Event Report – DAY 1 – Kiso Yoshinaka Looks Back – Heikyoku “Kisosaigo” Performance

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On June 25th 2024, the first day of “Kiso Yoshinaka Looks Back: The Tale of the Heike Listened to by Heike Biwa, Volume 9: ‘Kisosaigo'” was held. This performance will be held over two days, June 25th and July 30th, in Kamakura. In this article, we will be reporting on the first day, June 25th.

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Kiso Yoshinaka looks back
Tale of the Heike, Volume 9, “Kisosaigo”
Recording date: June 25, 2024
3 minutes 53 seconds
Some parts may be difficult to hear due to the sound of the venue being left intact.

Audio content (modern translation of Kisosaigo)
Kiso called Tomoe and said, “You are a woman, so hurry and escape from here to wherever you can. I am going to die in battle. I plan to kill myself if I fall into enemy hands, but I would be ashamed if people said that Yoshinaka took a woman with him into his final battle.” However, Tomoe did not leave, so Kiso said even more harshly. Tomoe replied, “Oh, you are a worthy opponent. Come out and I will show you my final battle, one last army.” As she waited in reserve, about thirty soldiers led by OndahachirouMoroshige of Musashi appeared. Tomoe charged into the group, first pushing against Oda and then grabbing him and pulling him down, pressing him against the front wheel of the saddle she was riding, immobilizing him, and then cutting his head off and discarding it. After that, she jumped off her horse in a hurry, threw off her armor, and fled towards the eastern provinces. Tezuka Taro was killed in battle. Tezuka’s steward escaped. Kiso-dono and Imai Shiro were left with only two riders, their master and his retainer, and “the armor that I don’t usually think anything of feels heavy today.” (Audio ends here.)

A view of the entrance to the venue. The greenery has become a tunnel!

A view of the entrance to the building.

You’ll be captivated by the green beyond your line of sight, but the arrangement of the tiles at your feet is also interesting.

Dress for Performance
Today I’m wearing gray hakama and a blue-green half-width obi. The solid-colored kimono is a soft yellowish-green.

I performed by the window, so that everyone could see the garden through me. Here, I told the Heikyoku (a recitation of the Heike Monogatari accompanied by the Heike biwa) “Kisosaigo” .

The Tale of the Heike, Vol. 9: “Kisosaigo” SynopsisThe Tale of the Heike, Vol. 9: “Kisosaigo” Synopsis
Kiso Yoshinaka is cornered by the last five warriors. Yoshinaka urges Tomoe, the lone female warrior left, to leave the battlefield. Even so, Tomoe does not leave. Then, Tomoe performs her final battle against OndahachirouMoroshige, who has appeared. After that, the only one left by Yoshinaka’s side is Imai Shiro Kanehira. Kanehira, who was about to die with Yoshinaka, sent him off to the pine grove while shedding tears. Kanehira’s final battle begins with Yoshinaka heading towards the pine grove. He buys Yoshinaka a little time before he commits suicide. Kanehira is the only one who raises his name and draws his bow.

Kiso Yoshinaka looks back
This small concert will be presented by reading and interpreting the ink script, but in order not to interrupt the momentum of the characters’ movements and dialogue as they unfold in the ancient Japanese text, we will not be inserting any modern-language translations in the middle of the performance. *After explaining the plot at the beginning, we will listen to the performance while looking at the modern-language translation of the story in the printed materials.

In the above excerpt from the full recording, Tomoe is talking about the last of her troops. In this part of the Heikyoku, there is no verse, so the listener’s imagination is left to conjure up Tomoe’s battle. After swiftly conquering Onda Hachiro Shigehira, I wonder if it’s just me who feels a lump in my throat when I imagine Tomoe’s expression as she sheds her armor and falls. The Tale of the Heike is full of memorable departures, and Tomoe’s is also sad and memorable. During the performance, when Yoshinaka was speaking to Tomoe, the Enoden train passed by.

Due to the staging of this performance, there are parts that are not spoken in the original text. These are the lines “Tezuka Taro is killed. The chief priest has fallen. ” and “Kiso-dono Imaichi no Shiro just, the lord and his retainer, having become two horsemen, spoke.” These parts are spoken without the accompanying melody this time. I hope to tell the whole story on another occasion.

There is not a day when I don’t have something to reflect on, either in my storytelling or in my biwa playing, but I am always very happy when I meet someone who has come to hear me tell the Tale of the Heike. When I think about the people who listen to me, the places where I am able to perform, and the various people who have helped to pass on the story to this point, I smile and want to study even more. Thank you to all the customers who came to see us today, and to Garden & Space Kurukuru.

The next event will be held on July 30th with the same content.

【Outline of the event】
Kiso Yoshinaka looks back|The Tale of the Heike Listened to by Heike biwa| vol.9 “Kisosaigo”
Date: Tuesday, July 30th
Time: 11:00-12:00 Doors open at 10:40
Capacity: 6 persons
Program: The Tale of the Heike, Vol. 9 “Kisosaigo”
Type: Contemporary translation and narration (Heike biwa performance and narration with contemporary translation)
Fee: 2200 yen (tax included)
Payment: Advance payment (credit card payment on the reservation website)
Click here to register for July 30.:https://select-type.com/ev/?ev=92lBbEjujbw

Garden & Space Kuru Kuru
2-7-12 Yuhigahama, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa 3-minute walk from Wadatsuka Station on the Enoden Line
Directions from Enoden Wadazuka with photos.
Garden & Space Kuru Kuru
Access to the Venue

We look forward to seeing you at the venue.

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