XIII. YORITOMO AND THE MINAMOTO FAMILY.
NEXT to portraying the beauties of nature, there is no class of subjects in which the native artists delight more than in the historical events related in their classics. Among these there are none treated with more frequency and spirit than the flight of Yoshitomo's concubine, Tokiwa, after the death of her lord at the hands of bribed traitors. After the fight with the Taira in Kiōto, in 1159, he fled eastward, and was killed in a bath-room by three hired assassins at Utsumi, in Owari. Tokiwa was a young peasant-girl of surpassing beauty, whom Yoshitomo had made his concubine, and who bore him three children. She fled, to escape the millions of Taira. Her flight was in winter, and snow lay on the ground. She knew neither where to go nor how to subsist; but, clasping her babe to her bosom, her two little sons on her right, one holding his mother's hand, the other carrying his father's sword, trudged on. That babe at her breast was Yoshitsuné - a name that awakens in the breast of a Japanese youth emotions that kindle his enthusiasm to emulate a character that was the mirror of chivalrous valor and knightly conduct, and that saddens him at the thought of one who suffered cruel death at the hands of a jealous brother. Yoshitsuné the youngest son of Yoshitomo, lives, and will live, immortal in the minds of Japanese youth as the Bayard of Japan.
Kiyomori, intoxicated with saccess, conceived the plan of exterminating the Minamoto family root and branch. Not knowing where Tokiwa and her children had fled, he seized her mother, and had her brought to Kiōto. In Japan, as in China, filial piety is the highest duty of man, filial affection the strongest tie. Kiyomori well knew that Tokiwa's sense of a daughter's duty would prevail over that of a mother's love or womanly fear. He expected Tokiwa to come to Kiōto to save her mother.
Meanwhile the daughter, nearly frozen and half starved, was met in her flight by a Taira soldier, who, pitying her and her children, gave her shelter, and fed her with his own rations. Tokiwa heard of her mother's durance at Kiōto. Then came the struggle between maternal and filial love. To enter the palace would be the salvation of her mother, but the death of her children. What should she do? Her wit showed her the way of escape. Her resolution was taken to go to the capital, and trust to her beauty to melt the heart of Kiyomori. Thus she would save her mother and the lives of her sons.
Her success was complete. Appearing in the presence of the dreaded enemy of her children, Kiyomori was dazed by her beauty, and wished to make her his concubine. At first she utterly refused; but her mother, weeping floods of tears, represented to her the misery of disobedience, and the happiness in store for her, and Tokiwa was obliged to yield. She consented on condition of his sparing her offspring.
Kiyomori's retainers insisted that these young Minamotos should be put to death; but by the pleadings of the beautiful mother, backed by the intercession of Kiyomori's aunt, their lives were spared. The babe grew to be a healthy, rosy-chocked boy, small in stature, with a ruddy face and slightly protruding teeth. In spirit he was fiery and impetuous. All three of the boys, when grown, were sent to a monastery near Kiōto, to be made priests: their fine black hair was shaved, and they put on the robes of Buddhist neophytes. Two of them remained so, but Yoshitsuné gave little promise of becoming a grave and reverend bonze, who would honor his crape, and inspire respect by his bald crown and embroidered collar. He refused to have his hair shaved off, and in the monastery was irrepressibly merry, lively, and self-willed. The task of managing this young ox (Ushi-waka, he was then called) gave the holy brethren much trouble, and greatly scandalized their reverences. Yoshitsuné, chafing at his dull life, and longing to take part in a more active one, and especially in the wars in the North, of which he could not but hear, determined to escape. How to do it was the question.
Among the outside lay-folk who visited the monastery for trade or business was an iron-merchant, who made frequent journeys from Kiōto to the north of Hondo. In those days, as now, the mines of Ōshiu were celebrated for yielding the best iron for swords and other cutting implements. This iron, being smelted from the magnetic oxide and reduced by the use of charcoal as fuel, gave a steel of singular purity and temper which has never been rivaled in modern times.
