The 47 Ronin: The Faithful Samurai
 
 
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Uramatsu Handayū Takanao falling backwards into the snow

Uramatsu Takanao was the eldest son of Uramatsu Kihei, six feet tall, strong, skilled in the martial arts, and a supremely powerful young man. His father, whose full name was Uramatsu Kihei Hidenao, became a priest and took the name Ryūen. The family lived in HatchŌbori and later moved to HonjŌ.
Takanao lived in Shiba GensukechŌ with NaitŌ Jūrozaemon, and went out to work daily.
NaitŌ had changed his name to Isogai.
Takanao took his sword to the sharpener, Tazaemon, to be honed and went to get it early in December. He was overjoyed at the work that had been done and added a tip of one bu when he paid the fee. Then he told Tazaemon that he was leaving for his home soon, and Tazaemon brought out a feast of fish and sake. Takanao got quite drunk and asked his host what he might test his sword against. Tazaemon saw that he had a determined man here and suggested that he should cut the pillar supporting the eaves. ‘That’s not hard. I’ll do it,’ said Takaanao, and, with a shout, sliced the pillar off at an angle. The blade was made by Osafune Sukesada, and Takanao’s technique was that of the Shinkage school. He might as well have been slicing a daikon. Off to the side, the host was amazed at the sharpness of the blade and let out a shout. When word of the night attack by the faithful band got around not long after that, stories were told of Tazaemon’s pillar, and curiosity seekers came to look at it.
In the attack, Takanao came upon Kasahara ChŌshichi in the garden and killed him. When he practiced, his swing would bring down pine branches. One large one with snow on it knocked him on his backside. He laughed about that. Afterwards, he told his comrades the story.

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References: David R. Weinberg. Kuniyoshi: The faithful samurai. Hotei Publishing – Leiden, The Netherlands, 2000, no.1.19. pp.76.77.

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
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