Sunday, 25 November 2012

Taira no Kiyomori ep 46: Yoritomo Raising an Army!

Yoritomo (Okada Masaki) in full battle armour, ep 46

Starting in May 1180, episode 46 of ‘Taira no Kiyomori’ opened with another Genji/Yoritomo scene, following what happened in ep 45 where Yoritomo received a letter from Prince Mochihito requesting his help. Yoritomo still hesitated a bit. It took Hōjō Masako (Watanabe Anne) sternly reminding him of his life's purpose,  as well as the support from Tō Kuro (Tsukamoto Takashi) and Hōjō Tokimasa (Endō Kenichi) before Yoritomo was convinced of his chance to win a war against Kiyomori. The letter-deliverer (whoever he was) also said that Minamoto no Yorimasa 100% supported Yoritomo. Finally, Yoritomo nodded, and thus began the Genpei War. Click here for the online version of ep 46. Below is the summary of TNK 46 from NHK World Premium (click this for the longer summary in Japanese).

Learning Prince Mochihito's plot, Kiyomori bursts in anger and captures Mochihito and his followers. While Kiyomori enforces the transfer of capital to Fukuhara for Emperor Antoku, Yoritomo finally rises up against the Taira family. Kiyomori has mixed feelings to learn of Yoritomo's move, but at the same time gets excited, thinking the time has finally come for the Taira and Minamoto families to fight for the summit over the nation's power. In September 1180, Kiyomori commands samurais across the country to defeat Yoritomo.

Back to Kyoto: it seems that Kiyomori knew of Yorimasa’s plot with Mochihito. Mochihito learned of the leak and then ran from his house to Uji (Yorimasa's hideout). But as they arrived at Uji, they were attacked by Kiyomori’s army. Yorimasa and his son escaped but his son then died. Yorimasa then committed seppuku (harakiri, or suicide in the face of defeat); the earliest seppuku ever recorded in history.  According to Wiki, Mochihito escaped to Nara, but would be killed by Kiyomori’s army afterwards.

Minamoto no Yorimasa (Ukaji Takeshi) and Prince Mochihito

Meanwhile, Yoritomo continued his training. He did say in ep 45 that his lousy aiming was due to lack of practice; for he did take part in the Heiji Rebellion and yielded sword and arrow with his brothers and father. Yoritomo managed to hit the bull’s eye this time. Watching his master practicing, the ever loyal Tō Kuro told Yoritomo about the uprising amongst the Eastern Country samurai and also the news of Yorimasa's death (which apparently traveled fast).  Yoritomo was quiet as he listened to the news, but his expression was dead serious as he recalled the time when he stood side by side with his siblings during his first (and only war so far), the Heiji Rebellion. He placed another arrow on the bow and released it, rather angrily.

Yoritomo practicing archery again (he got it this time!)

Later, Yoritomo held a meeting with Tokimasa and the Genji supporters. At first, they were discussing the relocation of the capital (government center) from Kyoto to Fukuhara. Then, something they said made the young Genji leader angry. He stood up to get Higekiri (Beard-cutter, his father’s sword) and went outside. He wondered what the spirit of samurai was (was that in relation to Kiyomori killing Yorimasa? Or related to Yorimasa committing seppuku?). By the way, Higekiri was truly a beautiful sword. I've been trying to get a screen cap of that sword in close up, but I haven't suceeded so far.

Back in Kyoto, Saigyō Hōshi (Naohito Fujiki, who played the sweet Buc in ‘Hotaru no Hikari’) came to visit Kiyomori. Kiyomori conversed with his old friend while at the same time flirting with the new dancing ladies. However, he then signalled to his guards something. His guards dragged the two dancing girls; Kiyomori rudely asked them to sing (and then dismissed them with the same level of rudeness). Saigyō watched this scene with utter disgust (much like the way Taira no Tokitada – Kiyomori’s brother in law – watched the Rokuhara lord flirted with the girls in ep 45).

Saigyō then said something that made Kiyomori remembered his youth when he conversed with Yoshitomo and then-Satō Norikiyo (Saigyō’s pre-monk name). Saigyō sternly asked Kiyomori if he had forgotten the spirit of Samurai. Kiyomori just laughed at that question. Then Kiyomori’s son (Munemori? Yorimori?) came and said something, which prompted Kiyomori to laugh more hysterically. Somehow, Kiyomori then ordered his new woman to be murdered. Was she an instrument of the enemy? I have zilch idea. The woman was terrified as lots of arrows were aimed at her. Yet, unexpectedly Kiyomori hesitated because he remembered his mother who was murdered with some arrows. 
Yoritomo making his first move by attacking Yamaki Kanetaka's castle, ep 46
Taira no Tokitada (Morita Go) suddenly came and asked for this madness to stop. Kiyomori asked Tokitada to save him from himself. Then Itō Tadakiyo (the Heike Samurai general played by Fujimoto Takahiro) came forward and said that Yoritomo had raised an army. The self-declared Genji leader had also raided Yamaki Kanetaka’s castle (who was a local pro-Heike leader). I was then treated with a scene of Yoritomo in full armour. Damn, Okada Masaki surely looks hot in it! He surely doesn't look like a 22 years old boy there.
Kiyomori was so surprised to learn this news, such that he cried like a baby and held Kusanagi, his dear sword (or at least I think it is Kusanagi). All who were there were so surprised at their lord’s behaviour. Then, Kiyomori stood up and – tears still running on his cheek – declared war against Yoritomo. 
Kiyomori ordering his army to defeat Yoritomo, ep 46
Ep47 has Yoritomo travelling around Japan to raise his army. It seems Yoshitsune is joining his brother and we will see the two half-siblings meet for the first time (I am NOT going to think about the tragedy that ensued after the Genji victory at the Battle of Dan-no-ura. I am treating this series as an alternate reality where Yoritomo is not a bastard). By the way, I surely am not the only one who thinks that Masaki-kun looks hawt with his thin mustache???

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