This is a part of the tentative translation of "Sagano Meigetsuki" written by Kunio Tsuji. There is no intention in me to violate the copyright law. So I can only open a part of the translation as a tentative one.
1 Voices of three men begin to mutter from within the darkness
The First Voice
My life is already long enough for me. My only hope now remained is to help you all, my children, along with my additional years ahead. Now there is not so much physical strength of mine as before. There is not sufficient mental stamina of mine for me to lead you and my group of workers. This business has been handled by me for twenty years. The pine tree and the plum tree, which were planted in front of the entrance of our villa on the day when the foundation of our residence was set in place, are now decorating our main pathway with the wonderful composition of their branches. In these twenty years not only my work has been continuing hard in our family business but also many kinds of private amusements could be enjoyed. And then hopefully, sufficient property can be left for you and your family to live at ease for long. There seems to be no additional contribution to the property which had been given to me from my father. But if abandoning our selfishness and if bearing in mind that the family business is the most important and that simple life and honest poverty are the most valuable, rich and relaxed lives can be obtained as long as needed. So what can be left additionally for you from me is not more than that you can be lead to obtain a guideline for your own thankfulness and deeds through my talk about various stories which were seen and heard by me, strange things, beloved people and the transcending world as they are and were around me. Fortunately there remains certain mental stamina for me to recall them. Susceptibly there remains enough time for me to write down them. If possible they should be written with my efforts for you as my small will, but as a clear mirror of the world without any forced lessons. Sooner or later sufficient time and strength to do that would come back to me. So now it should be content for me to call upon various past matters during sleepless hours in the darkness of the night. My past has been along with full of disturbances while many generals had come to the top and gone away. At a time the Capital became chaos of street fighting, another time of several years after it was changed into a pleasure and amusement city with peace. But around when people forgot the wartime, without exception mounted warriors emerged in some corners of the towns and uncanny lines of soldiers passed from one street to another like shadows. There were many people who were worth to be told about. Some died in their young. Some lived a hundred-year life. Some were suffered from the war. Some made fortunes during the years of confusion and raised themselves as entrepreneurs. And for me each of them was worth to be told about. So, my efforts should be to recall about them thoroughly and to visualize vividly every detail of what happened actually. It is not only for each of you to live a worthwhile life but also for me to experience once more my own life as my hope.
The Second Voice
What do you want from me? No, no. Don't have anything at all. What was given to me is nothing but to hold paintbrushes. All in all there are too many things for me to do. Had done not only that one but also this, then the waiting next. Even so, there remains more. What? Think about my age? Never thought about that. Will do anything on the way of my own. Whatever you say has nothing to do with me at all. Whatever you say makes me feel nothing at all. Yes, have too many things to do. Don't have enough time to do one by one. Can't get rid of thinking it frustrating for me to be surrounded deeply by the darkness of the night. Well my age makes my eyes weaker in the dusk. Can't have the right color under the candle light. So, feel as if, when the night comes, that dense and viscous darkness, like an incarnation of some physical creature, might pluck and take my paintbrush away from my hand. There are a bunch of bastards who will be surely pleased with looking at me crouching on the floor without blinking in the night darkness. Either the Kanou family or Iwasa the cheerless will undoubtedly make a rush to laugh at me. In fact, this age of mine has forced me suffered from more than enough agonized waiting hours till the dawn. Here must be a confession. The morning is a long time in coming for me. Even after the first voice of a cock, still the night continues as long as staring into the outside darkness through the window. Outside has nothing but darkness, blackness. Angry with which a mad cock of some poultry farmer cried the wrong time for the morning. You are going to laugh at me. You laugh at me, as you like. After all, you chicken can't understand such impatience. You don't have anything to do with such a thirst. Don't care what the Kanou family says. Neither Iwasa's apprentices nor imitators of Touhaku can harm me at all by yelling anything. You are cowards about what others said especially what Tosa criticized or what Unkoku spoke well of. Am totally different from you who paint pictures for reputation. Hate the night. Curse this darkness. That's it. Because this darkness deprives me of colors, only because of it, hear continuously my own muttering and grumbling. Else there is nothing for me to do. Don't have a taste for muttering to myself with introversion like those of you. Never wish to continue speaking with myself in order to tease and pander myself. That's it. In the darkness speak and speak instead to paint a picture. That is a voice of my rage, a cry of my impatience or a mutter for my passion. Ok. It's Ok. Stop it. Stop it. Have had enough of your flattering. Would rather be called idiot by crows of Mt. Takagamine than be soothed by you.
The Third Voice
Is it a sound of waves? No, it is not that. Is it a sound of winds that are passing through blown bamboo groves? Or the winds are crying as though its sound were from ocean waves. Blue waves of some southern country seas, which are washing the shore of Ruson or Macao, are crashing slowly along the beach and making sounds reach to the faraway. Well. That sound is continuously roaring while white crests are crashing, as the sound it invited my soul to the blue ocean of a southern country. This painful feeling risen in my heart means remorse, a longing toward a faraway country or a pity for my nearly closing life. If I had made up my mind, I could have tanned my skin in a sea breeze. I could have listened to the sound of winds made by sails all day long. Every time the Suminokura ship set sail from the Port of Sakai, Chief Waterman Yaheiji used to come and tell me, "Sir Yoichi. You can go over to Ruson only while your father is alive. There you can't only meet with foreigners with red hair and blue eyes from Portugal and Spain but also see curious customs and cultures of Tangs, Tonkins, Annans, Kantons, Siams and others. Moreover you will be surprised at the abundance of valuable goods filled in port warehouses of Ruson, Tensen and Annan or Vietnam like raxa or woolen cloth, deerskin, ukon or saffron, ivory, white thread, water buffaloes horn, beeswax, musk cat, coral and others. Then you will find it absurd that we are fighting with each other among the Toyotomi-dono, the Tokugawa-dono and the So-and-so-dono in such a small country like ours. Sir Yoichi, why don't you go out with me even only once?" Whenever Yaheiji came around, he urged me to do so. Whenever I heard his words, I answered, with the excuse of my present assignment, "Sometime in the future when I finish all my work, I will go out with you." But only once I consulted with my father about my possible trip to Annan. I wanted to see things of Annan, and additionally on my way back, I felt inclined to visit Kanton or Koushu, to get the knowledge about lives and customs of the Great Ming and read books extensively over the literature concerning poetry of the Ming dynasty which would be added to the Book of Achievement of Virtue or Tatutokuroku. At that time, my father told me not to