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 Japan

stories from japan

 

TITLES:

THE GAME OF GO    SEMI SHIGURE     PRINCESS MONOKONE     NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF WIND     THE STORY OF THE TSURU

KYOTO FROG AND OSAKA FROG     BUN SHIRO     THE HARP OF BURMA     ZEN     KUNITORI MONOGATARI     REINCARNATION...

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Go chess

The history of Go stretches back some 3000 years and the rules have remained essentially unchanged throughout this very long period.
The future of Tibet was once decided over a Go board when the Buddhist ruler refused to go into battle; instead he challenged the aggressor to a game of Go.
Go is one of the oldest board games in the world. Its true origins are unknown. Historically it was in Japan that the game really flourished. Introduced into Japan probably well before the 8th century, Go soon gained popularity at the imperial court and, from this auspicious beginning, took root in Japanese culture.
A friend from Japan sent me the next story.

The game of Go                                                                 

This is a story of about 600 years ago. There was a feudal lord, a local master, who liked “Go” chess very much. One of his ministers found a nice board for “Go” chess at a shop. He wanted to buy it, but the shop owner did not want to sell it to any one, saying it was only for display. He told the minister that the board was cursed, because two Samurais had played the game on it, they had a quarrel over the game and one Samurai killed the other. Since it had once been stained with human blood, the shop owner did not want to sell it to any customer. But as the board was very beautiful, the minister persuaded the shop owner and bought it.
A few days later, the minister presented the board to his master, a feudal lord. His master rejoiced over getting the beautiful “Go” chess game board. The master told his minister that he wanted to play “Go” chess on it with one of the best “Go” chess players. So, a young Samurai named Mata Ichi Ro was called, and he came to the master’s room in his castle.

In fact, this young man was a son of the man, who had been killed by his friend because of the quarrel over the game. When this young man was a teenaged boy, he had been engaged with a young girl. This engagement had been made between the two families. The young man wanted to marry the girl because she was very beautiful. However, he got smallpox and became blind, although he had recovered from the disease. When the girl knew that Mata Ichi Ro had become blind, she did not love him any more. She told her parents that they should cancel the engagement, but the parents did not find any good reason for that.
One day, the feudal lord held a party in the middle yard of the castle, inviting many guests. Among the invited guests was the girl’s family. The feudal lord found the girl by chance and was attracted by her. He asked her parents to give her to him, as his second wife. At that time, polygamy was allowed only to feudal lords in the feudal society. Most feudal lords had more than one wife. It was considered important for feudal lords to have as many children as possible for the future prosperity of their families.
The girl’s father came to the house of Mata Ichi Ro and told the story to him and his mother. As their master wanted the girl as his second wife, they were not allowed to oppose it, because they were servants to the master. So, the young man gave up his dream to marry the young girl. A few weeks later, the girls went to the castle and became the master’s second wife.

After that, the young Samurai had not seen the girl until he came to the castle to play “Go” chess with his master. When he was allowed to enter the master’s room, he met the girl sitting next to his master. He just said greeting words to her. His master welcomed the young man and started to play “Go” chess. They played the game several times, but the young man won all the games, because he was an excellent player and more skillful than his master. He was the top player in his district. Although he was blind and could not see the “Go” chess board, he could memorize everything from the beginning to the end of the game.
Time went on and it became evening. The young man had been aware that the master had been getting irritated, because he could not win a game. So, he asked the master if he might leave, because it had become late and he was getting tired. But the master did not allow him to stop the games and leave the room. The young man unwillingly continued the game.
When the game was coming to an end, the master noticed that if it were not for one stone of the young man, he would be able to win the game. The master secretly took the young man’s black stone away and put his white stone at the point, thinking that the young man was unable to know it, because he was blind. Several minutes later, the young man noticed that his black stone had changed into the master’s white stone. So, he politely said, “Master, I am afraid you made a mistake. I put my black stone at this point, but now there is no stone of mine there. Will you please return my stone to its original position?” Then, the master got angry, and said, “Your stone was not at this point from the beginning. This stone was my stone from the beginning.”

If the young man admitted he was wrong, there would be no problem. But he was very stubborn. He said words that he’d better not say. He said, “Master, even though I am blind, I can memorize all my hands in the game. You are cheating me! If you don’t admit your fault, you are not worthy to a master!” He said the words that he should not say to his master.
The master got furious and stood up taking his sword. And he said to the young man, “Admit you are wrong, and I’ll forgive you. If not, I’ll kill you with my sword.” The young man said, “Not I, but you are wrong! Kill me if you believe you are right!”  So, the master drew his sword out, slashed and killed him.
Hearing their voices, some Samurais came to the master’s room and found the young man dead. They heard their master’s explanation that the young man had made a mistake, but had not admitted it. He insisted his master had made the mistake and he said insulting words to him, so the master unwillingly slashed him and killed him. There was no one who could oppose the master’s words. They concluded that the young man had lost control of himself and said insulting words to his master. So, the master had to kill him with his sword.

The young man’s dead body was carried to his house, in which only his mother lived. While Samurais explained the situation, the mother kept a calm attitude. After they had left her house, she began to cry in a loud voice. She said to her son’s corpse, “I know you did not do anything wrong. Your master cheated you. You were indignant about your master. I regret I cannot revenge on him for you.” 
She had kept a female cat named “Tama” in her house and loved it very much. The cat listened to all the words of the woman.
Then, the young man’s mother took out her knife, cut her throat with it, and died. A lot of blood came out of her throat. The cat came to the woman’s dead body and lapped her blood for a while. And then the cat disappeared.

A few days later, a Samurai was killed during his night guard job. It was very strange that he had not been killed with a sword, but his throat had been bitten by an animal. The next night, a woman servant attached to the master’s second wife was killed in the same way. She was also bitten on her throat by an animal. But no one had seen such a large animal in the castle as was able to kill human beings.
From this time, the master became seriously ill. Every evening he suffered from nightmares. His attending physician prescribed medicines for him but the master did not get well. His condition was getting worse day by day. He could not eat anything and he was losing his weight. Every night the master’s second wife was called to his bed, and took care of him.
Ministers gathered and discussed what they should do for their master, but they did not have any good idea. Strangely enough, night guard Samurais fell asleep and did not perform their duty every night. On the other hand, there was a rumor that a huge cat-like animal was seen in the garden of the castle at night.

