『木曽最期』現代語訳あらすじを平家琵琶の語りから

Synopsis of the Heike Monogatari (Tale of the Heike) “Kisosaigo” in modern Japanese, based on the Heike biwa narrative.

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Thank you to everyone who has come here from studying old Japanese, reading the Tale of the Heike, or researching Kiso Yoshinaka. This is the website of MORINORI, which holds small Heikyoku (Tale of the Heike recited to the accompaniment of Heike biwa) concerts and lectures.

Click here to learn more about us.
https://morinorijapan.com/about/

How about a modern translation of Atsumorisaigo?
https://morinorijapan.com/tale-of-the-heike/atsumori-saigo-part1

Content of this page
Here we introduce the synopsis of “Kisosaigo”, one of the most famous episodes from the Tale of the Heike, and the Heike biwa narrative. It’s still very rough, but we will delve into the appeal and expression of the Tale of the Heike from the perspective of the Heike biwa narrator, mixing in modern-day translations. Also, in the second half, we will introduce a performance of the Heikyoku “Kisosaigo”. If you are interested, please take a look.


The Story of “Kisosaigo”: Background
Kiso Yoshinaka raised an army in Shinano Province and expelled the Heike from the capital, but he was not well received in the capital. Since many people were displeased with Yoshinaka and his army, Minamoto no Yoritomo dispatched Yoshitsune and Noriyori to hunt down Yoshinaka.

Synopsis of the Modern Japanese Translation of “Kisosaigo”
Kiso Yoshinaka is cornered by the last five warriors. Yoshinaka urges Tomoe, a female warrior, to escape quickly, but she does not leave. Then, OndahachirouMoroshige appears, and Tomoe puts up a final fierce battle. After that, the only one who remains by Yoshinaka’s side is Imai Shiro Kanehira. Yoshinaka tries to die with him, but Kanehira tearfully urges him to head for the pine grove. Kanehira fights hard to buy Yoshinaka some time before he commits suicide, but on the way to the pine grove, Yoshinaka’s foot gets caught in the thin ice on the deep ravine, and he is beheaded by the retainers of Ishida Jiro Tamehisa. When Kanehira learns of this, he stops fighting and jumps off his horse, holding his sword in his mouth.

Heikyoku (Heike monogatari) recited on the Heike biwa (Japanese lute)『Kisosaigo』
Kisosaigo, a Heikyoku (narrative accompanied by the Heike biwa) that tells the Tale of the Heike, begins with a description of Tomoe accompanying Kiso Yoshinaka as he leaves Shinano. Yoshinaka, who has joined forces with Imai Shiro Kanehira at Uchidehama in Otsu, says to Kanehira, “How have you managed to escape so far by showing your back to so many enemies, with no idea where you are going?” and Kanehira replies, “I almost died at Seta, but I showed my back to so many enemies because I had no idea where you were going, and I managed to escape so far.”

He then joins the army of Kai Ichijō Jirō, which numbers over 6,000, together with the 300 or so warriors who have rallied to his cause. The scene is powerfully described here, with Yoshinaka’s attire, his loud declaration of his name, and the appearance of the army. Yoshinaka urges Tomoe, who is now down to just five horses, to leave, and Tomoe shows her final military prowess against Onda Hachiro Shigeharu before leaving for the eastern provinces. Here, the scene of Tezuka Taro, who remains with her, being killed in action and the fall of Tezuka’s chief retainer is quietly described.

After that, Yoshinaka’s words are spoken to the tune of the music that expresses the state of the two men, Kanehira and Yoshinaka. “The armor that I don’t think anything of on a daily basis feels heavy today.” While encouraging Yoshinaka, Kanehira tells him that there are still arrows left in the quiver, and urges him to kill himself while he buys time with those arrows. Yoshinaka tries to make his horse run, saying, “Rather than being killed in several places, I would rather die in one place.” At this point, Kanehira gets on Yoshinaka’s horse and, while crying, says, “Even if a bowman is famous at any age, if he is unable to show his true worth in his final moments, it will be a long-lasting blemish. You have tired yourself out, and your horse is weak.”

Fearing that he would be killed by unknown enemies and be unable to avenge his father, Kanehira sent Yoshinaka to the Awa Pine Grove, and then rode alone into the midst of the pursuing force of about 50 horsemen. Here, Kanehira’s famous battle cry, his fierce fighting, and the fact that not a single arrow hit his armor are described in great detail.

The scene changes to Yoshinaka running through a pine grove, where he slips on the thin ice covering the deep water and is unable to move. As he turns to see what has become of Kanehira, an arrow fired by Ishida Jiro Tamehisa of Miura pierces Yoshinaka’s inner helmet. Yoshinaka is captured by two of Ishida’s retainers.

Before long, Kanehira sees Ishida Jiro Tamehisa of Miura, who has pierced the head of Yoshinaka with the tip of his sword and is about to announce his name. The powerful speech about the army is tinged with sadness, and he says, “Now, who should you protect and lead the army? Look at this, lords of the eastern provinces, the example of the strongest man in Japan taking his own life.” After describing how he put the tip of his sword in his mouth and jumped off his horse without hesitation, the story concludes with the words, “Now, the army at Awazu has been defeated.”

Listening to“Kisosaigo” on the Heike biwa
We have been holding small Heikyoku recitation concerts since 2024. We would like to introduce the “Kiso Yoshinaka looks back” concert, where you can listen to the Heikyoku “Kisosaigo”.

*Please pay attention to the volume*.
Kiso Yoshinaka looks back|Beginning
Audio only: 5 minutes 33 seconds (Kisosaigo from 3 minutes 15 seconds)

Click here for details of the concert date, time, venue and application.

Tuesday, July 30, 2024, 11:00 – 12:00
https://morinorijapan.com/lecture-and-performance/20240730

There are also reading courses where everyone reads aloud together and listens to Heikyoku.

Kisosaigo (Part 1)
Friday, September 27, 2024, 10:00 – 11:30
https://morinorijapan.com/lecture-and-performance/20240927

Kisosaigo(Part 2)
Friday, October 25, 2024, 10:00 – 11:30
https://morinorijapan.com/lecture-and-performance/20241025



If you become interested in the biwa…
What kinds of biwa are there? How do Heike biwa and other types of biwa differ? Are there any biwa concerts? You may find it helpful to visit the website of the Japan Biwa Music Association.

Japan’s only organization of comprehensive performers of biwa music
Japan Biwa Music Association https://nihonbiwagakukyokai.jimdofree.com/
A page introducing the characteristics of each school ▶click here


Thank you for reading this far.
I hope we meet someday, somewhere.




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