Sunday, 11 November 2012

Taira no Kiyomori ep 44: Shigemori, O-hime, etc

Yoritomo (Okada Masaki) and his daughter O-hime 
(kinda reminds me of Masaki's role in 'Himitsu no Akko-chan'!)

TNK this week (1179 CE) was opened with Minamoto no Yoritomo (Okada Masaki) and Hōjō Masako (Watanabe Anne) enjoying the presence of their first offpring, baby O-hime. At the background, father-in-law Hōjō Tokimasa was getting worried that he would be the receiving end of Kiyomori's wrath should the Rokuhara lord heard of this news. It seems that Tokimasa had also heard of rumours about the impending end of the Heike's reign in Kyoto.

Yoritomo and Masako seemed to be blissfully ignorant of these subjects, at least for the moment. Baby O-hime seemed to be a healthy girl (which – alas – was not the way she would grow up; I think she would have some mental illness of sort). Somehow, I think Yoritomo was still being left alone with Masako (without the Heike getting pissed off about the marriage) because Kiyomori was busy balancing his power in Kyoto. Besides, for years Yoritomo had been seen as very passive and devoid of any passion to overthrow the Heike.

After the super short Genji scene, the story went back to Kyoto to the Heike and the Imperial Family. Below is the summary from NHK:

Shigemori, who has been suffering from anxiety of being caught between the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa and Kiyomori, finally falls ill. After Kiyomori's daughter Moriko, who acted as the intermediary between the Fujiwara and Taira families, dies of illness, Go-Shirakawa plots to bring down the Taira family by joining hands with Motofusa. In the Taira family, Munemori (Shigemori's half brother) becomes the head of the family on behalf of Shigemori who has been sick. After the passing of Shigemori at the age of 42, Go-Shirakawa immediately confiscates Shigemori's territory, which provokes Kiyomori's anger.

Kiyomori (Matsuyama Kenichi) and Shigemori (Kubota Masataka) during the latter's last moment

Not much of a thing interested me in this episode (click here for online viewing), but perhaps because of the very limited airtime of Yoritomo or Yoshitsune. I felt sorry when Shigemori died in pain and in vain (1179 CE); having a father like Kiyomori certainly brought his downfall. Munemori (Shigemori's younger brother) would later replace Kiyomori in Kyoto. I read somewhere (forgot where, perhaps Wiki) that Munemori was even more heartless than his father in dealing with his enemies.

Kiyomori got angry (again) when Go-Shirakawa sided with Fujiwara no Motofusa. When Kiyomori started to capture the Fujiwara family (Motofusa and his family, including his offspring) and also put Go-Shirakawa on house-arrest, I saw how far this once-great samurai had fallen. Yes, Kiyomori had turned into a being he despised the most during his youth; a dictator who would use any weapons in his disposal to secure his position. Lady Gion (Matsuda Seiko) warned Kiyomori about his rift with Go-Shirakawa. She said, 'Ikaga ni gozaimasu ka,  soko kara no nagame wa', which (with my limited Japanese) I interpreted as 'Do you understand what the view is from there?' or 'Do you understand what it means to be at the other side?'
Taira no Kiyomori was still a human, though. He was super happy and (naturally) super nice to his newborn grandson (who would be Emperor Antoku), and when he was being silly like that, he was actually fun to see. Matsuyama Kenichi brought out the grandfather in Kiyomori nicely.

Yoritomo practicing archery, ep 44 (sorry for the bad cap)

 Ep 44 brings us Yoritomo starting to practice archery (yay!!!), which means he started thinking about overthrowing the Heike. If I’m not mistaken, Yoritomo would also receive a visit from his long-lost half brother Yoshitsune who wanted to cooperate with him for the Genji agenda. The samurai in the Eastern Provinces (Tōgoku) also started to feel restless over the high taxation implemented by the Heike.

Meanwhile in Kyoto, Kiyomori seemed to have an interest in a (not so young) lady, whose make up was a bit too much IMO. That old bastard! He’s about to die and he wasn’t behaving better! Really, sometimes I don’t think these ancient guys deserve such a wife like Taira no Tokiko! Well, his doom was nigh anyway, so let him do whatever he wanted...

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