Monday, 29 October 2012

Taira no Kiyomori ep 42: Yoritomo confessed his love to Masako!

Minamoto no Yoritomo (Okada Masaki), ep 42

This week’s Taira no Kiyomori brings me the happy news about Yoritomo confessing his love to Masako! Of course the feeling was reciprocal, but the confession did not happen before an arranged marriage and a girl’s escaping the wedding entourage. On the Heike side, we have Kiyomori murdering Saiko and Narichika, an action which appalled his darling son Shigemori.

You may be able to watch it online in Pandora TV, FC2 or the like, but perhaps you have to wait for more than 24 hours. The Pandora account where I usually watch the rerun of TNK episodes have deleted ep 41, and I don’t think he/she will upload ep 42. But I got lucky last night and found another Pandora account which uploaded TNK ep 41 here. I assume he/she will upload ep 42 as well. Fingers crossed. [Edit: Click here to watch ep 42 online! I've watched it several times by 16 Nov, and this is by far my fave TNK episode]

Episode 42 opened with a Heike scene as per NHK World Premium’s summary here:

Kiyomori receives secret information that the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa and his aides, including Narichika and Saiko, are plotting to overthrow the Taira family. Kiyomori bursts in anger and captures Saiko to extort a confession out of him. Saiko, however, outrages Kiyomori by saying things that rub Kiyomori the wrong way, and Kiyomori orders for the execution of Saiko. Narichika is also captured and killed off by Kiyomori, despite Shigemori's desperate plea for Narichika's life. Witnessing Kiyomori's mercilessness to those who stand in the way, Shigemori becomes fearful of Kiyomori.

From the Genji side, Hōjō Masako (Watanabe Anne) was practicing her archery skill when her father Hōjō Tokimasa (Endo Kenichi) summoned her. Turned out, dearly beloved father wanted Masako to marry Yamaki Hangan Kanetaka, a powerful local Heike ruler. I am under the impression that this arranged marriage was connected to ep 41, in which two Taira goons (I think their names were Yoshiaki and Hideyoshi?) came to the Hōjō house and said something that concerned Tokimasa. Anyway, whatever. Tokimasa told her daughter how Yamaki Kanetaka was a good man; he was going to make her happy, etc etc etc. As expected, Masako politely declined the marriage offer (I mean, order). I’m not sure if she said that her heart was with someone else, but as the result, Tokimasa slapped his own daughter. 

Somehow Tokimasa managed to get Masako accepting the arranged marriage proposal. The news spread out quickly to Hiruga Kojima Island (see my note below on this island), where Minamoto no Yoritomo (Okada Masaki) lived. Yoritomo was playing shō when his loyal aide Morinaga Tō Kuro (Tsukamoto Takashi) informed him that Masako-dono was to be married to Yamaki Kanetaka-sama. Yoritomo was surprised, but he quickly masked it with a chuckle. I think Yoritomo and Tō Kuro then talked about Masako's rather unorthodox character (I have the impression that Yoritomo commented on Masako's nosey behaviours, and Tō Kuro said that such a trait was actually charming, or something like that). Tō Kuro then said something like, Masako's marriage would certainly change their lives (as in, she would no longer butt in and started her pro-Genji, anti-Heike campaign); Yoritomo looked pensive afterwards.

Saiko arrested, NHK

Meanwhile, at the Heike front, Saiko was captured and taken to Kiyomori after the Heike raided the monk’s monastery (due to the secret information that Narichika, Saiko and Go-Shirakawa were plotting to overthrow the Heike). I couldn’t follow what Saiko said, but it sure pissed off Kiyomori, such that the Rokuhara lord stepped down from his seat and beat the monk with his foot. Many times. Such that Shigemori (Kiyomori’s oldest son) watched in increased discomfort and finally begged his father to spare Saiko ’s life. But it mattered not, for Saiko died anyway after being the receiving end of Kiyomori’s repeated kicks. 

Back in Izu. The sky was cloudy when Yoritomo woke up. It was Masako’s wedding day, and the young Genji in exile was feeling restless as he looked at the sky. Meanwhile, at the Hōjō house, Masako bade her parents farewell. She was to be taken to the castle where Yamaki Kanetaka lived. There, the wedding ceremony would take place. Despite the threatening rain cloud, the simple wedding procession started their journey on foot to the Yamaki place. However, the sky kept its promise: it rained hard when Masako’s entourage was just leaving the village.

Back in Hiruga Kojima, Yoritomo was watching the rain when suddenly Masako, in her white bride glory, ran into his garden. Apparently, the wild girl escaped from her entourage and  ran away to Yoritomo’s house. Flabbergasted, Yoritomo asked what was going on. Masako ignored him, and instead went into the house to get Higekiri, the family heirloom of the Genji. [I’ve been wondering if the sword Yoritomo was examining in ep 40 was truly Higekiri, Yoshitomo’s sword that he bestowed to his son Yoritomo before he was defeated. This site confirmed that it was truly Higekiri, the Beard-Cutter] 

Masako forcing Higekiri into Yoritomo's hands, ep 42

 Surprised that the girl dared to touch Higekiri, Yoritomo asked what the heck was she going to do. Once again ignoring him, Masako struggled to keep the sword that Yoritomo was about to seize, such that the Genji prince stumbled into the wet garden. Not stopping, Masako jumped into the garden, forced Higekiri into Yoritomo’s hands and told the drenched wet Genji son that he must rise and take charge from now on. I gather that Masako wanted to use this chance to tell Yoritomo that message for the last time before her wedding.