One Samurai came to the ministers and offered that he would work as a night guard for his master and that he wanted to kill the animal if it appeared. So, they allowed him to stay in the garden in front of the master’s bedroom. The night came, and he fell asleep. It was very hard to resist the sleepiness. He took out a small knife and cut his leg with it to regain consciousness. When it got dark, the master’s second wife came with a paper lantern, and walked on the corridor to the master’s bedroom. The Samurai hid himself in the bush with his long spear, so that he might not be seen by anyone.
Yes, the woman was his master’s second wife. There was nothing strange about it. She did not notice the presence of the guard and passed in front of the bush where he was hiding. When she passed in front of him, he felt something cold running down his spine. The woman opened the door and entered the master’s bedroom. Then, the master’s groaning voices began to come to the Samurai’s ears. He approached the master’s room and found some cat hairs in the corridor through which the woman had passed.
When he looked at the window of the bedroom, he was astonished to find a shape of a huge cat against the candle light. The cat’s low roaring voices came to his ears, along with the master’s groaning voices. He suddenly thrust the top of his spear into the cat’s shadow. He felt a jolt on his hands holding his spear, with sharp cat’s voices. He pulled his spear back, kicked the window and broke it. When he entered the room, he was astonished to find a huge cat there. The cat was looking at him with a lot of blood pumping out of her chest. The cat attacked him, but before her attack, he thrust the top of his spear again into the cat’s body. The huge cat fell on the floor and he thrust his lance into her neck again. Then, the huge cat died. Other Samurais came to the place and were surprised to see the dead body of a huge cat. The Samurai was also injured but he was living.

In fact, after the cat had left the house of the mother of Mata Ichi Ro, she had come to the castle at night. She enchanted the master’s second wife and led her into the small woods. The cat devoured her, and changed herself into the woman. Every night when she was called to the master’s bed-room, she intended to kill the master gradually, giving great pain to him with her curse.
The ministers tried to keep this fact secret, but it leaked out to the people outside the castle. They felt sorry for the cat, that had failed her revenge on the feudal lord for the sake of her owner’s family. They made a small monument for the cat with a prayer that she would live peacefully in paradise with her past owner.
 

S.Y.

     

Attached are pictures of “Go” chess game board and “Go” chess stones. In the “Go” game, two opponents put their stones one by one, alternatively. The “Go” stones consists of black and white pebbles.

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semi shigue
 


Semishigure ( Summer evening with cicadae ), movie 2005

 

The next story is the story of a Japanese Samurai movie.
It is a story about a young Samurai named Bun Shiro, of about 500 years ago and it is fiction.

Bun Shiro was a 15-year-old boy of a poor Samurai family. However, he was very good at sword fighting. He was said to be the top student among the boys of his generation in his Dojo school. There was a 13-year-old girl of another Samurai family near his house. This girl’s name was Fuku.

One day the boy’s father was arrested by officials, and a few days later executed to death with his friend Samurais. Their family members were called to take their corpses back to their houses. The boy went to a police office, received his father’s dead body and carried it on a cart. When the cart came to an upward pass of a hill, he pulled the cart with all his might but the cart did not move anymore. Then, the girl Fuku came and helped him to pull the cart.

Before the execution, Bun Shiro had had a chance to meet his father and he heard his last words. His father only said, “I am innocent before God and before people.”

In fact, his father was involved in a political problem. In order to keep the secret, he was executed as a criminal who had intended to cause a rebellion. Of course, he had no such intention and was killed by scheme.

One day after one year had passed, the girl named Fuku was called to their feudal lord’s residence in Edo ( today’s Tokyo. ) She went to Edo city, lived in the feudal lord’s residence and started to work for him as a female servant. She came to the boy’s house to say goodbye, but the boy wasn’t there, she only saw his mother.

 

Ten years passed, Bun Shiro became 25 years old and was admired as one of the top sword fighters among all Samurais. A competition was made between Bun Shiro and another Samurai in the presence of their feudal lord. Bun Shiro was easily beaten. After the match, his teacher told him, “Your opponent is not normal. He is crazy. He has a strange ability of hypnosis. In order to beat him, try to view him not with your physical eyes but with spiritual eyes.”

 

One day, a friend of his came to Bun Shiro and brought him news. Fuku ( the girl he had once loved ) had come to their country and lived in a separated house of their feudal lord’s. The girl had already become the second wife of the feudal lord. At that time, polygamy was allowed for only the king and feudal lords. Samurais and general people were, of course, not allowed to have more wives. Fuku had once experienced a miscarriage. But at the second time she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She lived in the house with her baby escorted by several Samurais.

 There was a rumor that there was a problem as to who should succeed their master, the present feudal lord’s position. In other word, if the present master died, who should be the next master. There were two groups of executive Samurais under the feudal lord. One group supported the first wife’s son. The other group supported the second wife’s son. Their master, the feudal lord, had already become weak and was likely to die at any time. So, Fuku and her baby boy were transferred from Edo to their native town for safety.

One day Bun Shiro was called by one of the top executive Samurais and he was ordered to kidnap Fuku’s son. Then, pretending to obey his order, he came to the Fuku’s residence and met her after long absence. He told her and her accompanying Samurai about the scheme and advised her to escape from the house. During their talk, other Samurais came and broke into the residence. Sword fighting occurred between the guard samurais of Fuku and samurais dispatched by the top executive.

Fuku and her baby safely escaped from the residence and once stayed in a farmer’s house. Bun Shiro and Fuku’s guard samurais discussed how to take her and her baby to a residence of an executive’s who had supported Fuku from the beginning. All the roads must have been checked and it seemed impossible to enter the town and to reach the executive’s residence. Then, a farmer advised them to use a boat. So, Bun Shiro, Fuku and her baby rode on a boat and sailed along the river. Anyway they successfully reached the executive’s residence. Bun Shiro showed gratitude to the executive and left the residence.

 

Another ten years passed. Fuku again came to the local town. Bun Shiro received a letter from her, saying that she wanted to see him again for a short time because she had to go to a Buddhist nunnery. Their feudal lord died and his first wife’s son succeeded his position. On the other hand, Fuku’s son was adopted to another feudal lord who had no son of his own. As she became free, she determined to be a Buddhist nun and to spend the rest of her life in a nunnery.

Bun Shiro came to the house and met Fuku after a ten years interval. Bun Shiro had become 35 years old and already married. “Fuku asked him, “Are you married?” He answered “Yes.” “Do you have a child?” “Yes, I have a son and a daughter.”

Fuku said, “How happy I would be, if they were my son and daughter.” He replied, “I’d feel the same. All our fate.”

Then, the time of departure came. Fuku rode in a carriage and left the house. Bun Shiro saw her off from beside the road.

 

S.Y.
 

 

If you like to see some pictures of Semi Shigure, you can visit the following website:
http://www.semishigure.jp/gallery.html

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Princess Mononoke (movie)

Set during the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) of Japan, Mononoke Hime is a story about a mystic fight between the Animal Gods of the forest and humans.
On the side of the Animal Gods is San (Mononoke Hime), a human girl raised by the wolf god Moro. On the side of the humans is Lady Eboshi, building a kingdom for oppressed people by cutting down the forest for her iron-making operation.
In the middle of this fierce fighting for survival, Ashitaka, an Emishi boy, struggles to find a way for both sides to co-exist. But the fighting just becomes more and more bloody and all hope seems to be lost..