go to Annan. I couldn't know the reason why. My father's tone was so determined that I couldn't explain my intention any farther. In reality, if I had got aboard to Annan, I couldn't have come back alive here, now so I imagine. That's it. In that year, the Suminokura ship left the port Nagasaki early February, arrived at Gai-an in mid-May and did over the trade. Then in mid June the ship started on its way home. At Tangai Strait, suddenly a strong rainstorm attacked the ship. According to the story by survivors of sailors, Yaheiji didn't leave the ship to the last. He tied up himself by the main mast of the Suminokura ship, beaten by sea spray and rain, he cried out for crew members to get out with a piece of any ship timber. "I have been sharing my fate with the ship. Now that things have come to this way, I can't leave this ship in the lurch." So he shouted. At last Yaheiji and twelve crew members died. Instead it might have been thanks to Yaheiji's command in the face of death that other one hundred and ten or more people on board were rescued by Annan State officials and anyway barely escaped with their lives. If I were there on board, surely I would have gone with Yaheiji till the end. My father might have anticipated that with his keen sense. He ordinarily wanted to carry out his plan using his own initiative and to offer himself. For the excavation work of the Tenryuu River as an example, he carried sandbags as one of the members of workers. Those sandbags were expected to fight with strong overflowing water. Then he was soaked like a fish by the rushing water over the embankment. My father examined eagerly thick bundles of journals that were sent from Kyoto under the weak candlelight page by page. I think I must admit that my father's attitude had been a heavy load in my mind since my childhood. Especially after the time when I was devoted in collecting books and stories on religion or history and reading them alone in my room, and when I became strongly attached to those books and works of calligraphy, I found myself guilty against my grandfather and my father who were building dams or raising a sail for catching a following wind without such a calm and quiet transition of time like mine. When, with eyes tired from reading a book which was one of the Confucius Catechisms with a deep blue cover and clearly printed in wooden type, I looked at the shadow of branches of Ume apricot with red blossoms on the shining paper screen shoji of my room, I felt strangely restless. Then I tried to wipe out the image of groups of workers piling sandbags or ships going out to the open sea in full sail. I tried to think that that vast volume of journals piled up for each warehouse would have had nothing to do with me. My mission should be nothing but to live in the world of old books that were concise and pure or graceful and elegant song scrolls, which should be my genuine way of life. So I tried to think. But whenever I tried so, I found out my own dark uneasiness lying fixedly in a coil like a snake with beaming golden eyes deeply in bottom of my mind. Once I became to feel this kind of uneasiness or guiltiness, I couldn't sit in calm in front of my desk looking the moving shadows of Ume apricot on the paper screen, shoji. However I didn't rush out to the Ooigawa River, the lower reaches of the Hozu River, excavation site, or I didn't start to make a new cargo-vessel plan. Instead I merely strolled around long time in bamboo groves which spread boundlessly in deep Sagano. Admittedly in my later years I could manage to do some decent projects about which I could talk proudly to my father. I did cargo-vessel trades. I developed some mines. But at last I have withdrawn into my study room. It may be nothing more saying that the reason was this peculiar disease of mine. More than that, I had a strong intention to do what I want to do as much as possible before die. It was, I think, an inevitable decision of mine moved by the keen aspiration toward my present only-one-time life in this world. There was neither any untruth nor vanity at all. None the less with my halfhearted attitude throughout my life and with my final withdrawal, I can't help having a sense of guilty of mine against something more important. Something more profound, something fundamental which I can't understand even now. In particular, as this moment when winds, blowing noisily, invite me to the blue and far southern ocean, the sound of regret passes through my mind with a sheer pain, which, I don't know why, I can't get rid of. On earth, I suspect my life has been an act of betrayal against what I am supposed to be. I suspect that, turning my blind eye, I have been escaping from the obligation, which must be given to me, into my spineless tastes and interests. I doubt that I have done it my way, as it should have been done. I doubt that I have lived a strict and conformable life of my own. Winds are still roaring. It is long before dawn. I am sure that I couldn't see the light of the sun even at daybreak. What darkness! In this darkness, my life would burn itself out like a flame of a candle. I will have to endure the grand deep darkness that will come after that. Until that moment when the darkness of death wraps me around, I must examine it over again if I have lived a life which deserves to be my own, which should be the last task of this blind man for waiting for the morning.to be continued!
3 About Kouetsu's wife, and things on Soutatsu's design
The first voice
By reflecting my long life now, in those several years of my return to Kyoto to the Battle of Sekigahara, it seemed that calm and quiet days unusually continued although there were bustles of the world and changes of powers which were passing through my surroundings. It was of course because my wife supported me both publicly and privately by doing the social and family small jobs. And my father was alive, so there was no need for me to manage the family business and affairs all by myself. Additionally there was a strong feeling in me to withdraw into myself waiting eagerly to be mature. Another reason might be that if possible, my time would have been spent for shutting myself up in Seiryouin Annex outside Kyoto and devoting myself to calligraphy. There was rarely occasion for me to go out among the people or to make contact with others, except meeting with Chaya Matashirou, Kariganeya Souhaku and Suminokura Soan who usually gathered in the tea party held by Lord Furuta Oribe, visiting Higashiyama Mountains and villas in Suma or Sagano sometimes of each season to admire the beauties of nature, flowers, birds, winds and moon, being invited to the residents of Lord Tou Chuunagon, Lord Konoe Nobutada or Lord Nakanoin Michimura to enjoy Nou playing or to appreciate famous works of calligraphy of Teika's square pieces of colored paper, or Shikishi, and those of ancient times. Only one exception for me might be to have become acquainted with Imaeda Naiki who came from Kaga. The time when Imaeda visited me carrying a letter of introduction written by Tomita Kagemasa was probably the end of the year 3rd of Keichou, 1598, because about that time, in Kyoto there spread a rumor saying that troops of Lord Shimazu and Lord Nabeshima had withdrawn from Korea. Imaeda's business was to bring back Waka Shikishi Chirashi Gaki, or square pieces of colored paper with calligraphy of Japanese poems in an irregular hand, which was ordered by Tomita Kagemasa. But the memory of deceased Shiba Sakon incessantly moved me and kept Imaeda staying for the talk the night away with Sake. Different from Sakon, Imaeda Naiki was tall and dark-complexioned man with hallow and round eyes which shone like those of a good natured person, with high cheekbones in his thin face, with the free and easy way of talking and with a rustic and friendly outward appearance. Sakon had undoubtedly cheerful lightness at the first sight, and his lively joke and sweet smile drew our attention. But Imaeda had the habit to blink his hollow and round eyes and to dent his thin cheeks, in which even our maids suppressed their laughter. Imaeda didn't seem to notice it by himself at all. He also had to change his