Stopes, Marie C.

About the electronic version
Stopes, Marie C.
Creation of machine-readable version: Winnie Chan
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University of Virginia Library.
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   Japanese Text Initiative

Note: The print source contains two sets of notes, both written by Marie C. Stopes. Endnotes were numbered consecutively. Footnotes in print source are unnumbered and marked only with an asterisk; the electronic text has been modified so that all footnotes have been moved to a section marked "Footnotes" at the end of the document. The creator of the electronic text has added explantory notes to references made by the author in the print source.
About the print version
Plays of Old Japan: the No
Marie C. Stopes

   Second Edition, facsimile of the 1913 first edition

The Eclipse Press

   Prepared for the University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center.

Published: 1927

Revisions to the electronic version
September 1997 corrector Catherine Tousignant, Electronic Text Center
  • Added milestones to correspond with WalKage.

  • November 1996 corrector Winnie Chan
  • Added TEI header and tags

  • etextcenter@virginia.edu. Commercial use prohibited; all usage governed by our Conditions of Use: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/conditions.html
    Final checking: David Seaman

    Page 53


    Authorship of the Play

        This Play was probably written about 1410; at any rate in the first quarter of the fifteenth century. Its author was Motokiyo, who was born in 1374 and who died in 1455. He was the eldest son of the famous Kiyotsugu (see p. 7).

    Outline of the Story

        The time of the action of the play is about the year 1190, and Kagekiyo, the hero of the story, is a very renowned warrior of the Taira clan. The Taira and the Minamoto (Gen) clans were rivals and were perpetually at war; during the years 1156-1185 more particularly this struggle culminated, when Japan had her "Wars of the Roses."

        Kagekiyo, known as the Boisterous, owing to his uneven temper and ready appeals to arms, was a famous warrior of the Taira clan, and when the Minamoto Shogunate was established at Kamakura, Kagekiyo was exiled to a distant place in Hiuga, where he became blind and passed a miserable existence as a beggar. He had a daughter called Hitomaru, whom he left in Kamakura in the charge of a lady. At the time of the play, Hitomaru has just grown up to be a young lady, but she had a great desire to meet her father, and so set out with a servant to seek him. She has a long and arduous journey to the place of her father's exile, and after

    Page 54

    enduring considerable hardships she at last finds Kagekiyo's retreat. She and her servant encounter a villager who assists them in the final search for Kagekiyo, and they make inquiries of a blind beggar dwelling in a miserable straw hut. This beggar is actually Kagekiyo, but at first he refuses to answer them or to acknowledge it, out of shame and consideration for his daughter. Ultimately, however, he recounts to her some of his adventures, and then he commands her to leave him and they part for ever.

    Comments on the Play

        In this play there is perhaps less description of the beauties of Nature than in many of the No, but the opening lines are particularly fraught with the meaning which permeates the whole play.

    The dew remains until the wind doth blow.

        The comparison of human life to a drop of dew is one frequently made in the literature of the No. Throughout this play there are many phrases showing how deeply the characters feel the transitoriness of human life. After Hitomaru's longing for a place to rest a little while, Kagekiyo exclaims --

    Nay, in the three worlds there is not a place.

        Kagekiyo's behaviour to his child, and his reception of her after her long search for him, appears to us to be most cruel; but it is, nevertheless, based on the conceptions of the chivalry of his time. Kagekiyo's leading thought was the really unselfish desire to keep the

    Page 55

    shame of his condition from touching his daughter. His first wish is that she shall not even recognise or speak with him; but when this is frustrated, he commands both the servant and the villager to send her back immediately their short meeting is over. And yet he does not seek even a moment's embrace, nor does he use an endearing phrase to his daughter. The play is a good illustration of the way that the old codes of Japanese chivalry imposed courses of action which seem now in this softer age well-nigh inhuman in their repression and conquest of the natural feelings.

    Page 56

    Kagekiyo *

    Dramatis Personæ

    Kagekiyo (Shite):
    Hitomaru, Kagekiyo's daughter (Tsure):
    Servant to Hitomaru
    Villager (Waki):



    A mountain side at Miyasaki in the province of Hiuga. Time about 1190.

