Monday, 17 December 2012

Taira no Kiyomori ep 49: Kiyomori understood Yoritomo’s dream

Go-Shirakawa (Matsuda Shota) and Kiyomori (Matsuyama Kenichi), ep 49
I turned on my NHK World Premium at 7pm, hoping to see the iconic opening credit of Taira no Kiyomori.  However, I was welcomed with a news anchor talking about the Japanese election. Arrghhh! I didn’t realise that TNK was moved half an hour earlier due to the election! Thank God for the FC site and the rerun (on Monday at 2 am, yes in the morning), otherwise I won’t be able to post this article. 

Below is the summary of Taira no Kiyomori ep 49 from NHK World Premium:

Early in the following year in 1181, ill feelings towards the Taira family spread across the country. Meanwhile, the former Emperor Takakura, who has been an anchor to Kiyomori, passes away at the age of 21. While Kiyomori is losing his power, the cloistered Emperor Go-Shirakawa again appears before Kiyomori and provokes him. In Kamakura, Yoritomo is establishing a new samurai-oriented political system together with his followers. Kiyomori is delighted to learn that Yoritomo is following in the footsteps of Yoshitomo and Kiyomori. Kiyomori tells Go-Shirakawa that the struggle for supremacy among samurais will be intensified from now on.

Kiyomori (Matsuyama Kenichi) was having a meeting to discuss Yoritomo’s upraising when his men reported of the illness of Emperor Takakura. Takakura was one of the sons of Go-Shirakawa-in (I didn’t realise there was an ‘in’ at the end of his name) who married Taira no Tokuko (Kiyomori’s second daughter) a few episodes back. The 21 years old Takakura succumbed to his illness and died in Tokuko’s embrace in early 1181. His death didn’t really matter from the power-struggle viewpoint, because he abdicated his throne years ago to his son, Child Emperor Antoku. Nonetheless, the death of Takakura made Go Shirakawa-in returning to Kyoto. Go-Shirakawa (Matsuda Shota) tantalised Kiyomori with his dice game. Kiyomori volleyed back by saying that the Imperial Court would see the rise of the samurai never seen before.

Tokiko (Fukada Kyoko) playing music for Kiyomori, ep 49

Tokiko (Fukada Kyoko) handled these troubles differently. She played a mandolin-like instrument for Kiyomori and reminiscing the olden days between them. Her presence was really soothing; Taira no Tokiko was indeed the anchor for the Heike to survive.

Meanwhile at Kamakura, the warriors of Minamoto no Yoritomo captured a samurai. Yoritomo (Okada Masaki) didn’t recognise him at first, but later he remembered that this man was Kajiwara Kagetoki, the Heike samurai who almost captured them during the Battle of Ishibashiyama (ep 47). I couldn’t follow what they said, but it seemed that Kajiwara praised Yoritomo for his struggle, and literally offered either his head or his service. Believing that Kajiwara was trustworthy (this Wiki article stated otherwise), Yoritomo asked Tō Kuro to announce the promotion of Kajiwara as a Gokenin (a vassal owner). Yoritomo then resumed the meeting by explaining his new political system in Kamakura, happily observed by Hōjō Masako (Watanabe Anne) and her father from the background.

One day, Saigyō Hoshi (Fujiki Naoto) came to visit Kiyomori. He then conversed with the Fukuhara Lord about Yoritomo; how the young Genji leader was establishing the Kamakura governance. 

The Genji discussing the Kamakura design, ep 49

Back in Kamakura, Yoshitsune was practicing his martial art with Benkei when he saw Yoritomo looking at a document. He asked what his brother was looking at. Yoritomo beckoned at his younger brother and explained him about the map. It was a lovely scene, which I know would not last, for eventually their short brotherhood would be broken. Sobsobsob... I hope Okada Masaki will interact with Kamiki Ryunosuke soon in another project, where they don’t have to kill each other...

Anyway, the map seemed to be a blueprint of what Yoritomo envisioned about Kamakura. Masako and her brother joined Yoritomo, Yoshitsune and Benkei in the discussion. Masako commented that they were creating the Kamakura version of Miyako governance.

This scene was interplayed with the Heike scene where Kiyomori talked to Saigyo and realised how Yoritomo was actually rallying for the same cause that Kiyomori and Yoshitomo fought for years ago. The scene ended with Yoritomo raising, taking an archery stance and shooting an imaginary arrow happily. The arrow ‘hit’ the target, which is the new World of Samurai. In Miyako, Kiyomori smiled to learn that his dream of the World of Samurai would actually come true.

Go-Shirakawa visited Kiyomori again for a game of dice. They tantalised each other as usual and remembered the olden days between them. Later, Kiyomori cleaned his Kusanagi while talking with Taira no Tokitada (Morita Go). At the end of the episode, Kiyomori fell ill. His spirit visited Saigyō, bringing Kusanagi with him.

Below is the summary of ep 50 (FINAL!) on NHK World Premium:

Kiyomori is struck down by a febrile illness. Kiyomori appears before Saigyō, formerly named Norikiyo, as a wraith, and learns the meaning of his life through dialogue with Saigyō. In Kyoto, people rush to Kiyomori's bedside and bring up their concerns over their future. Kiyomori finally passes away. After the passing of Kiyomori, the fate of the Taira family takes a turn for the worse. Tokiko throws herself into the sea with Emperor Antoku in her arms, and the entire Taira family ends up being destroyed at Dannoura. At the bottom of the sea, Tokiko sees the members of the Taira family standing, including Kiyomori with a sword in his hand.

Minamoto no Yoritomo (Okada Masaki) and his Higekiri, ep 50

When I browsed the Japanese version, I found a more detailed summary, which includes the death of Yoshitsune (noooo!) and Benkei. It seems that Saigyō eventually visited Yoritomo and conversed about Kiyomori. I won’t be watching this last episode directly from NHK, for I will be in Australia by then and won’t have access to my Indovision. But I will try to upload a commentary as soon as possible, before Christmas I hope. 

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