Summary

The story takes place in a confusing era, when the system of the medieval era had collapsed and society was moving towards the modern era. At that time, although the population had increased and many virgin forests had been cut down, there still remained many ancient forests which refused humans. In dark, black forests of evergreen trees, animals such as mountain dogs, boars, and deer were huge and wise, and could understand human language. They were fighting against humans who invaded their sanctuary, and were feared as Raging Gods. The protagonist is Ashitaka, a descendant of a Royal family of the people who had been defeated by the Yamato government and had been living in a hidden mountain village in Northeast region for hundreds of years. He was put under a curse of death by the Boar God who had become "Mononoke", called "Tatari God" (Curse God) out of anger and hatred. He started on a journey to solve the mystery of the curse, and in the Western country he visited, he was dragged into a heroic battle between the Raging Gods and humans.

Eboshi Gozen was leading the Tatara iron making group, and wanted to get rid of the Gods of the forest to turn the forest into a rich land for people. She assembled women who had been sold and men who had been oppressed, and had created a humanistic society, making iron. On the other hand, although she was a human, Mononoke Hime, San, had been raised by a mountain dog who could understand human language. With the Gods, she was fighting against the Tatara group. Each side believed that their own belief was just. Eboshi Gozen cut the forest down so that humans could live, and the Gods tried to protect their land so that they could live. Ashitaka wasn't sure which side he should take. Further, Samurais who were after the head of the Shishi God which had the power of eternal youth, entered into this battle. It is now a three-way battle.

The boy and the girl met in the middle of this tragedy, and exchanged their feelings, but the fighting over the mountain became more gruesome, and mass killing started. The Raging Gods became mere wild animals. San tried to calm the God who became the Tatari God, but she was swallowed by the Tatari. Ashitaka tries to rescue her, risking his own life. And among the confusion, the story dashes towards the end....

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kyoto frog


Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

Kyoto frog and Osaka frog

Long, long ago a frog living in Kyoto set off for a long jumping to Osaka, while a frog living in Osaka set off for a long jumping to Kyoto. The two frogs happened to meet each other on the top of a high mountain between two towns.
"Good afternoon. Mr. Osaka-frog, Where are you going?"
"I'm going to do the sights of Kyoto. Mr. Kyoto-frog, Where are you going?"
"I'm going to do the sights of Osaka."
"It's the same, isn't it?"
"Yes, it is the same, isn't it?"
The two began to laugh at each other.
"By the way, Mr. Osaka-frog, This is the top of a high mountain. I can see the town of Osaka, can't I?"

"Of course, you can. I can also see the town of Kyoto, can't I?"
"Let's see together."
Osaka-frog tired to look toward Kyoto while Kyoto-frog tried to look toward Osaka.
The two stood on tiptoes and raised their heads.
"I could see the town of Osaka."
"I could see the town of Kyoto."
The two said to each other at the same time. But they had their eyes on the back of the heads, they couldn't see forward.
The town Kyoto-frog saw was Kyoto while the town Osaka-frog saw was Osaka.
"It's worthless to go to Osaka. Osaka is the same as Kyoto."
"It's worthless to go to Kyoto. Kyoto is the same as Osaka."
The two frogs said good-by to each other and returned to their towns.
Kyoto-frog jumped back to Kyoto while Osaka-frog jumped back to Osaka

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nausicaa


Kaze no Tani no Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind)

