Japanese Text Initiative
Second Edition, facsimile of the 1913 first edition
Prepared for the University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center.
This Play was probably written about 1410; at any rate in the first quarter of the fifteenth century. Its author was Motokiyo, who was born in 1374 and who died in 1455. He was the eldest son of the famous Kiyotsugu (see p. 7).
The time of the action of the play is about the year 1190, and Kagekiyo, the hero of the story, is a very renowned warrior of the Taira clan. The Taira and the Minamoto (Gen) clans were rivals and were perpetually at war; during the years 1156-1185 more particularly this struggle culminated, when Japan had her "Wars of the Roses."
Kagekiyo, known as the Boisterous, owing to his uneven temper and ready appeals to arms, was a famous warrior of the Taira clan, and when the Minamoto Shogunate was established at Kamakura, Kagekiyo was exiled to a distant place in Hiuga, where he became blind and passed a miserable existence as a beggar. He had a daughter called Hitomaru, whom he left in Kamakura in the charge of a lady. At the time of the play, Hitomaru has just grown up to be a young lady, but she had a great desire to meet her father, and so set out with a servant to seek him. She has a long and arduous journey to the place of her father's exile, and after
In this play there is perhaps less description of the beauties of Nature than in many of the No, but the opening lines are particularly fraught with the meaning which permeates the whole play.
The comparison of human life to a drop of dew is one frequently made in the literature of the No. Throughout this play there are many phrases showing how deeply the characters feel the transitoriness of human life. After Hitomaru's longing for a place to rest a little while, Kagekiyo exclaims --
Kagekiyo's behaviour to his child, and his reception of her after her long search for him, appears to us to be most cruel; but it is, nevertheless, based on the conceptions of the chivalry of his time. Kagekiyo's leading thought was the really unselfish desire to keep the
The dew remains until the wind doth blow,
The dew remains until the wind doth blow.
My own life fleeting as a drop of dew,
What will become of me as time does pass?
My name is Hitomaru, and I am
A maiden, who in Kamakura 20 dwells.
My father's name is Kagekiyo, called
By some the Boisterous, and he is a friend
Of the Hei 21 clan, the Taira family
And so is by the Gen 21 house hated much.
To Miyasaki exiled, in Hiuga
He deigns, in shame, long months and years to pass.
To travel unaccustomed, I am tired,
And yet inevitable weariness
I mitigate by thinking of my quest,
And I am strengthened for my father's sake.
The tears of anxious sleep run down my cheek
And to the dew upon the pillowing grass
Add drops that drench my sleeves.
From Sagami the province we set out,
From Sagami the province we set out,
Asking from those we met, the road to take
Toward our destination. And we passed
The province Totomi, 22 and crossed by boat
The distant bay. And Mikana we passed,
By Mikana, spanned o'er with bridges eight.
Oh, would that we could grow accustomed soon
To our short nights of sleep that we might dream
Of the high capital above the clouds,
Of the high capital above the clouds.
Endeavoured as you honourably have
To hasten on the way, already now
This is Miyasaki, as it is called,
To Hiuga you have honourably come.
This is the place to honourably ask
Your honourable father's whereabouts.
[ Evident to the audience, but supposed to be hidden from the other actors. ]
The pine trees that have seen long months and years
Entwine themselves to form the arching bowers.
Yet I, debarred from the clear light of day
Discern no sign that time is passing by.
Here idly in a dark and lowly hut
I sleep the time away. The seasons change
But not for heat nor cold my clothes are planned
And to a skeleton my frame has waned.
If one has got to leave the world, then black,
Black should his sleeves be dyed. Then surely black
His sleeves should all be dyed. and yet my sleeves --
Oh, more inglorious! So utterly
Worn out and waned my stare that I myself
Feel much averse unto my wretched self.
So who could be benevolent enough
To visit such a state of misery?
No one inquiring of my misery
Will ever come.
No one inquiring of my misery
Will ever come.
Incredible that one should dwell within
That wretched hut, it does not seem to be
Fit for a habitation. Strangely though
I heard a voice proceeding from its wall.
A beggar's dwelling it must be. I fear,
And from the lowly dwelling keep away.
That autumn now has come I cannot see,
And yet I feel it for the wind has brought
Tidings from somewhere, tho' I know not whence.
Ah, knowing not my father's whereabouts
In misery I wander, with no place
Where I can rest even a little while.
Nay, in the three worlds there is not a place,
'Tis only in the heavenly expanse. 23
Choose any man and ask him, he will say
"Where else!" And what else could he ever say?