    Hitomaru and Servant

    The dew remains until the wind doth blow,
    The dew remains until the wind doth blow.
    My own life fleeting as a drop of dew,
    What will become of me as time does pass?


    My name is Hitomaru, and I am
    A maiden, who in Kamakura
    20 dwells.
    My father's name is Kagekiyo, called
    By some the Boisterous, and he is a friend
    Of the Hei 21 clan, the Taira family
    And so is by the Gen 21 house hated much.
    To Miyasaki exiled, in Hiuga
    He deigns, in shame, long months and years to pass.
    To travel unaccustomed, I am tired,
    And yet inevitable weariness

    Page 57

    I mitigate by thinking of my quest,
    And I am strengthened for my father's sake.

    Hitomaru and Servant

    The tears of anxious sleep run down my cheek
    And to the dew upon the pillowing grass
    Add drops that drench my sleeves.

    From Sagami the province we set out,
    From Sagami the province we set out,
    Asking from those we met, the road to take
    Toward our destination. And we passed
    The province Totomi,
    22 and crossed by boat
    The distant bay. And Mikana we passed,
    By Mikana, spanned o'er with bridges eight.
    Oh, would that we could grow accustomed soon
    To our short nights of sleep that we might dream
    Of the high capital above the clouds,
    Of the high capital above the clouds.


    Endeavoured as you honourably have
    To hasten on the way, already now
    This is Miyasaki, as it is called,
    To Hiuga you have honourably come.
    This is the place to honourably ask
    Your honourable father's whereabouts.

    [ Evident to the audience, but supposed to be hidden from the other actors. ]

    The pine trees that have seen long months and years
    Entwine themselves to form the arching bowers.

    Page 58

    Yet I, debarred from the clear light of day
    Discern no sign that time is passing by.
    Here idly in a dark and lowly hut
    I sleep the time away. The seasons change
    But not for heat nor cold my clothes are planned
    And to a skeleton my frame has waned.


    If one has got to leave the world, then black,
    Black should his sleeves be dyed. Then surely black
    His sleeves should all be dyed. and yet my sleeves --
    Oh, more inglorious! So utterly
    Worn out and waned my stare that I myself
    Feel much averse unto my wretched self.
    So who could be benevolent enough
    To visit such a state of misery?
    No one inquiring of my misery
    Will ever come.
    No one inquiring of my misery
    Will ever come.


    Incredible that one should dwell within
    That wretched hut, it does not seem to be
    Fit for a habitation. Strangely though
    I heard a voice proceeding from its wall.
    A beggar's dwelling it must be. I fear,
    And from the lowly dwelling keep away.


    That autumn now has come I cannot see,
    And yet I feel it for the wind has brought
    Tidings from somewhere, tho' I know not whence.

    Page 59


    Ah, knowing not my father's whereabouts
    In misery I wander, with no place
    Where I can rest even a little while.


    Nay, in the three worlds there is not a place,
    'Tis only in the heavenly expanse.
    Choose any man and ask him, he will say
    "Where else!" And what else could he ever say?


    How now, you in the thatched hut, I would ask
    A question of you.


    Well; what is it then?


    Knowest thou where dwells an exiled man?


    An exile though he be, what is his name?


    The Boist'rous Kagekiyo is he called,
    And of the Taira house, a warrior.


    Yes, yes, I think that I have heard of him,
    Though being blind the man I've never seen.
    Miserable, his honourable state!
    To hear of which stirs pity in my breast.
    Pray then inquire elsewhere the full account.

    Page 60


    Then hereabouts he does not seem to be.

    [ To his mistress ]

    But further on we should inquire again
    If you will honourably now proceed.


    She who has just been here -- Why! is she not
    The very child of this selfsame blind man?
    Once, very long ago, at Atsuta
    I met a woman, and this child I got.
    It was a girl,
    24 and so I trusted her
    To Kamegaegatsu's châtelaine.
    Now grieving parent meets with child estranged;
    She, speaking to her father, knows it not.