It has been a millennium since a global war known as the "Seven Days of Fire" destroyed human civilization. Only a tiny remnant of humanity survives, huddled in small enclaves across the continents. The Fukai, a thick jungle whose spores and plantlife are poisonous to humans, covers much of the Earth's surface. 
Feeding on the pollutants of the former human civilization, the Fukai continues to expand, enveloping the outposts of mankind and consuming them. Giant mutated insects are now the dominant form of life, living both in and above the Fukai. Of these, the Ohmu reign supreme - seventy-meter long pillbug-shaped guardians of the Fukai. 
One of these islands of humanity is known as the Valley of the Wind. Protected from the spores by strong winds from the sea, these winds also power a forest of windmills to perform work and pump water from underground wells. Nonetheless, the inhabitants of the Valley must still be vigilant to ensure that the fungi do not gain a foothold amongst their crops and water supply.
All those who dare enter the Fukai must wear breathing masks, lest the spores rot their lungs. One of these explorers is the Princess Nausicaä, the only surviving child of King Jil, ruler of the Valley. Riding far above the fukai and desert on her mehve, she sails over the fossilized remains of the kyoshinhei - "Giant God Soldiers" - who destroyed civilization during the Seven Days of Fire. 
Nausicaä sets down at the edge of the jungle and enters to collect spore samples. As she explores, she comes across the recently-sloughed carapace of an Ohmu. Excitedly, she removes one of the eyepieces to take back to turn into a window. As she prepares to return, she hears the report of a gunshot. Rushing back to her mehve, she sees a figure on birdback exit the forest, followed moments later by an ohmu, its dozens of eyes red in anger. She flies in front of the ohmu, dropping flashbombs to stop it and soothe its anger. Slowly, the eyes turn blue and the ohmu renters the Fukai. 
Nausicaä lands next to the individual, and is surprised to see that he is Lord Yupa, a teacher who travels amongst the remaining human communities. Yupa explains that, in rescuing a small mammal, he had fired on an insect. He opens his pouch and out pops a small fox-squirrel. Though defensive at first, the fox-squirrel soon settles down and Nausicaä names him Teto. Yupa adds that he is on his way back to the Valley, and Nausicaä rides on ahead.
That evening, Yupa and Jil are discussing Yupa's travels and the continual decline of humanity as the Fukai moves ever onward. Though protected from direct contact with the poison, it nonetheless affects everyone, slowly ossifying their bodies as it ages them prematurely. 
Oh-baba, an elderly blind wise woman, claims that Yupa travels the world seeking a hero that legends say "...is a person clad in blue standing in a golden field who will find the bond between humanity and the earth, and lead the people to a pure land..." Yupa denies this, stating that he is studying the makeup of the Fukai. 
During the night, Nausicaä is woken from her sleep by a large windstorm lashing the Valley. Troubled, she dresses and climbs onto the roof with the night watch. To their horror, they see a massive Torumekian transport appear out of the storm, covered in a swarm of attacking insects. The crippled vessel attempts to continue on, but is finally brought down, crashing near the fields in a massive fireball. 
Nausicaä is the first to arrive at the site, and begins to search for survivors. She finds a young girl about her age in the wreckage, and is incensed to see she is a prisoner, her hands chained. Nausicaä pulls her out, but discovers that the girl has suffered a fatal injury. The girl tells Nausicaä that her name is Rastel and that she is a princess of the kingdom of Pejite. She asks Nausicaä to be sure that the transport's cargo is destroyed. Looking over the blazing inferno, Nausicaä assures Rastel that whatever the ship was carrying has been incinerated. Relieved, Rastel settles back and quietly passes away. 
Fungi from the doomed transport have landed in the fields, and the inhabitants of the Valley scramble to burn the infection before it spreads and ruins their crops. They come across one of the insects, injured, and prepare to kill it. They are stopped by Yupa, who explains that if attacked, the insect will summon a swarm which will wipeout the Valley. Using a whistle spun rapidly on the end of a string, Nausicaä lures the insect into the air and out of the Valley.
The next day, a squadron of transports and corvettes from the Torumekian Empire descend upon the Valley. Disgorging troops encased in armor and tanks, they quickly secure the Valley. Nausicaä, out in the fields when the invasion began, rushes back to the castle to find a squad of soldiers over her father, who lay dead in his bed. 
Consumed in rage, she lashes out and engages them in combat. However, her weapons prove ineffective against the armor and only the sudden appearance of Lord Yupa in the middle of the fight saves Nausicaä from sharing the fate of her late father. 
Outside, the inhabitants of the Valley learn of Jil's death and prepare to rush the Torumekian line, though it would mean certain death. Nausicaä appears before them and orders them to stand down. Princess Kushana of Torumekia, the commander of the invasion force, explains to the population that it is the intention of the Torumekian Empire to burn the Fukai and reclaim the earth for humanity. 
Oh-baba warns Kushana that other great empires have tried to destroy the Fukai. However, the ohmu and other insects have risen up and destroyed the empires, instead. Kushana explains that this time humanity will prevail. She reveals that the transport that had crashed the night before was carrying a proto-God Soldier. The Torumekians plan to revive it and use it against the Fukai. 
Kushana decides to revive the God Soldier in the Valley, and take Nausicaä and the Valley's elders back with her to the Torumekian capital as hostages to ensure that the residents of the Valley behave. She leaves her Chief of Staff, Kurotawa, in charge of the revival process. 
Yupa seeks Nausicaä in the castle basement and discovers that she has been tending a secret garden. Nausicaä tells him that she has been raising the spores she has collected in the Fukai. If grown in clean soil and fresh water, the spores do not give off toxins. She is depressed that the garden will now die in her absence, as she hoped to discover a way to cure the pollution-induced disease that had been killing her father and the other elders. 
Once airborne, the Torumekian force is set upon by a single Pejite fighter under the control of Prince Asbel, brother of the slain Rastel. He manages to destroy the Torumekian transports, but Nausicaä, horrified at the death occurring around her, climbs onto the transport and opens her arms to the diving Pejite fighter. Asbel, seeing Nausicaä, for a second sees his sister Rastel and his hesitation allows a Torumekian corvette to shoot him down. Nausicaä, Mito, and Kushana escape their burning transport aboard the Valley gunship, taken by Kushana as part of her booty. They link up with the remaining hostages, who were carried along in a glider. To the consternation of the others, Nausicaä removes her mask to show them that the upper atmosphere has been cleansed of poisons. The group settles down on a large, clear lake to determine their next course of action. However, Kushana removes a concealed gun and attempts to assume command. Before she can do anything, a group of Ohmu rise from the depths and encircle them. Nausicaä, unafraid, allows the Ohmu to examine her with their feelers and they recede. 
Nausicaä boards her mehve and starts to explore the lake area. She comes across Asbel, under attack by a group of insects. Out of ammunition, the insects force Asbel off a cliff. Nausicaä catches him as he falls, but her mehve is clipped by a large insect and they crash to the jungle floor, sinking from view in the fine sand.
Unconscious from the impact of the fall, Nausicaä dreams of her past. On a trip with her parents and retainers, she had come across a baby Ohmu. She tried to shelter it from view, but her father took it away as Nausicaä pleaded for them to spare it. 
She awakes from her dream to find herself in a massive underground forest. Huge trees spread their branches in a canopy, with the fine sand sifting down from between the branches. Nausicaä discovers that the trees of the fukai are absorbing the poisons, crystallizing them in their dieing cells. This process has cleansed the water and soil of poisons. They determine that the floor of the Fukai is anchored in the branches of these forest giants. The Fukai is actually slowly purifying the water and soil of Earth. Happy with their discovery, they share a meal of chico nuts (given to Nausicaä by the girls of the Valley before she left) and go to sleep.
Back in the Valley, Yupa discovers the Torumekian plans to revive the God Solider. While he leaves to find Nausicaä, the rest of the villagers rise up against the Torumekians.
The following morning, Nausicaä and Asbel fly to the capital city of Pejite, only to find that the insects of the Fukai, led by the Ohmu, have attacked and destroyed it. Standing in the ruins, they see a Pejite transport land. Asbel learns that the Torumekians lured the insects to Pejite, and that they plan to do the same to the Torumekian forces now occupying the Valley of the Wind. They will then capture the God Soldier for themselves and use it to destroy the Fukai, which is now absorbing their city. Nausicaä attempts to escape to warn her people, but is restrained. Asbel moves to help her, and is knocked unconscious by his troops. 
Nausicaä awakes aboard the transport. The Queen of Pejite, along with some of the other women, release Nausicaä from her prison aboard the plane. They then dress her in the outfit of one of the Pejite girls and take her to her mehve. However, a Torumekian gunship appears and grapples the Pejite vessel in a boarding operation. Nausicaä launches from the transport, and is chased by the gunship. She successfully evades them long enough for Yupa and Mito to appear in the Valley gunship and dispatch it. Nausicaä transfers to the gunship and they head off to find the baby ohmu. 
By the failing light, they see a literal sea of ohmu moving towards the Valley, their eyes red in anger. She moves on, and comes across the object of their anger - a baby ohmu has been suspended with barbed hooks from beneath a Pejite Flying Jar. The creature has been run through with harpoons and is bleeding profusely. 
Enraged by the atrocity she sees before her, she tries to get the Pejite to stop. They respond with gunfire, and Nausicaä is hit in the shoulder and ankle by rounds as she does a flying tackle into the Jar. The Jar descends to an island in the middle of an acid lake, and the tortured ohmu yanks the Jar out of the sky as soon as it attains landfall. Nausicaä goes to the creature, which is trying to return to its kind by heading for the acid lake. She pleads with it to stop, but it moves onwards. The movement aggravates its injuries, and its spurting fluids stain Nausicaä's outfit blue. As the acidic water flows across her boot and into her wound, she cries out and collapses in pain on the beach, grasping her ankle. The ohmu immediately stops, and deploys its feelers into the wound. There is a soft glow and the wound is healed. It then moves onto her shoulder and heals that wound as well. 
By now the Pejite are stirring, and Nausicaä turns her gun upon them. She orders them to take the ohmu to a point before the advancing horde in an attempt to get them to stop their advance.
The inhabitants of the Valley, outmatched by the Torumekian forces, have fought a withdrawal back to an ancient and shattered starship from before the Seven Days of Fire. Kushana has since returned from the Fukai and gathers her forces to put down the rebellion. As she arrives, she sees the advancing ohmu horde and orders her troops to take up a defensive position around the starship while she returns and gets the God Solider. Kurosawa tells her that it is too soon, but she replies that their situation is too pressing and leaves. The troops, seeing the huge insect force bearing down on them, soon break ranks and start to run. However, Kushana appears on the hill atop an armored vehicle. 
To the awe and horror of Torumekian and Valley-person alike, a massive humanoid form appears, climbing over the hill and over Kushana. The God Soldier, its flesh flowing like mud, turns toward the approaching ohmu. At Kushana's command, a beam of pure energy lances out across the forward echelon of ohmu and a multi-kiloton nuclear fireball erupts, vaporizing the entire front group. However, the God Soldier was birthed far too soon and the flesh starts to pour from its inner skeletal structure. Again, the nuclear beam fires and another huge group of ohmu are destroyed. However, by now the nuclear core is exhausted and the God Soldier crumbles into a pile of liquid flesh and bones. Though savaged, there are still thousands of ohmu who continue to charge. Those on the starship brace themselves for their impending deaths. Suddenly, shouts and cries erupt from the crowd as Nausicaä appears over the acid lake. The Pot sets the baby ohmu down and Nausicaä leaps out. They stand before the ohmu horde that, blinded by their rage, plow right over them. Nausicaä is thrown high in the air by the impact of the thousands of legs, disappearing in the heaving mass. 
Assuming their princess is dead, the Valley-people mourn. However, the ohmu suddenly stop. From the center, the red eyes of anger turn the cool blue of peace. Like the ripples of a pebble dropped in a pond, the blue expands outwards amongst the ohmu until all are at peace. The ohmu surrounding the broken body of Nausicaä put out their feelers and lift her into the sky, healing her. As she awakes and rises to her feet, the sheer number of glowing feelers supporting her make it look as if she was standing in a field of golden wheat. 
When the children describe the scene to the blind Oh-baba, she cries out that the prophecy of the one in blue upon a field of gold has come true. Nausicaä is the one who found the bond between humanity and the ohmu.
Then life is returning to normal in the Valley. The Torumekians board their transports and depart, Yupa and Prince Asbel explore the Fukai, and Nausicaä trains young fliers. 
And in the under-forest of the Fukai, a single chiko plant sprouts in the clean sand beside Nausicaä's discarded helmet.