Along these points, the movie went back and forth the Heike and the Genji: the Heike with Kiyomori repeatedly kicking Saiko, the Genji with Masako yelling at Yoritomo, asking him why he didn’t want to fight back. Yoritomo’s mind flashed back to the day when Kiyomori spared his life and sent him into exile. Something that Kiyomori said years ago, in addition to the words Masako said just now, seemed to hit the young man. Slowly, he grasped Higekiri in his hand, first tentatively, then with determination. Yoritomo looked up and smiled at Masako.

Sensing that Yoritomo had come to his senses, Masako knew that her mission was completed. She smiled, bowed and bade Yoritomo farewell. Unlike the legend about her and Yoritomo, here the eldest Hōjō daughter did not plan to elope with Yoritomo. She simply wanted to awaken the sleeping samurai spirit within him. Masako asked Yoritomo to remember her and turned to leave. Unexpectedly, her hand was held tightly by none other than Yoritomo himself. With a mixed look of longing and plea, he asked her to stay. If I’m not mistaken, Yoritomo said that he loved her, and, as he cried (I checked it, I did see his tears half hidden by the rain), he asked her not to leave him alone. Not now, not tomorrow. Despite her disbelief, Masako slowly smiled. Yoritomo smiled as well. They hugged! Well, Masako ‘jumped’ at Yoritomo and hugged him first, while Yoritomo laughed in half-discomfort before hugging her back.

Masako (Watanabe Anne) smiling after receiving Yoritomo's confession

Okay, they should have kissed. I long to see Yoritomo – I mean, Okada Masaki – kissed! Have you seen him kissing Inoue Mao in ‘I Give My First Love to You’? Boy, that boy sure can kiss!

[Edit: I've rewatched ep 42 here. I think Yoritomo didn't exactly say 'I love you' to Masako. What he repeatedly said was something referring to tomorrow ('ashitae'). I think he referred to Masako as his tomorrow, or he asked Masako to stay with him to build his tomorrow]

But nonetheless, Yoritomo confessed his feeling to Masako, who accepted it with delight. In the rain, the lover hugged and smiled together. When the happy Tō Kuro congratulated them and led them inside again, safe from the rain, the couple did so, and sat at the edge of the porch. Remembering something, Masako jumped back into the drenched garden and retrieved the scabbard of Higekiri and gave it to Yoritomo with another smile. Yoritomo and Masako laughed together (I finally saw Masaki’s trademark laughter here!).

Episode 42 ended with Yoritomo stating inside his heart that he had found his own future. He also realised that his enemy Kiyomori was about to lose his future. Meanwhile, Go-Shirakawa was shocked to learn that his alliance to overthrow the Heike had failed and that Kiyomori had captured all his allies. Ep 43 will bring us Benkei and Yoshitsune again, so stay tuned!

Go-Shirakawa (Matsuda Shota) planning to overthrow the Heike, ep 42


Thanks to an anonymous commentator last week, I’ve read Yoshikawa Eiji’s book (or Eiji Yoshikawa to Western readers) titled ‘Minamoto no Yoritomo’. Yoshikawa sensei was the author of some masterpieces, including ‘Musashi’ and ‘Taiko’. I read the Indonesian version of ‘Minamoto no Yoritomo’ (no English translation so far); the translation was quite well done. 

The book was the first of the two volumes (the second volume is hopefully being translated now), and it tells many details that I missed from just guessing what have transpired in NHK’s Taira no Kiyomori. For instance, I found that Yoritomo was exiled to Hiruga Kojima Island in Izu. The book indicated that the ‘island’ was not really an island off the sea. Eiji Yoshikawa indicated that Hiruga Kojima was at the southern edge of Mt Hakone where Kano River flowed by. I tried to find the island on the map to no avail. Perhaps I should use Kanji in Google Map...

The book also talked about how young Yoritomo was bestowed with his father’s sword Higekiri (Beard-Cutter) before the Heiji Rebelion. ‘Minamoto no Yoritomo’ didn’t indicate that Yoritomo brought Higekiri with him to Izu. Rather, according to this site, Yoritomo asked Tadamune (the guy who killed his father) to bestow the sword to Atsuta Shrine. Later, when he started his campaign to overthrow the Heike, Yoritomo would retrieve Higekiri from the shrine. 

I will try to find time this week to write and post my review of Eiji Yoshikawa’s ‘Minamoto no Yoritomo’. It is a good book. It should have the English version for you guys to read. [edit: click here for the review of Yoshikawa Eiji's 'Minamoto no Yoritomo']

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