Yoshitsuné begged the merchant to take him to Mutsu. He, be ing afraid of offending the priest, would not at first consent. Yoshitsuné, persuaded him by saying that the priests would be only too glad to be rid of such a troublesome boy. The point was won, and Yoshitsuné went off. The boy's surmises were correct. The priest thought it excellent riddance to very bad rubbish.
While in the East, they stopped some time in Kadzusa, then infested with robbers. Here Yoshitsuné gave signal proof of his mettle. Among other exploits, he, on one occasion, single-handed and unarmed, seized a bold robber, and, on mother, assisted a rich man to defend his house, killing five of the ruffians with his own hand. Yorishigé, his companion and bosom-friend, begged him not to indulge in any unnecessary displays of courage, lest the Taira would surely hear of him, and know he was a Minamoto, and so destroy him. They finally reached their destination, and Yoshitsuné was taken to live with Hidéhira, a nobleman of the Fujiwara, who was prince of Mutsu. Here he grew to manhood, spending his time most congenially, in the chase, in manly sports, and in military exercises. At the age of twenty-one, he had won a reputation as a soldier of peerless valor and consummate skill, and the exponent of the loftiest code of Japanese chivalry. He became to Yoritomo, his brother, as Ney to Napoleon. Nor can the splendor of the marshal's courage outshine that of the young Japanese shōgun's.
Yoritomo, the third son of Yoshitomo, was born in the year 1146, and consequently was twelve old when his brother Yoshitsuné was a baby. After the defeat of his father, he, in the retreat, was separated from his companions, and finally fell into the hands of a Taira officer. On his way through a village called Awohaka, in Omi, a girl, the child of the daughter of the head-man whom Yoshitomo had once loved, hearing this, said, "I will follow my brother and die with him." Iler people stopped her as she was about to follow Yoshitomo, but she afterward went out alone and drowned herself. The Taira officer brought his prize to Kiōto, where his execution was ordered, and the day fixed; but there, again, woman's tender heart and supplications saved the life of one destined for greater things. The boy's captor had asked him if he would like to live. He answered, "Yes; both my father and brother are dead; who but I can pray for their happiness in the next world?" Struck by this filial answer, the officer went to Kiyomori's step-mother, who was a Buddhist nun, having become so after the death of her husband, Tadamori. Becoming interested in him, her heart was deeply touched; the chambers of her memory were unlocked when the officer said, " Yoritomo resembles Prince Uma." She had borne one son of great promise, on whom she had lavished her affection, and who had been named Uma. The mother's bosom heaved under the robes of the nun, and, pitying Yoritomo, she resolved to entreat Kiyomori to spare him. After importunate pleadings, the reluctant son yielded to his mother's prayer, but condemned the youth to distant exile - a punishment one degree less than death, and Yoritomo was banished to the province of Idzu. He was advised by his former retainers to shave off his hair, enter a monastery, and become a priest; but Morinaga, one of his faithful servants, advised him to keep his hair, and with a brave heart await the future. Even the few that still called themselves vassals of Minamoto did not dare to hold any communication with him, as he was under the charge of two officers who were responsible to the Taira for the care of their ward. Yoritomo was a shrewd, self-reliant boy, gifted with high self-control, restraining his feelings so as to express neither joy nor grief nor anger in his face, patient, and capable of great endurance, winning the love and respect of all. He was as "Prince Hal." He afterward became as "bluff King Harry," barring the latter's bad eminence as a marrier of many wives.
Such was the condition of the Minamoto family. No longer in power and place, with an empress and ministers at court, but scattered, in poverty and exile, their lives scarcely their own. Yoritomo was fortunate in his courtship and marriage, the story of which is one of great romantic interest. His wife, Masago, is one of the many fe male characters famous in Japanese history. She contributed not a little to the success of her husband and the splendor of the Kamakura court, during her life, as wife and widow. She outlived her husband many years. Her father, Hōjō Tokimasa, an able man, in whose veins ran imperial blood, made and fulfilled a solemn oath to assist Yoritomo, and the Hōjō family subsequently rose to be a leading one in Japan.