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Reincarnation ...

There was an young couple, who were so poor that there was almost nothing for them to eat. Then the woman got pregnant, which was a big problem for those poor people. How could they feed another mouth?
And when their baby was born, rather than to let it starve slowly, the father took the infant to a stream and drowned it.  It was hard, but what else could he do?
They continued so poor that starvation stayed a threat and the man drowned two more babies…
Slowly things improved for the couple. The woman got pregnant again, and for the first time they could be happy about it.
The wife had her fourth child which they kept and it thrived, growing fat. Both parents doted on the son they had been able to keep, and one day the father was bouncing a ball for the baby when  he was so overcome with love that he stopped and said out loud that the Gods had favored them at last with this great gift of the infant. The child looked up and said clearly: ‘I’m glad you feel like that now, Father, for I tried to come to you and Mother three times before and you always drowned me.’
The father ran away, becoming quite mad.

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crane bird

The story of the Tsuru ( the Crane bird )

There lived a poor young peasant named Yohei in the north of Japan. One day when he was walking on a mountain path, a crane bird suddenly fell on the ground just in front of him. It was injured with an arrow shot by a hunter. He took the arrow out of the bird and tried to let it fly away.
Then, a hunter came to him and shouted, ”Don’t let it fly away. That’s my bird. It’s my game. I just shot it down. Give it back to me.”
Yohei said, “I want to live. You want to live, too. Likewise, this bird must want to live.
My mother is waiting for me to return. Its parents must be waiting for it to return. So, please let it be free. Please sell it to me by this money.”
The hunter agreed and received the money from Yohei. And he let the bird fly away from them.
It was an incident which had occurred in late autumn. The winter came.
One snowing winter night, Yohei was sat near the fire place and doing a job of making straw shoes.
The he heard knocking sounds on the front door of his house. He wondered who came to his house on such late evening in the snow. He came to the door and opened it, to find a young woman standing just in front of the entrance of his house. He let her in and led her to the fire place. She asked him to stay in his house for the night. Yohei, of course, agreed.
Next morning when he got up, his house had been cleaned and breakfast was already ready. The young man was living with his old sick mother who had been on bed for a long time. The young woman said to Yohei, “I’ve come from far away over many mountains. I have no place to return. I want to stay in this house with you and your mother. I want to be your wife.” On hearing this, not only the young man but also his mother was surprised. But they both were very glad at this. As they were very poor, it was very difficult for him to find a girl who wanted to marry him. Especially his mother was very, very gland since she had given up the idea of finding a wife for her son.
They started a new life. The young woman named “Tsuru” ( which means “crane” ) was very beautiful and was also hard working. She worked sincerely for the young man and his mother. They were all happy.
One day, the woman offered that she wanted to weave a piece of cloth for Yohei. So, he set up a weaving instrument in a small room attached to their house. She entered the room and started weaving using the instrument throughout day and night. After a week, she completed a new piece of white cloth and offered it to him, saying, “Please go to a town and get some money by selling this piece of cloth.” Yohei was very surprised at the beautiful cloth and went to a landlord to ask how he should do for selling the cloth. The landlord was also surprised at the beauty of the white cloth. He soon offered to buy it. The young man agreed and was glad to get a lot of money from him. The landlord thought that he should go to a large city and sell it to an aristocrat or a wealthy merchant. In fact, Yohei, the young man, did not have his own farming land, and instead, he borrowed a small piece of land from the landlord, where he grew rice and other vegetables for his living.
He came back home with a lot of money which he had obtained by selling the cloth. A month later, he was called by the landlord, and he went to him. The landlord asked Yohei to have his wife to weave another piece of the cloth. It was because an aristocrat who had bought the white cloth was very pleased and wanted to get another piece of the cloth.
Yohei soon rejected, saying that when his wife made the cloth, she had said that she should make it only once and would never do it again. However, the landlord would not listen to his words and definitely ordered him to make his wife weave another piece. If he rejected it, he would deprive him of his land for a rice raising field, and drive him and his mother away from the village.
Yohei explained to his wife that it was absolutely necessary for him to continue to have the farming land for his living. Finally, the woman gave in and agreed to weave another piece of cloth. She confirmed again that while she was weaving, never look into the room. The young man, of course, agreed.
From the evening she started weaving again in a small weaving room. Soon, Yohei’s mother noticed something. In the last time, the active and constant sounds of the weaving instrument came out of the room, but this time, the sounds were irregular and inactive. Yohei’s mother sympathized with her, thinking that she was very tired. One evening Yohei came back home from his friend’s house. He looked a little drunken. He sat down on the floor, and then he felt that he wanted to look into the weaving room and to see what was going on in it. His mother tried to stop him from doing it, but ignoring his mother’s words he quietly reached the room. When he looked into the room through a small hole in the door, she was astonished and uttered a voice. He did not find his wife there, but he saw a crane bird weaving a white cloth using the instrument. The bird was pulling out her feather and added it to the weaving cloth on the instrument. She had pulled out and used her own feather as a material for the cloth.
The bird came to know that her real feature had been revealed. She opened the door, and came out of the weaving room. She approached to the young man trembling on the floor. She said to him, “I told you to not look into my weaving room. Since you had agreed, I started weaving. But now you have known what I am. I cannot stay here anymore. I have to say Good-bye to you.” Then, she turned her face to Yohei’s mother and bowed deeply, saying, “Thank you for your all goodness. Take care of your health and live long.” After having said these words, she turned into a crane bird and got out of the window.
The young man dashed to the front door, opened it and got out of his house. It had stopped snowing and the sun came out. The crane bird flew high in the sky and disappeared over the mountains. Yohei stayed alone on the snow, looking at the sky for a long time.  S.Y. Japan