    Her form unseen, although I hear her voice,
    How sad my blindness is! Without a word
    I let her pass. And yet such action is
    Due truly to the bond of parent's love,
    Due truly to the bond of parent's love.


    How now, you there! Art thou a villager?


    And to the Villager what hast thou then
    Of honourable business?


    Dost thou know
    Where lives an exiled man?

    Page 61


    What sort of man --
    An exile though he be -- of whom you ask?


    A warrior of the Hei house, and called
    Kagekiyo the Boist'rous, him I seek.


    Just now as thou hast come along this way
    Upon the hill-side, was there not a hut,
    A hut with thatch, and somebody within?


    Yes, a blind beggar sat within the hut.


    Aye. That blind beggar is the man you seek,
    The very Kagekiyo whom you seek!
    How strange! When I said Kagekiyo's name
    That honourable lady there did deign
    To show a look of sadness. Why was that?


    Thy wonder is most reasonable. Naught
    Shall I conceal from thee. Kagekiyo's
    Most honourable daughter is the maid
    Who hopes once more her honoured sire to meet.
    That being so, and as from far away
    She has come hither, I pray thee devise
    Some proper way of speaking face to face
    With Kagekiyo.

    Page 62


    Oh, unutterable!
    Is she his honourable daughter then?
    Well, calm your heart, and pray you deign to hear.
    The sight of both eyes Kagekiyo lost;
    So helpless, he cut short his hair and called
    Himself Kotau of Hiuga and he begs
    For his poor living from the travellers,
    And with the pity of such lowly folk
    As we ourselves, he just sustains his life.
    And that he doth not tell his name must be
    Shame for the contrast with the olden days.
    At once I shall go with you and call out
    "Kagekiyo" -- and if it is his name
    Then will he answer and you can observe
    Him face to face, and of the distant past
    And of the present you shall tell him all.
    Pray come this way.
    Holloa! in the thatched hut
    Is Kagekiyo there within? Is there
    The boisterous Kagekiyo?


    Worrying, even if my state were well.
    And even though these people came from home,
    Shame for this very self compels me now
    Without my name to let them go -- and yet --
    And yet it rends my heart and, the sad tears
    As of a thousand streams run down my sleeves.
    I waken with the thought that earthly things
    Are naught, and but as visions in a dream.

    Page 63

    I am resolved in this world now to be
    As one who is not, and if they will call
    This beggar Kagekiyo, why reply?
    Moreover in this province I've a name --


    That name in Hiuga facing to the sun,
    In Hiuga, facing to the sun is not
    The name they call, but they return to one
    Of the old days, discarded long ago,
    Which with my helplessly dropped bow I dropped.
    Wild thoughts again I never will excite
    And yet I'm angry.


    Though while here I live
    In this place.


    While I live
    In this place; if I stir the hate of those
    With means, how helpless would I be! and like
    A blind man who had lost his walking-stick.
    A crippled man am I, and yet I dared
    Unreasonable words to use in wrath.
    Forgive I pray!


    Blind are my eyes and yet --


    Blind are my eyes and yet I surely know
    Another's thought hid in a single word.
    And if upon the mountains blows the wind

    Page 64

    Against the pine trees, I can tell its source,
    Whether it comes from snow or unseen flowers, --
    Flowers only seen in dreams from which to wake
    Is to regret! Again if in the bay
    Upon the rough sea beaches dashing waves
    Are heard, then I well know the evening tide
    Is rising. Aye, to the great Taira clan
    I do belong, and so to pleasure them
    I'd give recitals of those olden days


    How now, I wish to say a word to thee,
    For it has troubled me that I just now
    Used such quick-tempered words. For what I said
    I pray thee pardon me.


    Well, that is naught.
    So never mind it. And, has no one come,
    To make inquiries here before I came?


    No, no. Except thy calling, none has been.


    Ho! 'Tis a lie thou sayest. Certainly
    Did Kagekiyo's noble daughter come.
    Wherefore dost thou conceal? It is because
    I feel her story is so pitiful
    That I've come here with her.