The tyranny and insolence of Kiyomori at Kiōto had by this time (1180), one year before his death, become so and outrageous that one of the royal princes, determining to kill the usurper, conspired with the Minamoto men to overthrow him. Letters were sent to the clansmen, and especially to Yoritomo, who wrote to Yoshitsuné and to his friends to join him and take up arms. Among the fork mer retainers of his father and grandfather were many members of the Miura family. Morimaga personally secured the fealty of many men of mark in the Kuantō; but among those who refused to rise against the Taira was one, Tsunétoshi, who laughed scornfully, and said, "For an exile to plot against the Heishi [Taira] is like a mouse plotting against a cat."
At the head of the peninsula of Idzu is a range of mountains, the outjutting spurs of the chain that trends upward to the table-lands of Shinano, and thus divides Eastern from Western Japan. This range is called Hakoné, and is famous not, only as classic ground in history, but also as a casket enshrining the choicest gems of nature. It is well known to the foreign residents, who resort hither in summer to enjoy the pure air of its altitudes. Its inspiring scenery embraces a lake of intensely cold pure water, and of great depth and elevation above the sea-level, groves of aromatic pines of colossal size, savage gorges, sublime mountains heights, overcrowded by cloud-excelling Fuji, foaming cataracts, and boiling springs of intermittent and rhythmic flow, surrounded by infernal vistas of melted sulphur enveloped in clouds of poisonous steam, or incrusted with myriad glistening crystals of the same mineral. Over these mountains there is a narrow pass, which is the key of the Kuantō. Near the pass, above the village of Yumoto, is Ishi Bashi Yama (Stone-bridge Mountain), and here Yoritomo's second battle was fought, and his first defeat experienced. "Every time his bowstring twanged an enemy fell," but finally he was obliged to flee. He barely escaped with his life, and fortunately eluded pursuit, secreting himself in a hollow log, having first sent his father-in-law to call out all his retainers and meet again. He afterward hid in the priest's wardrobe, in one of the rooms of a temple. Finally, reaching the sea-shore, he took ship and sailed across the bay to Awa. "At this time the sea and land were covered with his enemies." Fortune favored the brave. Yoritomo, defeated, but not discouraged, while on the water met a company of soldiers, all equipped, belonging to the Miura clan, who became his friends, and offered to assist him. Landing in Awa, he sent out letters to all the Minamoto adherents to bring soldiers and join him. He met with encouraging and substantial response, for many hated Kiyomori and the Taira; and as Yoritomo's father and grandfather had given protection and secured quiet in the Kuantō, the prestige of the Minamoto party still remained. The local military chieftains had fought under Yoritomo's father, and were now glad to join the son of their old leader. He chose Kamakura as a place of retreat and permanent residence, it having been an old seat of the Minamoto family. Yoriyoshi had, in 1063, built the shrine of Hachiman at Tsurugaöka, near the village, in gratitude for his victories. Yoritomo now organized his troops, appointed his officers, and made arrangements to establish a fixed commissariat. The latter was a comparatively easy thing to do in a fertile country covered with irrigated rice-fields and girdled with teeming seas, and where the daily food of soldier, as of laborer, was rice and fish. Marching up around the country at the head of the Bay of Yedo through Kadzusa, Shimōsa, Musashi, and Sagami, crossing, on his way, the Sumida River, which flows through the modern Tōkiō, many men of rank, with their followers and horses, joined him. His father-in-law also brought an army from Kai. In a few months he had raised large forces, with many noted generals. He awakened new life in the Minamoto clan, and completely turned the tide of success. Many courtiers from Kiōto, disappointed in their schemes at court, or in any way chagrined at the Taira, flocked to Yoritomo as his power rose, and thus brought to him a fund of experience and ability which he was not slow to utilize for his own benefit. Meanwhile the Taira had not been idle. A large army was dispatched to the East, reaching the Fuji River, in Suruga, about the same time that the Minamoto, headed by Yoritomo, appeared on the other side. The Taira were surprised to see such a host in arms. Both armies encamped on opposite banks, and glared at each other, eager for the fight, but neither attempting to cross