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Bun Shiro

Film

It is a film about a young Samurai named Bun Shiro Maki, about 500 years ago. .

Bun Shiro was a 15-year-old boy of a poor Samurai family. However, he was very good at sword fighting. He was said to be the top student among the boys of his generation in his Dojo school. There was a 13-year-old girl of another Samurai family near his house. This girl’s name was Fuku.
One day the boy’s father was arrested by officials, and a few days later executed to death. The boy was called to take the corpse back to his houses. He received his father’s dead body and carried it on a cart. When the cart came to an upward pass of a hill, he pulled the cart with all his might but the cart did not move anymore. Then, a girl, Fuku, came and helped him to pull the cart. Before the execution, he had a chance to meet his father and heard his last words. His father only said, “I am innocent before God and before people.”
..........

 As she became free, she determined to be a Buddhist nun and to spend the rest of her life in a nunnery.
Bun Shiro came to the house and met Fuku after a ten years interval. Bun Shiro had become 35 years old and already married. “Fuku asked him, “Are you married?” He answered “Yes.” “Do you have a child?” “Yes, I have a son and a daughter.”
Fuku said, “How happy I would be, if they were my son and daughter.” He replied, “I’d feel the same. We have to admit all our fate.”
Then, the time of departure came. Fuku rode in a carriage and left the house.
Bun Shiro saw her off from beside the road.  S.Y., Japan

If you like to read the complete story, click HERE

 

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The Harp of Burma

The Harp of Burma is a 1956 black-and-white Japanese film directed by Kon Ichikawa. It was based on a children's novel written by Michio Takeyama. The film was nominated for the 1957 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In 1985, Ichikawa remade the film in color and with different actors.

It is a story about a Japanese soldier who joined in the battle in Burma at the end of the Pacific War.
When the end of the war was coming, a Japanese army started a new battle in Burma area, the Great Britain’s colony at that time. 86,000 Japanese soldiers were in involved in this operation. They confronted great difficulties; geographical problems – deep jungles and high mountains, and a lack of support of food and weapons. Japanese soldiers carried light weapons such as rifles and hand grenades. They could not take heavy cannons or tanks with them. 

They carried only two weeks food with them. If the battle continued for longer than this, they could not survive because of the shortage of food. This bad expectation came true because of deep jungles and hard resistance by the British army. This operation continued for more than 3 months. Japanese soldiers died one after another because of shortage of food and tropical diseases. When the battle ended, only 10,000 soldiers came back alive.

