Monday, December 24, 2012
Atsumori, Heike-Genji War - Visit To Sumadera, Kobe
23 December is the birthday of the current Emperor and today was a national holiday – substitute – in Japan.
Today I watched "Warrior’s Flute" – Fuefuki Wakamushu, a film made in 1955, with the beautiful Hibari Misora. It is a story of lords, and princesses in the Heian period. Atsumori’s death, presented in the film, is featured in a temple in Kobe, too.
Sumadera, a temple I have mentioned in previous posts – 27 October, 6 November – dates from 886. It is devoted to the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the Buddha of Healing. The treasure hall exhibits historical objects related to the war between the Taira and Minamoto clans in the 12th century – the Heike and Genji at war. On the temple grounds there is a garden featuring Atsumori and Kumagai Naozane on horses, a pose just before the first was killed by the latter. It is a depiction of the Battle of Ichi no Tani in 1184, which appears even in the film mentioned above. Atsumori fought bravely and lost his life at age 17. And his killer, Kumagai Naozane, appears in the film as his true father - a tragedy of the past. Atsumori is in the water, called from shore to fight.
This is the oldest ichigen-kin, Japanese harp with one string. In the museum there is also a flute – aoba no fue, “the flute of green leaves” – that belonged to Atsumori of Taira, the Heike warrior.
The same scene, in the film:
The Taira was a major clan of samurai. During the Heian period (794-1185) four clans were important, the Taira, Minamoto, also Fujiwara and Tachibana. The kanji for Taira can be also read Heike. Sumadera was built by the order of Emperor Koko of this dynasty, so this story is related to this temple. In the background, you can see the Sasarindou – gentian flowers and bamboo leaves on the family crest of the Minamoto clan.