the torrent. This is not to be wondered at. The Fujikawa bears the just reputation of being the swiftest stream in Japan. It rises in the northern part of Kai, on the precipitous side of the group of mountains called Yatsu daké, or "eight peaks," and, winding around the western base of the lordly Fuji, collecting into its own volume a host of impetuous tributaries born from the snows of lofty summits, it traverses the rich province of Suruga in steep gradient, plunging across the Tokaidō, in arrowy celerity and volcanic force, into the sea near the lordly mountain which it encircles. To cross it at any time in good boats is a feat, requiring coolness and skill; in a flood, impossibility; in the face of a hostile attack, sure annihilation. Though supremely eager to measure swords, neither party cared to cross to the attack, and the wager of battle was postponed. Both armies retired, the Taira retreating first.
It is said that one of the Taira men, foreseeing that the tide would turn in favor of Yoritomo, went to the river flats at night, and scared up the flocks of wild fowl; and the Taira, hearing the great noise, imagined the Minamoto host was attacking them, and fled, panic-stricken. Yoritomo returned to Kamakura, and began in earnest to found a city that ultimately rivaled Kiōto in magnificence, as it excelled it in power. He gathered together and set to work an army of laborers, carpenters, and armorers. In a few months a city sprung up where once had been only timbered hills and valleys, matted with the perennial luxuriance of reeds or scrub bamboo, starred and fragrant with the tall lilies that still abound. The town lay in a valley surrounded by hills on every side, opening only on the glorious sea. The wall of hills was soon breached by cuttings which served as gate-ways, giving easy access to friends, and safe defense against enemies. While the laborers delved and graded, the carpenters plied axe, hooked adze, and chisel, and the sword-makers and armorers sounded a war chorus on their anvils by day, and lighted up the hills by their forges at night. The streets marked out were soon lined with shops; and merchants came to sell, bringing gold, copper, and iron, silk, cotton, and, hemp, and raw material for food and clothing, war and display. Storehouses of rice were built and filled; boats were constructed and launched; temples were erected. In process of time, the wealth of the Kuantō centred at Kamakura. While the old Taira chief lay dy ing in Kiōto, praying for Yoritomo's head to be laid on his new tomb, this same head, safely settled on vigorous shoulders, was devising the schemes, and seeing them executed, of fixing the Minamoto power permanently at Kamakura, and of wiping the name of Taira from the earth.
The long night of exile, of defeat, and defensive waiting of the Minamoto had broken, and their day had dawned with sudden and unexpected splendor. Henceforwad they took the initiative. While Yoritomo carried on the enterprises of peace and the operations of war from his sustained stronghold, his uncle, Yukiiyé, his cousin, Yoshinaka, and his brother, Yoshitsuné, led the armies in the field.
Meanwhile, in 1181, Kiyomori fell sick at Kiōto. He had been a monk, as well as a prime minister. His death was not that of a saint. He did not pray for his enemies. The Nihon Guai Shi thus describes the scene in the chamber where the chief of the Taira lay dying: In the Second leap-month, his sickness having increased, his family and high officers assembled round his bedside, and asked him what he would say. Sighing deeply, he said, "He that is born must necessarily die, and not I alone. Since the period of Heiji (1159), I have served the imperial house. I have ruled under heaven (the empire) absolutely. I have attained the highest rank possible to a subject. I am the grandfather of the emperor on his mother's side. Is there still a regret? My regret is only that I am dying, and have not yet seen the head of Yoritomo of the Minamoto. After my decease, do not make offerings to Buddha on my behalf; do not read the sacred books. Only cut off the head of Yoritomo of the Minamoto, and hang it on my tomb. Let all my sons and grandsons, retainers and servants, each and every one, follow out my commands, and on no account neglect them." So saying, Kiyomori died at the age of sixtyfour. His tomb, near Hiōgo, is marked by an upright monolith and railing of granite. Munémori, his son, became head of the Taira house. Strange words from a death-bed; yet such as these were more than once used by dying Japanese warriors. Yoritomo's head was on his body when, eighteen years afterward, in 1199, he died peacefully in his bed.