This is a story about a soldier with the name “Mizushima.”  He belonged to one division of the Japanese army corps.
One night his company was surrounded by the British army. There was no possibility for them to win. There were two choices: to surrender or to fight until the last one died. The British officer persuaded Japanese soldiers to surrender by saying that the war itself had ended a week before. In the beginning everyone did not understand the situation. They could not accept the fact that Japan had lost the war.
But as the leader had gotten some information, he came to think that Japan would lose the war sooner or later.  So, he was the first man that understood the situation. So, he persuaded his fellow men to surrender so that they might live and work for the construction of their country if they could happen to come back to Japan. Finally they agreed.
They were put into a war prisoners’ camp in Burma and were engaged in construction works under the guard of the British and Indian soldiers. The Japanese soldiers lost hopes and became desperate. Many of them often complained and were unwilling to work under the direction of their past enemy.
The leader said to them that if they would be lazy in their works, it would cause them to think that Japanese soldiers were lazy in nature.  If so, it would be the second defeat on their part. Even if they had lost the war, they should not lose a significant attitude as Japanese soldiers. It was the time when they should show their pride and diligence.
Then the soldiers agreed to his opinion. In addition to this, he said that it was natural that they should become desperate.
In this situation they should find a way to encourage themselves. Then, the leader advised his fellow men to sing together under his direction to encourage and make themselves cheerful.
The leader of the group was a graduate from a musical college. He had been a teacher for music in a high school. And he was conscripted to be a soldier.
His trial proved to be successful. They sang together every day.
One day, the commander of the concentration camp said to the Japanese leader that there still was a group of Japanese soldiers who did not accept their persuasion to surrender. He asked him if he could choose one man and let him go to the spot. And he could  persuade the Japanese soldiers to stop fighting.
The Japanese leader came back to his fellow soldiers and told them the situation. And he selected a soldier whose name was Mizushima and he agreed to go there. He had been very good at playing Burmese harp, and he had played it as a secret communication means in the past.
The man came to the foot of the small mountain where a group of Japanese soldiers stayed and resisted.
First he met the British leader of the attacking force which was located there. He got thirty minutes as a time of grace before their start of attacking to the Japanese position on the mountain.
He climbed the mountain and got to the Japanese position. He was welcomed and he could meet the leader of the group.
He told him that as the war had already ended, they should surrender to the British army. The leader got furious. He insisted not to surrender. Mizushima persuaded him with all his efforts.
In the end the leader knocked him down and said he would ask his soldiers’ opinions. After a while, the leader came back to him and said that they would never surrender and continue to fight until the last one died  But Mizushima still insisted that it was in vain because the war itself had ended and that they should choose to live and to come back to Japan for its construction.
Then the promised time had passed. The British army could not postpone their attack any longer. The British commander gave an order to attack. Then cannons fired and explosions occurred here and there around the Japanese position. Japanese soldiers also fired their small weapons – only rifles. About half an hour passed.  Silence returned.
There were no living Japanese soldiers in the position. The British army abandoned it and moved away.
But only one man, Mizushima, survived in spite of his serious injury.  The next day, a Buddhist Burmese priest happened to come to the spot and found the wounded Japanese soldier.
The priest attended him and gave him food.  The meanwhile the priest told him that people always did foolish things – The British army had come to Burma to make it its colony and then Japanese came here.  But, Burma was still Burma. Nothing had changed.
Two weeks passed his wounds did not recovered completely but he thought he had to go to his fellow soldiers to inform his leader of the fact.  He determined to walk to the town for himself where the war prisoners’ camp was located. He thought that he could not go safely to the town if he wore a Japanese military uniform. He had to change his clothes.
One day when the priest took a bath in the river, he secretly stole his clothes and put it on.  He walked away from the place. He tried to pretend to be a Buddhist priest.  And he began to walk in the direction of the south, in which he thought the camp located. He expected villagers to give him food as an offer, thinking him a Burmese priest.
In fact, one morning he found a group of priests were walking receiving offers from people and he joined in the group. Nobody had a doubt about him. By this way he received his daily food. And sometimes he slept under a tree and sometimes he was invited into a Buddhist temple to take food and rest.
One day he happened to find dead bodies of several Japanese soldiers and he buried them. The next day he found other dead bodies and he also buried them. The day after the next, he found a number of dead Japanese soldiers near a river. He could not stand the situation any more and he ran away from the place. He came into the woods and found other dead bodies there. He also ran away from there. He came to a wide field, and found a great number of dead corpses scattered all over the wide area. He could not stand watching the decayed corpses any more. It was beyond his ability. He ran from those corpses as if he had not seen them. It was a sad and miserable journey to him.
After he had confronted a lot of miseries, he could reach a town where the war prisoners’ camp was located. On the morning, he happened to come to a grave yard where a funeral was being performed by the British Catholic priest, soldiers and nurses. They buried the corpse and sang funeral songs. He looked at it from among Burmese people. One of the Burmese said to him that they were making a funeral ceremony for a dead Japanese soldier in the camp.
After the ceremony, he came into the grave yard and looked at the tomb stone. It said “Brave Japanese soldiers sleep here.”  He got a big shock because the British people buried Japanese soldiers as if they were their friends, even though they had been their enemy a few months before. On the other hand, a number of Japanese soldiers were still abandoned on the fields or on the mountains. He found them but he did nothing for them even though they were people of the same country as his.
He went to a Buddhist temple and was in deep thought for a long time. After a long consideration, he made up his mind not to come back to Japan and to stay in Burma to be a real Buddhist priest. And he thought he would spend the rest of his life in Burma to bury Japanese soldiers’ corpses and to pray for eternal rest for them. He would do it until the last one was found and buried by his hands.
He left the town on the day. He wanted to leave there without being noticed by anybody he knew.  He came to a newly repaired wood bridge. When he was passing on it, he found his past friends who had been engaged in the construction work there. He was afraid that they would recognize him and call him. He passed on the bridge pretending to be a Burmese priest. But, some of his friend soldiers noticed him. They thought that the priest looked like Mizushima but there was no proof. One of them suddenly called him “Mizushima” in Japanese to confirm it. But the priest showed no response to his calling. It seemed that he did not understand Japanese.
Then, they said to each other that he was someone else and that he was a real Burmese. They looked at the priest’s back who was walking away. None of them thought that he was the real Mizushima. With great efforts he suppressed his emotion to shout out “I am Mizushima that you are searching for.”
He walked directly in the north. Tears were running down on his face. He went back to the places where Japanese soldiers’ corpses were found. He buried one after another for himself. In the beginning Burmese looked at him but they did not help him. As time went on, Burmese began to help him.
One day when he dug the ground beside a river, he found a red ruby in the ground. A Burmese said to him that the ruby was a crystallized soul of the dead man.  He put it into a square wood box and wrapped it with a white cloth.
The next day, a big Burmese funeral ceremony was made. Many Buddhist priests walked in a line towards a big Buddha statue and he joined in the party, carrying the wood box covered with a white cloth. He hanged it from his neck which was a traditional Japanese custom.  He carried it in a Japanese manner. 
His friends soldiers happened to work near the place, so they looked at him. Their leader also looked at him. The priest looked very like their friend, Mizushima, and the carrying manner was just the way only Japanese did.  So, they thought Mizushima pretended to be a priest because of some reasons. But they did not understand why he did not come to their place even though he also noticed them.
There was no proof that the priest should be Mizushima whom they had been searched.  If the priest were a Burmese, his conduct was hard to understand. They wanted to know whom he was and where the real Mizushim was living. Or had he been already dead?
One day the Japanese leader got a permission to enter the Buddha statue. And when he entered it, he found the box which the mysterious priest had placed.  He carefully opened the box and found the ruby inside. He also had heard from a Burmese that they thought a ruby was a symbol of the dead man’s soul. Soon he understood that the mysterious priest had been Mizushima himself and that he had placed the box there.
He said to the box with tears as if he were talking to Mizushima, “ What happened to you, Mizushima?  I cannot imagine what experiences you had or what hardships you had. But I have just understood your determination. You made such a serious determination that you would never return to Japan with us.” The leader had understood Mizushima’s intention that he would never return to Japan until the last corpse was buried and prayed for his eternal rest. Then he wrapped the box with the white cloth again and made a salutation towards the box with tears on his face. And he got out of the statue and left the place.
On the other hand Mizushima continued his trip to bury Japanese soldiers’ corpses.
One year and a half passed.  One day, the commander of the camp told all leaders of Japanese soldiers that a half month later they should be delivered and be able to come to Japan. All soldiers got a great joy. One soldier said to the leader that they should find Mizushima by all means to take him back to Japan together. But the leader said to him that he thought that Mizushima would never come back to them The man asked him why he thought so. He had no answer except saying that he thought so.
In the morning of the day before their liberation, the mysterious priest appeared just outside the fence of the camp. One soldier found him and he called other friends. They got together near the fence. They looked at the priest and the priest looked at them.
One of them said that he was not Mizushima because he did not look like the Japanese. But many of them still did not want to give up their hope that Mizushima should come back to Japan together with them. One of them said, ”Let us sing as before. If he were Mizushima, he would play his harp since he had it with himself now.”  Everybody agreed and began to sing songs in a loud voice. In the beginning the priest seemed to have no concern about their songs but as time passed, he began to play his harp in harmony with their songs. They burst into laughing and were full of joy. It was because the priest was proved to be the man they had been searching for.  They called him to come in and join them.
But the priest showed no response. He did not move from there. Instead he began to play another song, “Auld Lang Syne.”  When he finished his play, he deeply bowed to them and walked away without saying any words. Other soldiers inside the fence could not move and saw him away also with no words. The priest disappeared in the morning mist.
S.Y., Japan

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zen

ZEN

"Zen" focuses on the life of Dogen, the 13th-century monk who founded one of the main Zen sects, Soto-shu.

