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(4)A Samurai Story:To Tempt Heaven
Post Date:
2017-09-26 14:29:12

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Takahashi Katsuhiko (b.1947 in Iwate)
Sharaku Murder Case, 1983, 29th Edogawa Ranpo Prize
Somondani, 7th Yoshikawa Eiji Literature Rookie Prize
Hokusai Murder Case, 1987, 40th Japan Mystery Writers’ Club Prize
Kaen, 2000, 34th Yoshikawa Eiji Literature Prize
53rd NHK Hoso Bunka Prize in 2001
Homura Tatsu and Hojo Tokimune, were produced into the NHK Through-the-Year Drama.

A Synopsis of To Tempt Heaven by Takahashi Katsuhiko
Written by the translator, Nishimura Yoshitaro, Professor Emeritus of Fukushima University

page 117

It was the autumn of Genki 1st (1570) when Ninoe Castle, Masa’s new headquarters, was magnificently finished in Ninoe.
Since he was granted Ninoe for his meritorious deed at Nagoushi Castle it took almost three years to be reconstructed in the largest scale.
The castle main and the second courtyard were already built some time before and Masa had moved to live in Ninoe a year ago. He minutely directed how to construct stonewalls and moats. As a result he established a much larger and more gallant castle than Sannoe Castle of Lord Haru. It was also a castle on the flat land, a rare example in Michinoku that time. Within the vast precincts there stood numberless barracks,
granaries and arsenals. It was prepared for any emergency that five thousand would be able to hold for a year. It was an ideal castle for Masa.
From the observation tower in the main Masa looked down with an air of satisfaction. He said to a Shinto priest, “Give me arrows.”
“How far do I send my arrows?” He moistened smilingly an arrow feather. The arrow had a piece of white clothe. He was going to shoot arrows to the four directions to coerce evils against the castle.
“Any arrow won’t go over the moats at such vastness.” “That brings a difficulty to those who wished to pick up the arrow, I guess.” The Shinto priest nodded laughingly. Those who got the arrows were supposed to be awarded.
“If they jump in the moats they have a trouble to climb thestonewalls. Please shoot them tactfully and drop them in front of the moats, sir.”
“If I do the arrows it will be a prey of evils.”
Masa drew his bow to the south with his mightiest power. It was a triple-power bow but became a full moon. The priest and other staffs heaved a sigh in wonder.
Masa could handle any bows as if they were playthings. “Hmmm.” He shot it. ‘Whizzing.’ The arrow disappeared into the autumnal blue sky. Those who chased after the arrow expressed a surprise.
Those who watched below cheered loudly. They ran out of the castle main altogether. “It seemed… to be over the moat, sir,” said his staff checking its destination.
“Maybe it ran on the wind.” Masa satisfactorily replied and fit the next arrow. “To this direction I may shoot at Lord Haru?” He noticed that. He turned to the left and said, “Sane will arrive soon.
His absence at Sannoe Castle doesn’t matter for any omen.” He returned his bow with a grin and shot it without any hesitation. The arrow flew over the big
roof of the residence and disappeared. People began to run with loud cheers again. Some of them were the citizens who were invited for the feast of the day and some were girls who worked at the castle.
“To this direction there are no evils.” He looked at east and went on, “Up to the farthest point is Kunoe territory. However hard I shoot, the arrow can not run to the sea.” “No, sir.” They laughed altogether. “Then I’ll shoot up at heaven.” Instantly he shot his arrow to the sky.


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