How now, you in the thatched hut, I would ask
A question of you.
Well; what is it then?
Knowest thou where dwells an exiled man?
An exile though he be, what is his name?
The Boist'rous Kagekiyo is he called,
And of the Taira house, a warrior.
Yes, yes, I think that I have heard of him,
Though being blind the man I've never seen.
Miserable, his honourable state!
To hear of which stirs pity in my breast.
Pray then inquire elsewhere the full account.
Then hereabouts he does not seem to be.
[ To his mistress ]
But further on we should inquire again
If you will honourably now proceed.
She who has just been here -- Why! is she not
The very child of this selfsame blind man?
Once, very long ago, at Atsuta
I met a woman, and this child I got.
It was a girl, 24 and so I trusted her
To Kamegaegatsu's châtelaine.
Now grieving parent meets with child estranged;
She, speaking to her father, knows it not.
Her form unseen, although I hear her voice,
How sad my blindness is! Without a word
I let her pass. And yet such action is
Due truly to the bond of parent's love,
Due truly to the bond of parent's love.
How now, you there! Art thou a villager?
And to the Villager what hast thou then
Of honourable business?
Dost thou know
Where lives an exiled man?
What sort of man --
An exile though he be -- of whom you ask?
A warrior of the Hei house, and called
Kagekiyo the Boist'rous, him I seek.
Just now as thou hast come along this way
Upon the hill-side, was there not a hut,
A hut with thatch, and somebody within?
Yes, a blind beggar sat within the hut.
Aye. That blind beggar is the man you seek,
The very Kagekiyo whom you seek!
How strange! When I said Kagekiyo's name
That honourable lady there did deign
To show a look of sadness. Why was that?
Thy wonder is most reasonable. Naught
Shall I conceal from thee. Kagekiyo's
Most honourable daughter is the maid
Who hopes once more her honoured sire to meet.
That being so, and as from far away
She has come hither, I pray thee devise
Some proper way of speaking face to face
Is she his honourable daughter then?
Well, calm your heart, and pray you deign to hear.
The sight of both eyes Kagekiyo lost;
So helpless, he cut short his hair and called
Himself Kotau of Hiuga and he begs
For his poor living from the travellers,
And with the pity of such lowly folk
As we ourselves, he just sustains his life.
And that he doth not tell his name must be
Shame for the contrast with the olden days.
At once I shall go with you and call out
"Kagekiyo" -- and if it is his name
Then will he answer and you can observe
Him face to face, and of the distant past
And of the present you shall tell him all.
Pray come this way.
Holloa! in the thatched hut
Is Kagekiyo there within? Is there
The boisterous Kagekiyo?
Worrying, even if my state were well.
And even though these people came from home,
Shame for this very self compels me now
Without my name to let them go -- and yet --
And yet it rends my heart and, the sad tears
As of a thousand streams run down my sleeves.
I waken with the thought that earthly things
Are naught, and but as visions in a dream.
I am resolved in this world now to be
As one who is not, and if they will call
This beggar Kagekiyo, why reply?
Moreover in this province I've a name --
That name in Hiuga facing to the sun, 25
In Hiuga, facing to the sun is not
The name they call, but they return to one
Of the old days, discarded long ago,
Which with my helplessly dropped bow I dropped.
Wild thoughts again I never will excite
And yet I'm angry.
Though while here I live
In this place.
While I live
In this place; if I stir the hate of those
With means, how helpless would I be! and like
A blind man who had lost his walking-stick.
A crippled man am I, and yet I dared
Unreasonable words to use in wrath.
Forgive I pray!
Blind are my eyes and yet --
Blind are my eyes and yet I surely know
Another's thought hid in a single word.
And if upon the mountains blows the wind
Against the pine trees, I can tell its source,
Whether it comes from snow or unseen flowers, --
Flowers only seen in dreams from which to wake
Is to regret! Again if in the bay
Upon the rough sea beaches dashing waves
Are heard, then I well know the evening tide
Is rising. Aye, to the great Taira clan
I do belong, and so to pleasure them
I'd give recitals of those olden days
How now, I wish to say a word to thee,
For it has troubled me that I just now
Used such quick-tempered words. For what I said
I pray thee pardon me.
Well, that is naught.
So never mind it. And, has no one come,
To make inquiries here before I came?
No, no. Except thy calling, none has been.
[ Kagekiyo keeps silence ]
Ho! 'Tis a lie thou sayest. Certainly
Did Kagekiyo's noble daughter come.
