Can a feudal era General and famed military strategist act as a modern day Cupid?
Episode Seven: Tarui Parade.
Around 4AM on the morning of September 13th 2015, Masayo and I left Kamakura en route Tarui. Arriving at the Tarui Tourism Bureau around 11AM, we met Mr. Fuwa, and then the three of us crossed over to Tarui Station to greet Yohsuke.
We then walked over to the Nakasendo, which was teeming with crowds of people, and milled about smartly for a bit, sampling some of the delicacies offered there. All of a sudden it was the time we needed to change into our samurai outfits to participate in the pre parade event marking the Battle of Sekigahara. We hastily changed into samurai rig and took part in the event, which was held in the Tarui Town Civic Auditorium. Afterwards, we walked back over to the Nakasendo and took our assigned places in the parade just in time for the parade to start. Amongst the many participants in the parade, Masayo and I took our places immediately following Yohsuke. Once the parade was over, we went up on the central stage where the MC introduced Yohsuke as the direct descendant of General Hanbei, plus Masayo and me as his two friends from Kamakura representing the historical figures of Lord Yoshitsune and the ever faithful Benkei.
I suppose the good people of Tarui were wondering why two 12th century characters were accompanying a representation of the 16th century General Hanbei, but what’s a few centuries between friends? Besides, we are all Minamoto.
Here are some pictures from that day. Photos courtesy of Masayo and Mr. Fuwa.:
With the parade safely over, the three of us went to the nearby city of Ogaki, where we would spend the night. The next day was to be my day of reckoning, and it dawned bright and early for me. After waking up, I took the opportunity to tour Ogaki Castle. Then, the three of us bundled into my car for the trip back to Tarui in order to pay our respects at General Hanbei’s grave.
Yohsuke, Masayo and I paid our respects at General Hanbei’s grave, his father’s grave, and his brother’s grave, offering flowers, incense, and some of Tennessee’s finest whiskey at each grave. Yohsuke told the General about how once again a samurai warrior bearing the Takenaka family crest on his garrison coat (jin-baori) marched through the streets of Tarui. As I bowed my head in prayer in front of General Hanbei, I explained about the Jack Daniels, a libation he probably wasn’t too familiar with. I told him it was the preferred drink of the warriors of a nation called the United States of America, a nation that didn’t even exist during his lifetime; but was now one of the most powerful nations in the world. That I, at one time, was also a warrior of that nation. But now I had come to a personal battle in which I needed the General’s assistance. I asked him for his help in winning the heart of the beautiful girl whom was standing next to me. That to me she represented “All Under Heaven.”
This is a picture Masayo took of Yohsuke and me after we finished paying our respects.
We then got into my car. First, I drove Yohsuke to the nearby city of Maibara so he could catch a Bullet Train back to Hyogo. Following that, Masayo and I got on the Meishin, then the Tomei Expressway to head back to the Kanto Plains.
Location: Zendouji Temple, Tarui town, Gifu Prefecture. Family temple for the Takenaka family.
General Hanbei Takenaka, famous Sengoku period military strategist.
Benkei, famous Kamakura period warrior monk.
Lord Yoshitsune Minamoto, famous Kamakura period warlord and brilliant military tactician, Benkei’s chosen liege.
Modern day persons:
Yohsuke Takenaka, General Hanbei’s direct descendant, present day Takenaka liege representation
Bill Young, your humble scribe and modern day Benkei character
Masayo, modern day Yoshitsune character