Nevertheless, while in Kamakura, his bed-chamber was nightly guarded by chosen warriors, lost treachery might cut off the hopes of the Minamoto. The flames of war were now lighted throughout the whole empire. From Kamakura forces were sent into the provinces of Hitachi, in the East, and of Echizen and Kagra, North and West, destroying the authority of the Kiōto bureaucracy. Victory and increase made the army of the rising clan invincible. After numerous bloody skirmishes, the victors advanced through Ōmi, and swooped on the chief prize, and Kiōto, the coveted capital, was in their hands. The captors of the city were Yukiiyé and Yoshinaka, the uncle and cousin of Yoritomo respectively. The Taira, with the young mikado, Antoku, and his wife, Kiyomori's daughter, fled. Gotoba, his brother, was proclaimed mikado in his stead, and the estates and treasures of the Taira were confiscated, and divided among the victors.
Yoshinaka was called the Asahi shōgun (Morning-sun General), on account of the suddenness and brilliancy of his rising. Being now in command of a victorious army at the capital, swollen with pride, and intoxicated with sudden success, and with the actual power then in his hands, he seems to have lost his head. He was elevated to high rank, and given the title and office of governor of Echigo; but having been bred in the country, he could not endure the cap and dress of ceremony, and was the subject of ridicule to the people of Kiōto. He became jealous of his superior, Yoritomo, who was in Kamakura, two hundred miles away. He acted in such an arbitrary and overbearing spirit that the wrath of the cloistered emperor Goshirakawa was roused against him. Being able to command no military forces, he incited the monks of the immense monasteries of Iliyeizan and Miidera, near the city, to obstruct his authority. Before they could execute any schemes, Yoshinaka, with a military force, seized them, put the ex-mikado in prison, beheaded the abbots, and deprived the high officers of state of their honors and titles. He then wrested from the court the title of Sei-i Shōgun (Barbarian-subjugating General). His exercise of power was of brief duration, for Yoshitsuné was invested with the command of the forces in the West, and, sent against him, he was defeated and killed, and the ex-mikado was re leased, and the reigning emperor set free from the terrorism under which he had been put.
Meanwhile the Taira men, in their fortified palace at Fukuwara, were planning to recover their lost power, and assembling a great army in the South and West. The Minamoto, on the other hand, were expending all their energies to destroy them. The bitter animosity of the two great families had reached such a pitch that the extermination of one or the other seemed inevitable. In 1184, Yoshitsuné laid siege to the Fukuwara palace, and, after a short time, set it on fire. The son of Kiyomori and his chief followers fled to Sanuki, in Shikokŭ. Thither, as with the winged feet of an avenger, Yoshitsuné followed, besieged them at the castle of Yashima, burned it, and drove his enemies, like scattered sheep, to the Straits of Shimonoséki.
Both armies now prepared a fleet of junks, for the contest was to be upon the water. In the Fourth month of the year 1185, all was ready for the struggle. The battle was fought at Dan no ura, near the modern town of Shimonoséki, where, in 1863, the combined squadrons of England, France, Holland, and the United States bombarded the batteries of the Chōshiu clansmen. In the latter instance the foreigner demonstrated the superiority of his artillery and discipline, and, for the sake of trade and gain, wreaked his vengeance as savage and unjust as any that stains the record of native war.