master one after another like Sakon. It must be a lot later compered with Sakon when he became to work in Lord Maeda's employ. But when Imaeda talked about his own unlucky career, he had a tone of amazement about his bad luck of choosing the lords without any depression and with somehow subdued amusement. It was natural for me to be attracted to such a frank and honest character of Imaeda Naiki because a showy mood of Kyoto in those days didn't fit me and additionally because of my reminiscence toward Kaga. Moreover Tomita Kagemasa told me by letter that Imaeda played Nou well and that Imaeda himself was in charge of the annotation work of "One hundred books of Nou chants" which Lord Toyotomi Hidetsugu ordered Lord Yamashina Tokitsugu to do because Imaeda was working for Lord Hidetsugu at that time. Then an agreement was made between us to play Nou together every time when Imaeda Naiki came to Kyoto. After Lord Taikou passed away, the world rapidly became hectic and Lord Maeda Toshiie could rarely leave Osaka, then many times Imaeda Naiki went back and forth between Kaga and Osaka one thing or another. When Imaeda stopped off in Kyoto, he sang and played Nou with me all through the night. Playing Nou at that time seemed to be the only one means for me to vomit continuously my graceful feeling which was overflowing in my heart. Admittedly, there was an awareness in me of the way to express such a feeling in calligraphy at the dawn of one summer day in Kaga. And there were the same fulfillment and intoxication in my devotion into calligraphy in Seiryouin Annex. Nevertheless the feeling of going up a steep slope with panting heavily couldn't be thrown away anyhow. There remained something to be obtained for me in order to vomit myself as freely as possible. To chase it, it was indispensable for me to move my brush with my bloodshot eyes until my arms couldn't move any more with fatigue. My fight with calligraphy continued all day by changing paper, by inventing new ways of writing or by imitating the ancient way of writing. Of course, there was neither impatience nor worry in me. If something couldn't be done, yet it would be good as it was, which was my thought. Even though it was sensed by me that my sleeping eyes were gazing at something which should be got or reached without blinking. The reason why it became possible for me to express my grateful feeling thoroughly in playing Nou might have been on the other hand because there were such daily tensions. Anyway Imaeda played Nou with me. Getting tired of it, he talked with me about various versions and annotations of Nou chants. My room faced the inner garden beyond a pond from the main residence of Hon'ami family, so playing and singing Nou all through the night would have caused no trouble to others. But my wife sometimes seemed to look tired when playing Nou continued several nights because my wife was serving for all the family of Hon'ami in the daytime. Against my word, "Take a rest a little," my wife said shaking her head, "Please allow me to stay at your side if I don't disturb you." And she never went to bed before me. Mostly she stayed in the next room doing needlework or reading story books. After several pieces of Nou playing, she prepared tea or sometimes sake and food for us. It wasn't sure about which night, but Imaeda Naiki happened to see my wife closing her eyes still with her needlework in her hands in the next room and then he suggested me not to play Nou all through the night from that time. My wife had a strong character underneath in spite of her slim appearance. She was getting a lot of chores of Hon'ami family over with promptly and efficiently using kids and menservants. My wife was the second daughter of the head family of Hon'ami, so she was my cousin. But she was always attentive to others in the family as though she had married into an unknown family. When she was a child, she was remarkably distinctive. For example, it was often told by someone in the family of Hon'ami that she tried to sew the fabric of the doll late at night because she didn't want to lose to her elder sisters after she had got to be able to use needles. Of course, she wasn't gloomy. She worked well with others but talked very little. Consequently she looked very modest and thrifty when she was among flashy elder sisters and chatty younger sisters. After she married me, my wife naturally didn't change her attitude at all. In retrospect, there seemed to be some reason that my wife could talk most friendly each other with Imaeda Naiki among other people who visited me. Only when Imaeda came to my house, my wife remained in the room for a while to hear the happenings in Kaga and occurrences on the way silently. Once there was an unforgettable happening for me. Imaeda incidentally talked about a daughter of a tea stall in the castle town. He said, "The daughter soon began to laugh at me when she saw my face, and hid her face with her apron." My wife got interested in it and asked the reason why. "That's it. I also asked her father the same question, why that girl was convulsed with laughter." Then the father answered me without a crack of smile, and said, "I know. She fell in love with you. You are a real blockhead. You don't feel anything if a girl loves you or if a dog barks at you. Instead, only the things you do are to dent your cheeks and to round your mouth. That makes someone in front of you pitiful, doesn't it?" "Her father said so, as if I did something wrong. So later I asked the daughter if that was so. Are you in love with this blockhead? Is it really so? But she was still laughing hiding her face with her apron. And she shook her head right and left. She quivers her shoulders while laughing. And I added to her that your father had told me so. Then the daughter shook her head more strongly while standing there and still hiding her face. I was puzzled by that, so asked her not to hide your face and to answer me in the eye. Then I undid her hands which held her apron in front of her face. Finally I found out that she wasn't laughing but crying. . .." So Naiki said with an emotional voice. My wife looked at Naiki's dark, rustic and bony face with her eyes wide opened. "Well, I can't understand what women think and do. Laughing, no, next moment crying. Crying, no, next moment laughing. That's the way women do, isn't it?" Naiki said so to my wife half joking. As if my wife were occupied with something else, she got confused with Naiki's words and blushed a little. More than that, my wife's eyes of the next moment impressed me a lot. My wife took a quick look at me while turning down her face. My wife might have given me a casual glance, because she might have felt improper a little to be amused by such a talk in front of the guest. But later for me, it seemed to have implied a lot more than that. Of course, it is difficult even for me how to explain it. At least there seemed to have been surely a feeling of my wife in it, which she had rarely shown in our daily life. But when Imaeda Naiki came, my wife wasn't always so. Rather she was modest as usual. However, it is true that my wife opened up a little and showed her inner feeling only when she talked with Naiki. Unexpectedly Lord Maeda Toshiie got sick in bed in the residence of Osaka, Imaeda had to come and go frequently between Kaga and Osaka, and every time he stopped off at Kyoto and stayed there two or three days. In those occasions, Imaeda often told me the atmosphere inside Osaka Castle in detail after the death of Lord Taikou. According to his talk, the rumor was spreading around Osaka and Sakai saying that Lord Ishida Jibu, who had happened meet me once or twice at the tea party held by Lord Oribe, tried to assassinate Lord Ieyasu or was going to do so. Although Imaeda Naiki looked unfathomable at the first sight, he collected those rumors surely in detail and he added his own interpretations this and that. Besides his information, there were spreading various rumors among merchants. Among those rumors, there were some which were quite reliable. Based on them, some went to Mino, some made a contact with Settsu, some bought rice, some bought up lumbers and some