    [ To Hitomaru ]

    So now at once

    Page 65

    Meet with your father, see him face to face

    [ Kagekiyo keeps silence ]


    Pray, it is I, I who have come to you.
    Cruel! The rain, the wind, the dew and frost
    I minded not along that distant road,
    While coming to you! And all this, alas,
    Becomes as nothing! Does a Father's love
    Depend upon the nature of the child? [26]

    Ah, heartless!


    Up till now I hoped to hide,
    But now I am found out I am ashamed.
    To hide my fleeting
    * self there is no place.

    [ To Hitomaru ]

    If, in thy flowering form thou shouldst proclaim
    That we are child and parent, then thy name
    Thou wouldst announce, 27 and when I think on this
    I am resolved we part. Pray do not feel
    Thy father harsh and this mere heartlessness!


    Ah, truly is it sad! In olden times
    I welcomed even strangers when they called,
    And was displeased if they should pass me by.
    And now its recompense! How sad it is!
    To think that I had hoped that my own child
    Should not have called on me. Alas, how sad!
    When in their warships were the Taira clan,

    Page 66

    When in their warships were the Taira clan,
    So many were there that their shoulders touched
    And in the crowded space the knees were crossed.
    There scarce was room to live
    28 beneath the moon --
    And Kagekiyo more than any else
    Was on the flagship indispensable.
    His fellow officers and all the rest
    Though rich in valour and in tactic powers
    He did o'ertop. And as the ship is steered
    By him who holds the rudder, so did he
    Lead in the army and no difference
    Ever occurred between him and his men.
    All envied him, but now he is most like
    A Unicorn, infirm with hoary age
    And rather worse than a mere useless horse. 29


    How now, Kagekiyo, I'd speak with thee!
    Thy daughter's wish is there, and she would hear
    Of thy heroic deeds at Yashima
    So tell her the brave story. Let her hear.


    'Tis somewhat unbecoming, her request!
    Yet as she came from far and for my sake,
    I'll tell the story, but when it is done
    Pray send her home again immediately.


    That shall be done. Thy story finished, I
    Will send her back at once.

    Page 67


    Well then. The time
    Was drawing toward the end of the third month
    Of the third year of Ju-ei
    30 and our clan
    Were in their warships while upon the land
    The hordes of Minamoto gathered near.
    Two armies were opposed upon the coast
    And each one wished a contest to decide.
    Then Noritsune, Lord of Noto, spoke
    To all his people -- "In our last year's fights
    From Muroyama down in Harima
    To Mizushima, Hiyodorigoe
    And all, we never had one victory.
    To Yoshitsune's 31 tactics this was due.
    "By some means or another we must slay
    This Kuro, and suggestions we desire
    Of some good plan;" he deigned to say to them.
    Then Kagekiyo in his mind resolved
    That Hangwan was no devil nor a god,
    So if I throw away my life for his,
    I thought, it will be easy, so that this
    To Noritsune was my last farewell.
    And as I landed the Gen warriors
    Did dash towards me to destroy my life.


    This Kagekiyo saw,
    This Kagekiyo saw, and crying out
    "How clamorous!" He struck out with his sword
    That in the evening sun flashed brilliantly.
    Th' opposing warriors at once gave way,
    And he pursued, that they should not escape.

    Page 68


    This is deplorable for every one --


    This is deplorable for every one!
    'Tis mutual shame alike for the Gen clan
    And for the Hei clan to look upon
    So shouted I -- thinking to stop one man
    Is easy, and so underneath my arm
    Carrying my sword -- "A warrior am I
    Of the great Hei clan, Kagekiyo
    Some call the Boisterous," and thus crying out
    To seize them I pursued them. Then I caught
    On Mihonoya's helmet, but it slipped.
    Again I caught, but once again it slipped
    And thus three times did he escape, though I
    Determined that he should not flee, for he,
    He was the foe that I had chosen.
    Eiya! As with the whole strength of my arms
    I pulled, and as I hauled the cape broke off,
    And part stayed in my hand,
    32 but he escaped.
    When at some distance from me, he turned back
    And said, "Now thou art mighty strong of arm
    Although thou didst allow me to escape."
    Then Kagekiyo answered back, "The strength
    Lies in the neck bone of Mihonoya."
    So smiling, did we part to left and right. 33