In 1185, nearly seven centuries before, the contest was between men of a common country. It was the slaughter of brother by brother. The guerdon of ambition was supremacy. The Taira clan were at bay, driven, pursued, and hunted to the sea-shore. Like a wounded stag that turns upon its pursuers, the clan were about to give final battle; by its wager they were to decide their future destiny - a grave in a bloody sea, or peace under victory. They had collected five hundred vessels. They hurried on board their aged fathers and mothers, their wives and children. Among them were gentle ladies from the palace, whose silken robes seemed sadly out of place in the crowded junks. There were mothers, with babes at breast, and little children, too young to know the awful passions that kindle man against man. Among the crowd were the widow and daughter of Kiyomori, the former a nun, the latter the empress-dowager, with the dethroned mikado, a child six years old. With them were the sacred insignia of imperial power, the sword and ball.
The Minamoto host was almost entirely composed of men, unincumbered with women or families. They had seven hundred junks. Both fleets were gayly fluttering with flags and streamens. The Taira pennant was red, the Minamoto white, with two black bars near the top. The junks, though clumsy, were excellent vessels for fighting purposes - fully equal to the old war-galleys of Actium.
On one side were brave men flushed with victory, with passions kindled by hate and the memory of awful wrongs. On the other side were brave men nerved with the courage of despair, resolved to die only in honor, scorning life and country, wounds and death.
The battle began. With impetuosity and despair, the Taira drove their junks hard against the Minamoto, and gained a temporary advantage by the suddenness of their onset. Seeing this, Yoshitsuné, ever fearless, cried out and encouraged his soldiers. Then came a lull in the combat. Wada, a noted archer of the Minamoto, shot an arrow, and struck the junk of a Taira leader. "Shoot it back!" cried the chief. An archer immediately plucked it out of the gunwale, and, fitting it to his bow before the gaze of the crews of the hostile fleet, let fly. The arrow sped. It grazed the helmet of one, and pierced another warrior. The Minamoto were ashamed. "Shoot it back!" thundered Yoshitsuné. The archer, plucking it out and coolly examining it, said, "It is short and weak." Drawing from his quiver an of fourteen fists' length, and fitting it to the string, he shot it. The five-feet length of shaft leaped through the air, and, piercing the armor and flesh of the Taira bowman who reshot the first arrow, fell, spent, into the sea beyond. Elated with the lucky stroke, Yoshitsuné emptied his quiver, shooting with such celerity and skill that many Taira fell. The Minamoto, encouraged, and roused to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, redoubled their exertions with oar and arrow, and the tide of victory turned. The white flag triumphed. Yet the Taira might have won the day had not treachery aided the foe. The pages of Japanese history teem with instances of the destruction of friends by traitors. Perhaps the annals of no other country are richer in the recitals of results gained by treachery. The Arnold of the Taira army was Shigéyoshi, friend to Yoshitsuné. He had agreed upon a signal, by which the prize could be seen, and when seen could be surrounded and captured. Yoshitsuné, eagerly scanning the Taira fleet, finally caught sight of the preconcerted signal, and ordered the captains of a number of his junks to surround the particular one of the Taira. In a trice the junks of the white pennant shot along-side the devoted ship, and her decks were boarded by armed men. Seeing this, a Taira man leaped from his own boat to kill Yoshitsuné in close combat. Yoshitsuné jumped into another junk. His enemy, thus foiled, drowned himself. In the hand-to-hand fight with swords, Tomomori and six other Taira leaders were slain.
Seeing the hopeless state of affairs, and resolving not to be captured alive, the nun, Kiyomori's widow, holding her grandson, the child emperor, in her arms, leaped into the sea. Taigo, the emperor's mother, vainly tried to save her child. Both were drowned. Munémori, head of the Taira house, and many nobles, gentlemen, and ladies, were made prisoners.