reversely sold thread and cloth in stock at a loss. At the town corners of Kyoto, various rumors spread that Mr. So-and-so backed Lord Toyotomi's family up, that Mr. So-and-so supported the agreement of five Tairous, or chief ministers, or that even under the tense situation, both five Tairous and five Bugyous, or magistrates, had so selfish and varying opinions that a next battle would be unavoidable. According to Imaeda Naiki's talk and what Suminokura Yoichi, who just returned from Nagoya of Kyuushuu, told me, the rumor that Lord Ishida Jibu was afraid of the power of Lord Ieyasu in particular among Tairous and planned to kill him as soon as possible seemed to be a sure fact for me without doubt. Later at the tea party held by Lord Oribe with my presence, where senior subjects of Lord Ishida also came to, all the people, who gathered there, were talking with some indignation about Lord Ieyasu's despotism. In fact, after Lord Taikou's death Lord Ieyasu ordered all Daimyous, or feudal lords, to come up to Kyoto, to control castles and forts, to do the land survey and to levy labor and tax. So it became sure to me that in a certain circle Lord Ieyasu's attitude was thought to be a sign of treachery against Lord Toyotomi's family. But these things reminded me vividly of the same tea party held by Lord Oribe, where, ten and some years ago, Doki Minbu, Saitou Toshimitsu, Tsuda Soukyuu and a family of Tennoujiya gathered with secret tenacity. Even now the reason was a riddle why Lord Oribe liked such men like Minbu and Toshimitsu who were always holding dark passions toward the political consequence, though Lord Oribe was a man who grew dandelions in the tea garden with light flowering trees, and, while hearing tweets of turtledoves, loved tea using his favorite cup. What was found out by me was only the fact that Lord Oribe gathered nearly Ishida Jibu and Ootani Gyoubu who harboured vindictive feelings to murder Lord Ieyasu in the same way as before. Lord Oribe's tea cups, tea gardens and flowering trees were my favorite, but it was impossible for me to get closer to them. It was because there was the same disgust and hatred which were sensed by body odors, blacken dirt and thick fingers of sweaty soldiers marching along the highway as darkness, gloom, uneasiness, impatience, arrogance and distrust of those people. Moreover isolated feeling, terror and despairing darkness which Minbu and others forced me to go through revived vividly as though it had happened the day before, which sometimes made me feel unbearable. Whatever others said to me, it was impossible for me to live a violent and beastly life as Kaihou Shoueki and Toujinbou lived. It was necessary for me to live a balanced, quiet and neat life in whatever form. It was neither resignation nor escapism, but rather my decision to be my true self. Later my absence at the tea party held by Lord Oribe made various misunderstandings because there were many people who couldn't understand my true motive. There was neither cowardice nor clever self-protection in me. The reason for staying away from Lord Oribe was just only to protect my quiet and neat life to the end. For me it was thought to be the most important work among others to protect such a life of mine. It was necessary for me not only to stay away from Lord Oribe but also even from the world. In spring of the year 4th of Keichou, 1599, when the disturbances of Lord Taikou's death still continued, under the rush that soldiers who returned from Korea were marching across the streets of Kyoto to Ousaka and mounted soldiers were passing along Fushimikaido Road with rasing soil dust, Imaeda Naiki stopped off at Kyoto on the way back to Kaga and told me that Lord Maeda Toshiie passed away at the residence in Osaka. Of course, Imaeda didn't have time to stay at Kyoto and right away left for Kaga through Oumi Road. It was also urgent for me to go to Kaga residence in Osaka with my father. In the residence there was a gloomy atmosphere of silence by in mourning, but at the same time there were signs of hurriedness. People went out of and come into the big gate. A post horse hurried to go out to or come in from somewhere. Fushimiya Juuzou, a wealthy merchant, who was my acquaintance in Kaga, said to me, "I lament Lord Maeda's death. He had a good personality. But at the same time, because Lord Maeda alone had been trying to suppress the confusion after Lord Taikou's death, Lord Maeda's death will upset the balance until now at a stroke. Soon there will be a decisive battle!" Fushimiya Juuzou then looked at the crowd of callers for condolences. During that year various rumors spread in Kyoto. For example, one low-ranking priest of the Mount Koyasan said that he encountered numerous soldiers who moved from one place to another between Iseji Road and Mino. One peddler said that at every barrier one or two hundred soldiers were gathering while it became restricted severely to pass through each barrier between Echizen and Oumi. In fact early in the morning or late at night unknown soldiers sometimes passed through Kyoto. They looked like a group of black shadows. Although such rumors were spreading, Osaka, Fushimi, Gifu and Sunpu were calm and quiet. No one talked about disturbances. On the contrary, Koshi Kego, Kongzi Jiayu a chronicle of the sayings and doings of Confucius and his disciples, which was published by Ashikaga School under the protection of Lord Ieyasu, became popular among court nobles and town people. People competed with others in buying Kin Dei, gold mud, colored square thick papers on which Waka, or Japanese poems, or Poems of Tang and Sung Dynasties were written. Of course, there was a larger crowd in towns than the previous year. Shijougawara riverbed, was thick with many booths of acrobatics, shows and woman dancings. It was hard to move in the crush. When the rainy season was over, it became hotter than usual in that summer. Every day the sun grew stronger on the ground, on the mud walls or on the roofs. The dried bottom of the river was cracked. Under such a strong sunshine, even Miyakooji Street became quite without voices of venders of Crams or bamboo works. Dead silence reigned in all the Kyoto. Only the chirring of cicadas in chorus was heard. Occasionally white soil dusts ran along the road blown by a gust of wind. Peddlers, carpenters, plasterers, carriers and cattlemen were sitting in the dense shadows of groves or mud walls, wiping the sweat and vacantly looking at whirling soil dusts. The reason why my wife got sick in bed for a while must be the heat of that summer after all. My wife stayed in bed in the inner room in front of the pond. When she felt well, she went out to Engawa veranda and looked at the clouds reflected on the pond or looked at rain streaks of frequent summer showers popping against the water of the pond or stones of the garden. But if she kept well one day, she should be in bed next three days. Her condition was uncertain. My wife always felt sorry to her sister and mother, but it couldn't be helped under such a condition. In fact, my wife had been not only doing daily works for the family but also making all arrangements of clothes, kits and furniture for each season by putting them in and taking them out from the mud wall storehouse, receiving visitors continuously, preparing for the monthly Buddhist services, tea parties, banquets and family gatherings and giving various directions to workers. And it had been rare for her to be alone in our room. So it was tough work for my mother or my sister to substitute for my wife who was in bed. It might have been the end of that summer or the beginning of autumn of that year when major leading people of Kyoto were invited to Hon'ami's main residence to enjoy Renga linked poem. My wife felt impatient to direct maids in her bedroom, then she went to the mud wall storehouse by herself and fainted away while she was looking at maids bringing tea things and bowls. In this case, my wife didn't have to attend herself. But she was asked like, "We can't find black lacquer bowls." or "Where are sake cups with the family crest?" Each time when maids came to her bedroom to ask something, I imagined that