Category Archives: Prose Works

Heike monogatari 76

Third Rank Lay Priest [Minamoto no Yorimasa] summoned his retainer, Watanabe Chōjitsu.

‘Take my head,’ he ordered, but overcome with the sorrow of taking his master’s life, Chōjitsu cried, overcome with tears, ‘Such a service is unthinkable. I would only dare to do it afterwards, should my Lord take his own life.’

‘I see,’ Yorimasa replied, then faced the west and chanted the name of Amida Buddha ten times in a loud voice, before reciting:


umoregi no
hana saku koto mo
nakarishi ni
mi no naru hate zo
aware narikeru
On a drowned tree
Blossoms flower
Not a one—
To reach the end of life
Is sad, indeed!

With these as his last words, he ran the tip of his great sword through his belly, collapsing over it and died. At such a time, one would not normally be able to compose a poem, but Yorimasa had loved the Way of Waka extravagantly since he was young, so at the last he did not forget it.