The 47 Ronin: The Faithful Samurai
 
 
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41. Mase Magoshirō Masatatsu smashing an earthen vessel with a mallet

Magoshirō  was the son of Kyūdaiyu Masa-aki and an able swordsman, but he had been suffering from blisters on his hands. Wrapping his sword-hilt with cotton strips improved his grip somewhat, but did not make him confident that he could defend himself properly with the sword. Therefore, he entered the attacks using a bow, and after he had shot all his arrows at the enemy, took up a spear.
          In the garden of the mansion, he met Torii Reimon. He gave the password ‘yama?’  and received the reply ‘yama.’ There in the dark it was impossible to discriminate one man from another, but the reply from a friend should have been ‘kawa.’ This was clearly an enemy.
Masatatsu then pulled back his spear and thrust it.
          He faced off against Masatatsu with high and low strokes, using all the tricks he knew.
Masatatsu took a wrong step, slipped on a snowy spot and fell into a pond. Torii brought up his sword to finish him off, but then, at the very moment he was to strike, Ōboshi Rikiya, some distance away, saw what was happening, drew his bow and shot. The arrow pierced Torii in the chest. At the same time, Magashirō cut him from below, from the ribs to the nipple. Torii fell to his back and died without a sound.
          Magashirō jumped up, wrung the water from his clothes, and penetrated further into the house.

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References:             David R. Weinberg. Kuniyoshi: The faithful samurai. Hotei Publishing –
Leiden, The Netherlands, 2000, no.1.41. pp.120,121.

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