she couldn't stay still. My wife had such a character that she joined Nou with me and Imaeda Naiki and she had been to Seiryouin Annex to look at my writings devoutly in spare moments from her work. But looking back now, it might have been an unnecessary burden to her. Against my series of asking her to take a rest, my wife said, "I am only staying by your side, so it would rather be my relaxation." And she continued the way she did. My occasional oders for my wife to rub an India ink stick on the ink stone, or to collect Kin Dei, gold mud, colored square thick papers made her absorbed in making a dense India ink in the ink stone to the brim splashing ink on her face as if she were a child who was intent on playing. My wife was fifteen years younger than me. So in her words and gestures there seemed to be some childishness as before. And especially when she helped my work, she looked more childish. Some time when my calligraphy reached the climax at Seiryouin Annex, my wife once went to Souji's house to get colored square thick papers for me. But what my wife brought back weren't plain gold dust square thick papers which were my favorite to use at that time but Kin Dei, gold mud, square thick papers which were designed with Ume apricot, ivy and flowers of four seasons. There was a feeling that pictures on those thick square papers could be too conspicuous for me to write on them with my brush. It was my fault not to explain her what to get in detail. But Souji should have known my favorite pretty well. So it was difficult for me to understand the reason of such a mistake. My wife listened to my thought like, "You went all the way to Souji for me. Thank you but it won't do anyway." Then my wife distorted her face in a moment and began to cry with shaking her shoulders. In me, there was no intention to say such a cruel word as she would cry. It was true that there was something annoying in me a little. But it shouldn't have been showed in my attitude. Naturally mistakes were mistakes. If only this made my wife cry, she was acting like a baby too much. When she heard my questioning about the reason why she cried, she said sobbing convulsively, "I, in fact, when Mr. Souji brought plain gold dust square thick papers to me, thought that Kin Dei, gold mud, square thick papers which are designed with Ume apricot and ivy are more beautiful. So I asked what are they. Mr. Souji explained that they are new prints. Then I thought they are better for your use. It's a mistake. It is my fault. I am really useless." It was sure for me how my wife was trying to be useful to me. But only when she tried to be so, my wife got more flustered than usual and made childish errors maybe because of strain or pleasure. Even so, there was no intention in me to blame her for it. But it was hard for me to imagine until then that a mistake like buying the wrong papers, for example, might be such a serious matter for my wife's heart. On that day, my wife insisted to go to Souji's house once again by herself, which was declined by me tenderly. Anyway on the way back to the main residence of Hon'ami from Seiryouin Annex together with my wife, she hung her head, stayed silent and sometimes shook her shoulders. Just at the moment of walking along a bank, a wintry scene suitable for a cloudy day in winter opened up before our eyes, and the water of a pond got dark and stagnant reflecting the shadows of the shore. There happened to be seen low clouds, trees whose leaves had dropped, dead grasses and paths through a field. "Long ago, from here the big fire of Kyoto could be seen well. The sky was burning in red at night." My wife listened to my words. Towns of Kyoto looked dark in the far distance. It was true that the memory of my first encounter with Doki's lady at that place flashed back somewhere in my mind. That was nothing but a faint flash which wasn't worth being called as a memory. But at that moment, my wife gazed at me with her swollen eyes. Looking back from now, it might have been because some inner workings of my mind appeared outside with the flash of my memory. My wife seemed to look at me breathlessly in order to try to pierce inside of my heart. She looked as if she would have been waiting for me to say something about Doki's lady. Possibly it was just my imagination. But at least there was surely a trapped and desperate sign in my wife's look which made me flinch a moment. My inner thought said, "Does my wife know something about that lady? Of course, my wife can't have known her. In case of knowing her, how far does she know? Does my wife want to know much more? Anyway, whether she wants to know or not, is it my duty to tell her clearly about it? Or, however eagerly my wife wants to know it, should it be the proper way for me to stay silent concerning it? Doki's lady has already been dead in my mind. She has completely disappeared from my mind. Even if my association with that lady won't vanish as a past fact, that lady means nothing to me now. If there is something to say, probably it might be all what to say. Besides if it has been vanished and there is nothing about it, it should be ignored without saying anything, shouldn't it? No words of mine about it to my wife at all would make my past association with Doki's lady as good as what hasn't happened at least for my wife. It would make that lady be more completely buried away from my mind than telling her that the lady has no relation to me. If so, however eagerly my wife wants me to say something about Doki's lady, my duty should be to stay silent for ever not only for my wife but also for two of us, shouldn't it? It must be neither a falsehood nor cowardice. My silence would support my present affection for my wife. . ." My thought ended here, and then my real words for my wife were, "It has passed twenty years since then. It was a long time ago. You were on the knees of your mother. At night, you were frightened and crying. Your cry could be usually heard even in my room." My wife hung her head, bent the nape of her neck and then clamped her hand over her mouth. She laughed a little and said, "You still remember such a thing. Don't tease me." And she lifted her face with puffy eyes. There remained dried light of tears in her eyes, but her desperate and breathless mood of a moment before had vanished. After my wife arrived at the main residence of Hon'ami, the next place of mine to visit was Souji's House. That night, my wife greeted me at the entrance hall of my house of Hon'ami Tsujiko, she was shown a piece of colored square thick paper with me. My wife took it in her hands, gazed at it fixedly and looked me up. "Ah! Colored paper with ivy could serve to you, couldn't it?" So my wife gave a shout of joy holding it in her breast. "Yes, it is the colored paper you chose to be charming. This was the first time to put down my brush on it. There has appeared an unprecedented beauty. Its beauty depends on you." Even now, the brightness which arose on her face at that time is unforgettable. That could be called as the joy, the happiness, the goodness, the childness or all those kind of things. "I'm going to show it to my mother. I will pride myself that I have become a bit useful for you." Saying so, she left for her mother. Somewhere in her such simplicity, frankness or single-minded feeling, there could be found in the similarity with rustic Imaeda Naiki. In fact, after my wife got sick in bed, Imaeda Naiki was sending us fruits of the season, stockfish, dried persimmons and things my wife would like more frequently than ever. In his letters, he frequently wrote, "In Kaga, after the death of Lord Toshiie, opinions among retainers are divided in many ways. No one can get the situation under control. So I have no chance to visit Kyoto for a while. The only thing to regret is that I can't go and express my sympathy." Maybe to cheer up my wife, he added, "The daughter of the tea stall has got married at last. Now she must amuse herself with her husband. And in Kaga there are so and so yearly events. I was happy to do so and so. Among retainers I know little and under different customs, I have been annoying with my frequent mistakes. . ." and