and his band of Ronin and plot to attack Osaka. In our story, the idea that the plot was found out through the feverish revealing of secrets is alluded to when a servant of Sakurai Jiuzayemon revealed when ordering a large amount of food for the Ronin that his master had been sick. Kazuma's new ally, Matayemon, overheard this and and reported the information about Sakurai getting ready to attack to Kazuma. This resulted in appealing to Izu no Kami for support who gave Kazuma a force to suppress the Ronin and the Ronin were successfully killed.5

The Joo Jiken was another separate revolt following the Keian Jiken Incident where more Ronin who were dissatisfied with the Tokugawa Shogunate revolted in Sado. This revolt however was also suppressed by Matsudaira and the showdown in the tea house could resemble both the Keian and Joo Incidents based on the disgruntled nature of the Ronin plotting against the Shogun.


Sensei Justin Hagen, has been practicing martial arts since the age of 5 years old and is currently a martial arts instructor as well as an educator for the Pennsylvania public school system. In 2011 he received his Bachelor's degree in history with a minor in philosophy with emphasis on East Asian studies and religion from the University of Rhode Island. Continuing his education, Sensei Hagen also received his Masters degree from DeSales University in Education in 2018 with his final thesis exploring research on the effects martial arts programs have on behavior in the educational setting. Sensei Hagen now seeks to share the knowledge he has accrued through his experiences in life with the world. Currently he teaches Olympic style Tae Kwon Do at BucksMont Tae Kwon Do in Hatfield, PA as well as independently runs a Kyokushin Karate club under the direction of Shihan Roman Herman's KUSA organization. Sensei Hagen also has courses available on Udemy open to the public to take in order to learn more about martial arts philosophy and culture.

In conjunction to martial arts, Sensei Hagen is also a woodburning artist, the subject for his art often inspired by martial arts and Japanese culture.

To browse his catalog of Hannya Mask, Ukiyo-E & Kanji woodburns, please visit:


1) Baron Redesdale, Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford. Tales of Old Japan. United Kingdom, Macmillan and Company, 1871.

2) Dykstra, Yoshiko: Notable Tales Old and New. Tachibana Narisue's Kokon Chomonjū

3) Hickman, Kennedy. “Learn About the Tokugawa Shogunate: the Shimabara Rebellion.” ThoughtCo, 17 Mar. 2017, 2360804.

4) Kornicki, P. F. “Manuscript, Not Print: Scribal Culture in the Edo Period.”Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 32, no. 1, 2006, pp. 23–52. JSTOR

5) Sansom, George (1963). A History of Japan: 1615–1867. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

1 Skoss, Diane (Editor). 1997. Koryu Bujutsu.Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan, volume 1. New Jersey, Koryu Books. ISBN1-890536-04-0

2 Jones, Stanleigh H. “Vengeance at Iga Pass.” De Gruyter, University of Hawaii Press, 31 Dec. 2012,

3 Hickman, Kennedy. “Learn About the Tokugawa Shogunate: the Shimabara Rebellion.” ThoughtCo, 17 Mar. 2017, rebellion-2360804.

4 Hickman, Kennedy. “Learn About the Tokugawa Shogunate: the Shimabara Rebellion.” ThoughtCo, 17 Mar. 2017, rebellion-2360804.

5 Sansom, George (1963). A History of Japan: 1615–1867. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

ii Kunichika, Toyohara, Marubashi Chūya Ichikawa Sadanji, 1883-1886. Source File:

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