The Lacquered Hat of the Genji Part3
Before long, well over 10 years had passed.
The Heike had flourished and Kiyomori's clan had risen to magnificent posts in the military ranks.
Kiyomori contacted Gorodayu, who operated a hat shop at Karasuma in the Capital.
His shop made eboshi, the kind of headgear that indicated the official status of each man who wore one. Kiyomori instructed Gorodayu to make eboshi to display the various ranks of his men. When Gorodayu delivered the goods, Kiyomori spoke to him.
“I have heard a rumor that Yoshitomo's eldest son, Imawaka, has secretly undergone the ceremony to recognize his attainment of manhood and has taken the name Uhyoenosuke Yoritomo.
I believe he is making preparations and gathering forces to attack the Heike.
I hear that his younger brother Ushiwaka has completed his training in the mountains of Kurama and is lying in wait near Kyoto planning his offensive.
If this is true, both Yoritomo and Ushiwaka must have been covertly granted military rank by the Emperor and, naturally, they would need eboshi appropriate to their rank.
If anyone whom you do not recognize comes to purchase an eboshi, inform me immediately.”
Osada no Tadamune also spoke.
“Gorodayu, you must be vigilant. If you discover those two, I can offer you a handsome reward.”
“I shall not fail in my diligence,” said Gorodayu, thrilled at this welcome opportunity.
Gorodayu had one daughter. Her name was Shinonome, and she was 15 years old.
The girl was thought to be too refined to remain merely a townsman's daughter.
She grew up enfolded in her parents' warm affections.
Having turned 16 years old, Ushiwaka was struck with a thought.
“Now that I am a man and have come into my own, I shall head to Oshu.”
But thinking that he might be captured by the Heike if he were to travel looking as he had as a young boy, he stopped by Gorodayu's shop to purchase adult headgear.
“I would like to buy an eboshi,” he said.
Ushiwaka was so handsome and was dressed so elegantly that Shinonome fell in love with him at first sight.
Attempting to calm her pounding heart, she hid her blushing cheeks with her sleeve.
Her demeanor made her appear even more lovely to Ushiwaka.
“I am looking for an eboshi with the thin part at the top bent over.”
Ushiwaka took Shinonome's hand. Just then Gorodayu returned to his shop.
Gorodayu realized at a glance that the youth was likely Ushiwaka. Affecting a smile, he asked,
“So, my young gentleman, you are looking for an eboshi? Well, well, do you have any preferences?”
“Yes, I am searching for one with a rough texture and the peak bent to the left,” Ushiwaka replied.
Secretly thrilled that this had to be Ushiwaka, Gorodayu spoke.
“I see. I don't have one like that already made, but I can have one crafted for you tonight,so please stay here this evening.”
But Ushiwaka turned to leave the shop. “No. I'll come back tomorrow morning.”
Shinonome grasped his sleeve to hold him back.
“It's my father's wish, but I also would like to celebrate your coming of age, so please do remain with us here tonight.” Ushiwaka decided to wait there for his eboshi to be completed.
Gorodayu addressed his daughter, “Shinonome, this young man is our first customer of the year.
Be sure to show him our finest hospitality.” As Gorodayu hurried out the door to see Osada Tadamune, he thought to himself, “I have captured Ushiwaka! I shall receive my reward in gold coins!”
That day, Ushiwaka and Shinonome exchanged promises that they would become husband and wife.
Late in the night when the left-bent eboshi was completed, Shinonome said,
“Let us celebrate here in this room.” She set out a ceramic saké decanter and cups for drinking.
Seeing this, Ushiwaka said,
“What delightful care you've taken. The truth is, I am Ushiwaka, son of Yoshitomo.
Someday, when I have destroyed the Heike and this world becomes the realm of the Genji,
I shall indeed repay this kindness. If times were different, all the lords of the country of Japan would be celebrating my first eboshi. These are indeed unfortunate circumstances.”
Ushiwaka shed tears, as did Shinonome.
Ushiwaka leaned his sword against the alcove pillar, regarding it as the enshrinement of Hachiman,the God of War. He took the eboshi and placed it on his own head.
Before the sword, the couple performed the nuptial ritual of the three-times-three exchange of cups and the coming-of-age ceremony.
“Beginning this day, I shall be known as an adult by the name Minamoto no Yoshitsune.
Let the age of the Genji flourish forever!”
Shinonome felt pity as she watched the young man carrying out this ritual all alone.
In a moment of inspiration, Shinonome scurried to a back room of the shop.
She placed a large number of eboshi on a rack and hung men's costumes under them.
Bringing them out, she lined them up before Ushiwaka. It looked just as if a crowd had hurriedly gathered there to celebrate Ushiwaka's coming-of-age ceremony.
“Congratulations! All the great warriors of the Eight Provinces of Eastern Japan have brought their retainers to this celebration. It is a sign that the Genji shall prosper. Please, let us drink to this occasion.” Shinonome celebrated with a toast.
Having received notification from Gorodayu, Osada arrived at the hat shop in order to capture Ushiwaka. There, through the cracks of the sliding partition, he saw that dozens of great men seemed to have gathered. Osada trembled, succumbing to fright.
Gorodayu asked, “What is the matter, Lord Osada? Please go ahead and seize Ushiwaka.”
Osada responded. “Just take a look. He has so many troops assembled. I alone cannot simply take him by sword.” Peering inside, Gorodayu was also shocked at the sight.
The two men’s perplexity began to turn to panic.
Suddenly, the dashing figure of Kon’omaru appeared before them. Instantly Osada fell prone to the ground, crying out, “Help us!”
Ushiwaka and Shinonome opened the sliding partition and emerged. Trembling, Gorodayu shouted, “Please save us.” Kon’omaru stepped on Gorodayu's back. “I could certainly not bring myself to pardon you, but I will forgive the girl and save her.” He pressed down more powerfully,
but somehow Gorodayu managed to twist away and escape on his knees.
Unable to bear any more, Gorodayu scuffled away on his knees.
Kon’omaru spoke, “Ho, Osada! Killing you now would be too good a fate for you.
Instead, I shall torture you to death in front of Yoritomo, who was once called Imawaka.”
He tied up Osada with a rope.
Seeing Kon’omaru do this, Ushiwaka felt reassured.