even some other everyday trivial matters. Of course, in these letters, he never forgot to write about the detailed situations of Kaga at the proper time with a typical attention of Imaeda Naiki. The reason why it was possible for me to know the well detailed information was because of Imaeda's reports like those. As far as staying in Kyoto, there was no premonition of the coming great battle even though there were various rumors. As rumors indicated, there was a troop of soldiers which were going down along Fushimikaidou Road. The governor of Kyoto sent circulating letters in order to strengthen the night watch of each town. The sounds of men and horses running through the streets at night were sometimes heard. But after the daybreak, the bustle of Kyoto had not changed as usual. Peddlers were walking. Carriers were passing. Horses with the load of rice were passing. Mendicants were striking bells. Plasterers were passing. Wandering Samurais were walking in groups. That year's heat of summer had passed away. Then another rumor had spread in Kyoto saying that Lord Ishida Jibu was eager to get together in secret consultation with Ootani Gyoubu of Echizen Tsuruga because he was discontented with his own disciplinary confinement at Sawayamajou Castle. Other rumors said that the messenger holding Ootani Gyoubu's letter was arrested by the retainer of Kyougoku Takatsugu, that the content of the secret consultation was detected, that it was a conspiracy of certain Daimyous feudal lords, who had ill feeling against Lord Ishida, that Lord Ishida himself was innocent, that the large army had already moved from Mino to Iseji, that it was not Iseji but Oumiji and so on. Rumors were varied and sometimes contradicted each other. Imaeda Naiki reported that the secret messengers of Lord Ishida Jibu were sent frequently to the Castle of Lord Ootani. But Imaeda might not have understood exactly if the real intention of theirs was the one as the rumor indicated or not. The relocation of armies seemed to be undergoing secretly. While the purpose of it was unseen at all, Imaeda also wrote that there was a fact of it. Between autumn and winter, there spread some rumors saying that peasants in Yamato rose up in revolt, that a cannibal appeared in Echizen and that a daughter killed her parents in Kyoto. Actually there happened no striking incidents. Or rather there was a kind of weird silence. My wife was holding her own in autumn, but she had to stay in bed again in early winter, which made me often stay in my house of Hon'ami Tsujiko instead of shutting myself in Seiryouij Annex in the second part of that year. And that year, Lord Konoe and Lord Ichijou often invited me to thier residents, which made me possible to get deeply familiar with the famous ancient writings. Meanwhile, it got noticeable to me that my writings on the Kin Dei, gold mud, square thick papers with figures of Ume apricot, and ivy which my wife chose surprisingly arose the feeling which was similar to the ancient preferred elegance. When my wife heard me say that, she told me, "I would like to look at them after getting better. Now I think I can understand well what you say." Then she turned her eyes to the thick square paper with figures of ivy in the alcove of the room. Surely there was an elegant and generous atmosphere around it as my wife said that she wouldn't allow anyone to take it from her bedside. In a sense, it could be said to be the beauty pursued by myself for a long time. But it had been hard for me to find out this beauty by all means until the first time of my writing on the square thick paper on which Souji printed figures of Ume apricot, ivy and flowers of four seasons on Kin Dei, gold mud, base and which he started to sell out. Until then, for my understanding it had been suitable to use plain square thick papers powdered with gold sand or those designed with fine lines and patterns in order to add the ancient taste. But such plain square thick papers hadn't been able to produce the an elegant taste of my desire. Using Kin Dei gold mud square thick papers sold by Souji made me understand that for the first time. Even though my calligraphy style hadn't changed anything, using these new square thick papers made such a difference. This fact surprised me. There were various square thick papers in use before. But through my impressions of that time, it wasn't supposed to give me such a remarkable change only by selecting the other square thick paper. But Kin Dei, gold mud, square thick papers of this time were completely different from others. Figures of ivy and Ume apricot which were printed on those colored square thick papers were exquisitely beautiful. More than that, running my brush on them made the profound and graceful beauty which had been hiding itself inside of papers until then suddenly come up to the surface vividly. At the same time that seemed to make the similar gloomy beauty, which had hidden itself in my calligraphy, woke up on the contrary. My previous intention had been to make my calligraphy gorgeous and tenacious by boldly contrasting thickness and thinness of the brush traces with stretching or shortening some particular letters excessively under consideration of better lively rhythmic movements as the most important matter. But there had been no anticipation even in my dream that noble and lonesome beauty like the one of the evening moon had been created in my calligraphy consequently. Using square thick papers with the figures of ivy, autumn grasses, the moon with silver grasses, cranes, beach pines and others which were on sale at Souji's house and Tawaraya as "Soutatsu Paper" made me recognize my long time and unconscious desire for this kind of noble beauty. It could be said to be my preference which had been awake somewhere in my mind since my first encounter with Doki's lady. It couldn't be denied that there was a noble lonesomeness in the sweet voluptuousness of Doki's lady. When she looked intently at me in the inner room of Ichijouin, her face surely showed full of melancholic sweetness. This beauty of Doki's lady made me live with her at Sanjou. But after my separation from her, another kind of beauty was found. It seemed to be necessary for me to look for vigorous and dynamic feeling in order to erase the memories of Doki's lady and to overcome my torment. Momentary changes in shades of sunlight, figures of things, voices of people and twitters of birds were set to be free to move my heart. My secret wish was to bring up my strong preference and attachment which hadn't been found inside of me by keeping myself mindless and exposing myself to the excitements passing through inside of me. As these strong attachment and preference had just the figure of a man or woman, in my case they were nothing but the genuine figure of my soul itself. But my preference, which was found out this way, was, considering my past, somehow unexpectedly and surprisingly inclined toward the design of the full moon over silver grasses, ivy with tendrils stretching silently, wisteria with hanging clusters, wild geese passing in front of the evening moon. Virtually, the sweetness, voluptuousness and for example, that wet whisper and her closely crossed beautiful eyes of Doki's lady had vanished away in my preference. Instead, cool, quiet and lonesome feeling of Gin Dei, silver mud, paper was getting stronger. Of course there remained an indescribable sweet taste. But it looked somehow like the image of another woman. It had been clear for me since long before. But it wasn't possible for me to identify the woman. Was she a woman who really met me in some place? Or, was she an imaginary woman in my fantasy? Anyway such a new state of my calligraphy gave me a great pleasure never experienced before. My feeling, which filled inside of me, seemed to flow out completely through the free movements and rhythms of my calligraphy. But newly in front of the "Soutatsu Paper" with my brush, the wave of my feeling which was overflowing to the brim more than ever seemed to overwhelm me spontaneously. This unidentifiable things which were gushing out and brimming over would surely be the heart of painting, Nou or singing.