    He who has told the tale of olden days --
    Days ne'er forgotten -- is now sadly waned
    And e'en confused in mind. Ah, what a shame!
    The end of all this woe of life is near,

    Page 69

    For in this world at most my time is short.
    At once return,
    * and when I am no more
    I pray thee deign to offer prayers for me.
    That in dark places there shall be a light
    For this blind man, and over evil roads
    A bridge. So will I look upon thy prayers.
    "I stay," said he, and she "I go,"
    His ears retained but her one word "I go."
    And thus between the parent and the child
    This was the legacy at last exchanged --
    Between the parent and the child exchanged.

    (denoted by asterisks [*])

    I have put this all in one metre, making no difference between the "words" and "song". (See p. 33.)

    [To hide my fleeting* self. . .]
    The words used give a suggestion of dew-like.

    [At once return*]
    The Chorus here speaks for Kagekiyo to Hitomaru.


    Page 53, note 19. [Kagekiyo]
    Kagekiyo's full name is Aku-Shichibioe Kagekiyo. Aku -- literally means "wicked"; but sometimes has a special meaning of "wild" or "boisterous," as in the present case, where it intimates that the man is rough in manners and strong in arms.

    Page 56, note 20. [Kamakura]
    In the original it reads, "Kamegaegayatsu in Kamakura"; but as this will not fit into any possible metre the first word is left out.

    Page 56, note 21. [Hei]
    Taira becomes Hei when compounded with a following character; thus Taira House is Hei-Ke. Similarly "Minamoto" becomes Gen, thus Gen-ji is the Minamoto family.

    Page 57, note 22. [Totomi]
    Totomi, the name of one of the provinces through which they came, means "distant bay." Also to or tou with a different ideagraph means "to ask." Mikana, the name of another province through which they passed, means "three rivers," which leads to the idea of bridges. But more than that, Mikana is noted for its eight bridges, spanning over the streams which branch off like the legs of a spider, which is kumo in Japanese; and this idea leads on to that of "clouds," which are pronounced kumo, though written with a different ideagraph. The idea of "clouds" leads on, finally, to that of the "capital," where only those of high rank "above the clouds" are dwelling.

    Page 59, note 23. ['Tis only in the heavenly expanse.]
    Kagekiyo takes up Hitomaru's words, originally used in a simple, physical sense, and applies them to the spiritual world. It is, nevertheless, not supposed to be a dialogue; each is soliloquising.

    Page 60, note 24. [It was a girl. . .]
    And therefore could play no part in his warlike schemes.

    Page 63, note 25. [That name in Hiuga facing to the sun]
    The Chinese character for the name of the province means "facing the sun."

    Page 65, note 26. [Does a father's love / Depend upon the nature of the child?]
    Meaning that if she had been a boy he would have welcomed her; but now he takes no account of her hardships and difficulties in reaching him.

    Page 65, note 27. [Thou wouldst announce. . .]
    Proclaiming herself the child of an exile and beggar, to her social detriment.

    Page 66, note 28. [There was scarce room to live. . .]
    The word sumu, "to live," also signifies "clear," which is associated in poetry with the moon, which in its turn leads to the thought of shadow, Kage leading to Kagekiyo.

    Page 66, note 29. [. . . and rather worse than a useless horse.]
    A mythical animal, of which the nearest translation is perhaps the unicorn. There is a proverb which states that though it is the king of beasts, when old it is worse than a useless horse.

    Page 67, note 30. [the third year of the Ju-ei]
    That is in the year 1185.

    Page 67, note 31. [Yoshitsune]
    Yoshitsune's complete name was Kuro Hangwan Yoshitsune. One of these, or all three names may be applied to him. As the three names make an impossible encumbrance for a line I only give him one, even where the Japanese original calls him by his full name.

    Page 68, note 32. [the cape broke off / And part stayed in my hand.]
    The jointed cape of his opponent's armour.

    Page 68, note 33. [Then Kagekiyo. . . left to right.]
    The Minamoto clan were victorious, and when in power they banished Kagekiyo as a specially dangerous enemy.