The combat deepened. The Minamoto loved fighting. The Taira scorned to surrender. Revenge lent its maddening intoxication. Life, robbed of all its charms, gladly welcomed glorious death. The whizzing of arrows, the clash of two-handed swords, the clanging of armor, the sweep of churning oars, the crash of colliding junks, the wild song of the rowers, the shouts of the warriors, made the stormchores of battle. One after mother the Taira ships, crushed by the prows of their opponents, or scuttled by the iron bolt-heads of the Minamoto archers, sunk beneath the bubbling waters, leaving red whirlpools of blood. Those that were boarded were swept with sword and spear of ther human freight. The dead bodies clogged the docks, on which the mimic tides of blood ebbed and flowed and splashed with the motion of the waves, while the scuppers ran red like the spouts of an abattoir. The warriors who leaped into the sea became targets for the avenger's arrows. Noble and peasant, woman and babe, rower and archer, lifting imploring arms, or sullenly spurning mercy, perished by hundreds.
That May morning looked upon a blue sea laughing with unnumbered ripples, and glinting with the steel of warriors docked in all the glory of battle-array, and flaunting with the gray pennants of the fleet which it seemed proud to bear. At night, heaving crimson like the vat of a dyer, defiled by floating corpses, and spewing its foul corruption for miles along the strand, it bore awful though transient witness to the hate of man.
The Taira, driven off the face of the earth, were buried with war's red burial beneath the sea, that soon forgot its stain, and laughed again in purity of golden gleam and deep-blue wave. The humble fisherman casting his nets, or trudging along the shore, in astonishment saw the delicate corpses of the court, lady and the tiny babe, and the sun-bronzed bodies of rowers, cast upon the shore. The child who waded in the surf to pick up shells was frightened at the waverolled carcass of the dead warrior, from whose breast the feathered arrow or the broken spear-stock protruded. The peasant, for many a day after, burned or consigned to the burial flames many a fair child whose silken dress and light skin told of higher birth and gentler blood than their own rude brood.
Among a superstitious people dwelling by and on the sea, such an awful ingulfing of human life made a profound impression. The presence of so many thousand souls of dead heroes was overpowering. For years, nay, for centuries afterward, the ghosts of the Taira found naught but unrest in the sea in which their mortal bodies sunk. The sailor by day hurried with bated breath past the scene of slaughter and unsubstantial life. The mariner by night, unable to anchor, and driven by wind, spent the hours of darkness in prayer, while his vivid imagination converted the dancing phosphorescence into the white hosts of the Taira dead. Even to-day the Chōshiu peasant fancies he the ghostly armies baling out the sea with bottomless dippers, condemned thus to cleanse the ocean of the stain of centuries ago.
A few of the Taira escaped and fled to Kiushiu. There, secluded in the fastnesses of deep valleys and high mountains, their descendants, who have kept themselves apart from their countrymen for nearly seven hundred years, a few hundred in number, still live in poverty and pride. Their lurking-place was discovered only within the last century. Of the women spared from the massacre, some married their conquerors, some killed themselves, and others kept life in their defiled bodies by plying the trade in which beauty ever finds ready customers. At the present day, in Shimonoséki, the courtesans descended from the Taira ladies claim, and are accorded, special privileges.
The vengeance of the Minamoto did not stop at the sea. They searched every hill and valley to exterminate every male of the doomed clan. In Kiōto many boys and infant sons of the Taira family were living. All that were found were put to death. The Herod of Kamakura sent his father-in-law to attend to the bloody business.
In the Fourth month the army of Kamakura returned to Kiōto, enjoying a public triumph, with their spoils and prisoners, retainers of the Taira. They had also recovered the sacred emblems. For days the streets of the capital were gay with processions and festivals, and the coffers of the temples were enriched with the pious offerings of the victors, and their walls with votive tablets of gratitude.
Munémori was sent to Kamakura, where he saw the man whose head his father had charged him on his death-bed to cut off and hang on his tomb. His own head was shortly afterward severed from his body by the guards who were conducting him to Kiōto.