The second voice
Damn noisy! Hate the rooster's crow at dawn! Don't get angry with such a thing, however. Remembered how far? Let me see. Ah, until the time when the work of Heike Noukyou, or scriptures dedicated by Tairano Kiyomori, had finished. That's it! Became to know well around that time why it wasn't favorable for me that Kanou Koutoku painted while grasping in order to draw everything in this world. Loved Koutoku's temperament of course. Liked the way he lived his life with his shoulders squared, with his head raised and with his body exposed to a cold winter wind. Felt some kind of sympathy for his violent spirit and eager desire as he wanted to grasp his own brush even on his death bed. But as a painter, that Koutoku was a total stranger to me after all. The painters today don't have such intensity as Koutoku had. But they are also attached to things and figures of this world and try to draw them all. In this aspect, Koutoku was just one of the painters today. In the end, Koutoku couldn't get out from Kanou's school which he had intended to revolt against. In my case things are different. Don't have any relationship with Kanou or Tosa. Was born in a painter's shop, only. Yosajirou barely taught me how to paint with my brush. That's all my business. Got tired of running about in the mountains and the fields, then. Played painting pictures for fun. Next to painting pictures, fan surfaces fascinated me, which naturally made me put my hand to the works of my painter's shop in succession. But the work of Heike Noukyou made me experience the changes of my view toward the work, like from just playing with my brush toward creating one picture. It was odd even for me to think and meditate absorbingly about the painting. Was deeply lost all day long in thought with my paint brush in the hand. Knew what to do by myself already. It was fortunate for me not to have any difficulties at all in painting my wants either with lines and fillings, thanks for Yosajirou. Could depict freely any favorite things of mine. It isn't my bragging. It isn't my conceit. It is a fact. Want to spit at a man who pretends to be humble by falsifying the fact. Say what is a good thing is good. Why not? Yes. Could paint anything freely. But there is some other reason why fan surfaces made me zealous. Felt extraordinary pleasure and attachment in arranging figures in well proportion in a fan surface and designing patterns to fill the fan surface with them. Even Yosajirou couldn't understand easily this kind of monomania of mine. "Boy! Your painting has a peculiar balance in it. The flame seemed to be twisted in some way like squeezing out a towel. Boy! Why on earth do you like such a flame like this?" But Yosajirou often said, while watching the movement of my paint brush, "You are trying to place smartly a long branch of an Ume apricot tree or wheels and a long handle of a court carriage in a fan surface." Started to paint on square frames of Fusuma sliding doors covered with paper, partitions, or Byoubu folding screens, and then the arrangement of patterns. The fruitful balance and the attractive force among things gave me great pleasure. It is like to confine overflowing things as strongly as possible to the inside space with something like tub's hoops. Understand? Such is a sense of fulfillment of power. Wasn't interested in gazing at things one by one and drawing them precisely, which was different from Yosajirou. Rather, when things were about to overflow to the outside of the flame, it was all fun for me to tide strongly up these forces toward the center instead. This fun made me paint just the filling of silver lightning on a fan surface or place a full moon located fully on the background covered diagonally with Gin Dei, silver mud. That's the point first of all. Well, it's like a brute force wrestling by myself, isn't it? It has a pleasant feeling similar to that of stamping on green caterpillars. Had of course some chances to draw grasses, flowers and features delicately in the ancient taste of thin and minute lines, while designing the cover page and the endpaper of Heike Noukyou, or scriptures dedicated by Tairano Kiyomori. Such a work itself is interesting, but grasses and flowers of northern Kyoto which can be seen with our eyes and touched at first hand are much more interesting. Couldn't vomit, by such a work, the only figures of indescribable things which occupied my mind. Became however, to understand, little by little through such a work, the fact that the minute and elegant figure of a branch of an Ume apricot tree in the ancient taste, which extended in the flame just like a shadow projected on the paper screen of a sliding door, is neither that of an actual Ume in the garden nor that of another Ume just in front of a passing house, on the contrary is nothing but the figure of the branch which has soaked into the painter's mind. Learned how to do in ink painting from Yosajirou before as you know. Went to Yougenin and Shuntokuji Temple, in order to copy the famous works like Suikinzu, or Water Fowl, for example. Went to the lake by myself to sketch water birds. That was a failure. Became to think that only the specific figures which could vibrate my mind should be drawn to the end. Well, well, it hasn't changed at all until now. But the figures which can vibrate my mind ain't limited to those of some peculiar things. Yes. Ume apricots, grasses and flowers or anything can be the vessel of the mind vibration of a painter. Became aware of this fact, which was surely after the work of Heike Noukyou. So my preference was changing gradually from filling with Kin Dei or Gin Dei to minute line drawing of Ume apricots, grasses and flowers of four seasons, birds or pine and bamboo trees. Invited Yosajirou for myself often in such days to walk in the suburb of Kyoto. "Boy! You have changed a lot, haven't you? When I invited you to go somewhere long ago, you followed me very unwillingly. Now it is Yosa that follows you." So Yosajirou said while walking lame. But rather he beamed with delight. Didn't anyway copy grasses and flowers in detail. Stood in front of wisteria flowers hanging from the branch, for example. Looked at the vibration which the flowers would bring to my mind, rather. In front of the same flower, Yosajirou drew the wisteria minutely even by describing pale shadows of petals. On the contrary my wisteria was drawn only with the filled-in outline virtually like the projected figure of a cluster of wisteria flowers on the paper screen. In my humble opinion, my wisteria gave me a lot more feeling of intoxication of my mind. Looking at it makes me burn in all my body. There is a languor of shoulders of a woman in the early summer evening. There is a smell of grasses on the ground. You know. There is also a touch of an innocent girl's slightly sweaty skin. Because time