One’s debt to his lord has the weight of Korea’s Taisan mountain, but obeying one’s lord’s commands is as light as light can be. Loyalty is the highest of virtues, but living by it is far from easy.
The loyal retainer Onodera Jūnai joined with Ōboshi Yoshio and took the oath of vengeance with their co-conspirators. Then, a while after the younger men had departed for the Kantō region, he followed, accompanied by Ōboshi Rikiya, along the Tōkaidō road. At Hakone, his fellow-conspirators Sugino and Yatō caught up with him, bearing a letter from his wife, her response to the letter he had left when he departed.
When I read the words
your pen left upon the page
a shower of tears fell
And now all the leaves are gone
That I might use to answer
Hidetomo then took a poem-card and wrote:
Limits there may be
on whether I shall return
but as I travel
My love goes along with me
Like a garment of nine folds
He then sent that back with a returning courier.
In Edo, he changed his name to Jūan and set up business as a physician. Though he was over sixty, he was in vigorous health, with courage inferior to none. He was deeply versed in all the martial arts and also a man of deep learning.
He assumed a leading role in the night attack, killed two of the enemy, and wounded many others. He did what he came to do and then lived for a time in a guest house. At the end of the year, he wrote:
As one grows older
one waits with anticipation
the day the flowers bloom;
How difficult to witness
The year coming to a close
David R. Weinberg. Kuniyoshi: The faithful samurai. Hotei Publishing – Leiden, The Netherlands, 2000, no.1.9. pp.56, 57.