No.1.24 Takebayashi Sadashichi Takashige
Takebayashi Sadashichi Takashige was from a family of old retainers and was said to be a distant descendant of Bu Rin Ryū, who had been captured by Okuno Shōgen during the Korean invasion. His mother had been a wet-nurse of Takasada, so he was a ‘milk-brother’ of the lord. He had lost his father, Sadaemon, to illness, and now he looked after his mother with unflagging devotion.
When the lord’s house fell, he left Akao and took up temporary lodging in Kyoto and planned the vendetta with Ōboshi. When he informed his mother that he had signed the compact, she was overjoyed and set to work preparing for his journey and informed him about all the omens that must be observed if they were to succeed. Then, the night before they were to depart, she committed suicide.
At the end of the message she left behind, she had written this poem:
After I am gone,
remember me by looking at
the plum on my sleeve,
shining through a mist of tears
like the moon in clouded skies
This was March 15th. She was in her seventy=second year. Her death intensified the violent anger building up in her son, now driving a desire to destroy the enemy of not only his lord but also his mother. He informed Ōboshi of what had happened and, with blood in his eye, said he was leaving for the Kantō and hurried off.
I have dreamed for thirty-three years,
and dream still as I die for duty.
Both parents await me in the world of death.
Duty, vendetta, piety, dream: all meaningless.
How lucky it is
to see on death’s mountain path
cherry trees in bloom
References: David R. Weinberg. Kuniyoshi: The faithful samurai. Hotei Publishing –
Leiden, The Netherlands, 2000, no.1.21. pp.80,81.