The title of the movie is “ZEN”. It is a story about a man, a Buddhist monk named Dogen. He lived about 800 years ago. He was born in a Samurai family serving a local feudal lord. When he was a boy, his mother died from illness. Just before his mother died, she said to the boy, “There are so many miseries in this world. Illness, poverty, famine, flood, etc. Is there a way by which we, all people, should be saved from these misery in our life? I want you to be a Buddhist monk who should give a way of salvation to all people.” Bearing his mother’s words, he entered a Buddhist temple and became a monk. When he was around 25 years old, he was dispatched to China and studied at a Buddhist academy there.
On his way to the academy, he met an old monk carrying a large baggage on his back. It looked very heavy. So, Dogen offered to carry part of his baggage on him. The old monk refused his proposal, saying that it was his duty. He told him that he was carrying food for the monks working at a Buddhist academy. It was most important job to carry food from a town and to make daily food for the monks. He said that he was doing his job which was as equally important as Zen meditation.

He studied Buddhism there for 10 years in the academy. There he showed a prominent presence. People admired him as a genus. The president of the academy told him that there was no more thing that he should teach him. He advised him to return to Japan.



So, he came back to Japan and started Zen Buddhist mediation in a small hut in a local village. Then, young people came to him one by one and they also started their mediation with him.
One day, a monk of another sect of Buddhism came and asked Dogen about what he had learned at the Buddhist academy in China. He answered that he had learned the fact that we should have two eyes and one nose in our face.
Another day, a woman, a prostitute, came to Dogen, asking him to save her baby. The baby was almost dead. Then, he told the woman to go to a village and to search for a family in which no one had died. If she found such a family, ask them to give her a piece of bean, and take the bean back to him. He should make a medicine for the baby from the bean. The woman was glad and ran to a village.
In the evening she came back to Dogen. She was very, very angry. She was shouting that Dogen was a liar. There had been no family who had not lost any of their family members.
Then he quietly told her that everyone in this world have experienced the same sadness. All that we could do was to admit this fact.
 
One day a messenger from the Shogun came to Dogen’s temple. He told Dogen that the Shogun was very eager to listen to your teaching of Buddhism. So, he went to Kamakura city with the messenger and met the Shogun at his palace.
After Dogen had told his teaching, the Shogun said to Dogen: “ What was the essence of your teaching.”  He answered, “Flowers boom in spring. It is hot in summer. Leaves fall in autumn. It is cold and snows in winter. This is all my teaching. My teaching is only a tip of advice. It is important for you to discover you in yourself, in other word, to meet Buddha in yourself.”
In the beginning the Shogun did not understand what Dogen had meant. But soon something hit his mind. The Shogun gave Dogen his offer that he wanted to make a large Buddhist temple and Buddhist school at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Dogen should be the top of the temple and the president of the school.
When Dogen heard his offer, he politely turn it down, saying that he had already had a small temple in the north of Japan. There were many monks continuingly making meditation every day. “That was my temple, my school and my paradise.”
 
He came back to his temple and continued his Zen meditation at the foot of a mountain in the north of Japan. He died in 1253.
- - - - -

 
In a picture, a nun is teaching Zen meditation to children in a hut on a rainy day. She said that Buddha stay between your palms.

A girl makes a wrong form of her hands. So, the nun tried to teach her a correct form of hands. The girl said, “Today it is raining. So, I do this.”


In a picture, you see a stepped form of rice field, or rice paddy on a mountain slope. Farmers are placing rice plants on the paddies.


In another picture, you see many reflections of the moon on the rice paddies at night. It’s beautiful.


Zen
 

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Kuni tori Monogatari  -  A story on the way to the King

The above is the title of a movie, pictures of which are shown below.

The film is based on the award-winning book (1965) by Shiba Ryotaro, the drama is set in Japan several centuries back. It depicts the struggles of three historical warriors, Dosan Saito, Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi.

It is a real story on three Samurais who wanted and made desperate efforts to realize their dreams. The event actually occurred about 700 years ago. At that time, Japan consisted of about 100 districts ruled by feudal lords. The king had lost power to rule all areas of Japan. Many of feudal lords wanted to be the next king, the top of all feudal lords and Samurais.

This is the story on three Samurais.
One was Dosan Saito, an old man who ruled Mino district, and another was Nobunaga Oda, a young man who was a son of a feudal lord who ruled an area close to Dosan’s district. The last was a young man named Mitsuhide Akechi. His pictures are not attached.

Mitsuhide Akechi was later married and had a daughter. His daughter became a woman called “Madame Gratia”.

Setting Madame Gratia’s story aside, Dosam, the middle aged man, had his daughter married to Nobunaga, a son of his neighboring feudal lords.

Before his daughter left his country, Dosan told her the followings. He told her, “I wanted to be the king and made all efforts to make it come true. But it took too long years. I have got old and do not have enough time to realize my dream. I’ve found that Nobunaga is a man who is able to realize my dream. So, I asked his father to admit you as his son’s wife. He was so glad to hear his proposal. I give you a knife. If Nobunaga turns out to be unable to realize my dream, do not hesitate to kill him with this knife.”

When his daughter heard this, she answered, saying, “If it would turn out in an opposite way, that is, if he wanted to conquer your country in order to realize his dream to be the king, what would you do?”
Dosan answered laughing, “It is OK. Nobunaga or Me. Whichever might be suitable to the king, would win and realize his dream. If a war occurred between your father and your husband, which side would you support?”
His daughter answered, “Once I was married to Nobunaga, I would be on his side, that is, on your enemy’s side.”
On hearing this, Dosan was satisfied and said, “You’ve said it. You are right, my daughter.

In fact, he had raised his former master’s son. He made rebellion and killed his two sons by a scheme. He caused a war to Dosan, who died on the battle field. Later, Nobunaga, his daughter’s husband, defeat the rebellion army and made revenge on him.

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