Wherefore dost thou conceal? It is because
I feel her story is so pitiful
That I've come here with her.
[ To Hitomaru ]
So now at once
Meet with your father, see him face to face
Pray, it is I, I who have come to you.
Cruel! The rain, the wind, the dew and frost
I minded not along that distant road,
While coming to you! And all this, alas,
Becomes as nothing! Does a Father's love
Depend upon the nature of the child?
Up till now I hoped to hide,
But now I am found out I am ashamed.
To hide my fleeting * self there is no place.
[ To Hitomaru ]
If, in thy flowering form thou shouldst proclaim
That we are child and parent, then thy name
Thou wouldst announce, 27 and when I think on this
I am resolved we part. Pray do not feel
Thy father harsh and this mere heartlessness!
Ah, truly is it sad! In olden times
I welcomed even strangers when they called,
And was displeased if they should pass me by.
And now its recompense! How sad it is!
To think that I had hoped that my own child
Should not have called on me. Alas, how sad!
When in their warships were the Taira clan,
When in their warships were the Taira clan,
So many were there that their shoulders touched
And in the crowded space the knees were crossed.
There scarce was room to live 28 beneath the moon --
And Kagekiyo more than any else
Was on the flagship indispensable.
His fellow officers and all the rest
Though rich in valour and in tactic powers
He did o'ertop. And as the ship is steered
By him who holds the rudder, so did he
Lead in the army and no difference
Ever occurred between him and his men.
All envied him, but now he is most like
A Unicorn, infirm with hoary age
And rather worse than a mere useless horse. 29
How now, Kagekiyo, I'd speak with thee!
Thy daughter's wish is there, and she would hear
Of thy heroic deeds at Yashima
So tell her the brave story. Let her hear.
'Tis somewhat unbecoming, her request!
Yet as she came from far and for my sake,
I'll tell the story, but when it is done
Pray send her home again immediately.
That shall be done. Thy story finished, I
Will send her back at once.
Well then. The time
Was drawing toward the end of the third month
Of the third year of Ju-ei 30 and our clan
Were in their warships while upon the land
The hordes of Minamoto gathered near.
Two armies were opposed upon the coast
And each one wished a contest to decide.
Then Noritsune, Lord of Noto, spoke
To all his people -- "In our last year's fights
From Muroyama down in Harima
To Mizushima, Hiyodorigoe
And all, we never had one victory.
To Yoshitsune's 31 tactics this was due.
"By some means or another we must slay
This Kuro, and suggestions we desire
Of some good plan;" he deigned to say to them.
Then Kagekiyo in his mind resolved
That Hangwan was no devil nor a god,
So if I throw away my life for his,
I thought, it will be easy, so that this
To Noritsune was my last farewell.
And as I landed the Gen warriors
Did dash towards me to destroy my life.
This Kagekiyo saw,
This Kagekiyo saw, and crying out
"How clamorous!" He struck out with his sword
That in the evening sun flashed brilliantly.
Th' opposing warriors at once gave way,
And he pursued, that they should not escape.
This is deplorable for every one --
This is deplorable for every one!
'Tis mutual shame alike for the Gen clan
And for the Hei clan to look upon
So shouted I -- thinking to stop one man
Is easy, and so underneath my arm
Carrying my sword -- "A warrior am I
Of the great Hei clan, Kagekiyo
Some call the Boisterous," and thus crying out
To seize them I pursued them. Then I caught
On Mihonoya's helmet, but it slipped.
Again I caught, but once again it slipped
And thus three times did he escape, though I
Determined that he should not flee, for he,
He was the foe that I had chosen.
Eiya! As with the whole strength of my arms
I pulled, and as I hauled the cape broke off,
And part stayed in my hand, 32 but he escaped.
When at some distance from me, he turned back
And said, "Now thou art mighty strong of arm
Although thou didst allow me to escape."
Then Kagekiyo answered back, "The strength
Lies in the neck bone of Mihonoya."
So smiling, did we part to left and right. 33
He who has told the tale of olden days --
Days ne'er forgotten -- is now sadly waned
And e'en confused in mind. Ah, what a shame!
The end of all this woe of life is near,
For in this world at most my time is short.
At once return, * and when I am no more
I pray thee deign to offer prayers for me.
That in dark places there shall be a light
For this blind man, and over evil roads
A bridge. So will I look upon thy prayers.
"I stay," said he, and she "I go,"
His ears retained but her one word "I go."
And thus between the parent and the child
This was the legacy at last exchanged --
Between the parent and the child exchanged.