was just after the completion of the work of Heike Noukyou, or Scriptures dedicated by Tairano Kiyomori, it was quite unlike me to give the ancient and elegant melancholy somehow faintly to my work. But it was painted only with Kin Gin Dei, gold and silver mud, so it had a lighter elegance, gaiety and a lot more taste of subdued refinement than the richly colored paintings which decorated scriptures. What a self-praise! Well, let me connive this much. Felt that such an artistic effect might have derived from the very old memory of mine. Dug grubs. Stamped caterpillars in my childhood. Sneaked deep into the Imperial Palace through an opening of its mud wall. Hid myself in the bush. Looked at court ladies who were passing over roofed passageways, furniture behind the bamboo blind and clothes put on a hanger. The strange feeling of intoxication at that time was a lot similar to what was given by the projected figure of a cluster of wisteria flowers on the paper screen. Felt also such a smooth and glistening sweetness in my nursemaid with a flat white face in a mud storehouse. It was also connected with the demon's mask which emerged among blue lights of fireworks. Later, noble people who worked for the Imperial Palace visited the house of my uncle in Hasuike, and some of them joined the meeting of the linked poem or the tea party. Had then the chance to see books of poems, story books with covers designed with dense lozenges and twills, refined furniture and clothes. Of course, in case that my mother found me there, she would turn me out with shouting loudly. Even though the memory which soaked into my mind is after all the seductive image of court ladies which could be seen from the bush. Saw, in my childhood, court ladies flirting with each other in secret behind the bamboo blind. Heard sometimes those ladies laughing up their sleeves. Saw a noble man seducing a court lady even in daytime. Looked at the scene of a man and a woman moving behind the bamboo blind from the bush holding my breath. Gathered, on such a day, much more caterpillars than usual. Stamped so many of them at once that my mother would have fainted right away if she had looked at it. Why? Thought that much more vivid green liquid would spurt out than usual for some reasons. But it wasn't a bad memory. Continued to draw seasonally, solely upon my whim, while basking in this old seductive feeling, not only a cluster of wisteria flowers, but also the ivy which twined around the tree, bamboo, butterfly, Ume apricot, peony, awn, dragonfly, cherry, Kiku chrysanthemum, paulownia, bush warbler, waves, pine, dewy spiderwort and bamboo grass. That's the way. Picked something favorable to me up from the fallen leaves of memories which accumulated deep in my mind. Love women however. Don't hate enjoying myself cheerfully that much. Show no interest in such things on the contrary. Take my paint brush. It is because it fills my heart with much more pleasure than women or cheerful enjoyment. Love such things like liveliness, cheerfulness, impudence, ludicrousness, gold and silver eyes of my cat Sutemaru and its white fluffy hair. It is hard for me to leave such thing like the stinky smell of hair oil of court ladies, the smell of perfume or the oily odor of grubs. Think of myself as a comical person. Hate anyone who pretends to be serious. Do anything in my own way. Draw my favorite things. It is rather to vomit than to draw. By the way, someone who might be the head of serious pretenders suddenly visited me. It was Suminokura's son who lives in Sagano. Was in the middle of the highest mood in working. Heard of Suminokura's son already from Souji. Was bad at speaking with such a deadly serious man because of such a character of mine. Besides, Suminokura Yoichi was deadly reserved and shy. Showed him my drawings of ivy or wisteria, then he gazed at them with having set his eyes on them. Didn't know why. Thought for sure that Suminokura didn't like this kind of drawing. Waited and saw him. Suddenly he stammered, "I haven't seen such beautiful paintings ever before. These are just what I have been looking for." You would call him simple and honest or staunch. He seemed to be obsessed with something in which he got solely absorbed. He was plump and had a gentle expression. But he had a strange, keen, painful and searching eye. Although it was our first time meeting, we talked a lot about paintings. His talk about the Conquest of Korea was rather enjoyable. He seemed to be friendly, but at the same time he had a starchy manner in some way. When he laughed at some joking, he wouldn't have roared with laughter like me. Thought that it wasn't very refined either, of course. The way Suminokura lived would make me have stiff shoulders and be suffocated. According to Souji, he was said to be very knowledgeable. It was sure that he used such words that indicated his knowledge naturally but more often in his talking. Anyway it wasn't unpleasant, which should be emphasized. This is great. Suminokura Yoichi, without hurrying but with stammering sometimes, asked me, "To what extent do you do this kind of work? How many paintings do you make a month? What portion of a drawing can be carved on printing blocks? How many times can you use one set of printing blocks? Or, how durable are those printing blocks without abrasion? What will be the effect when you print type on the underlay print of drawing?" Couldn't answer some of those questions. Called Yosajirou. Then they talked about the square thick colored papers which were made on my underlay drawings, about Souji, about the techniques of printing, about my childhood when painting was my favorite game. Sominokura Yoichi seemed to feel much more relaxed when he talked with Yosajirou than me. He became talkative and enjoyable. When he was about to leave, Suminokura Yoichi told me that he wanted several square thick Kin Gin Dei papers which were produced directly by my brush. "One of these days, I will buy all the colored papers made in Tawaraya. But now I will consult with Mr. Souji again to make a negotiation." So said Suminokura with courtesy. Yosajirou saw him off. Entrusted all the business of the paint shop to Yosajirou recently. Devoted myself to design work of new patterns. Didn't know exactly how many works were made by Tawaraya each month. But it was sure that large numbers of fan paintings, colored papers and square thick papers, and, well, lanterns, paintings for box lanterns were made recently. The number of craftsmen had increased. Souji and others invented a new printing device by introducing the new way which had come from Korea. So Tawaraya could produce a lot more Kin Gin Dei printings than before. Couldn't guess at all what kind of ulterior motive Suminokura had in mind to buy all the paintings of Tawaraya, in this circumstance. Good old Souji might have egged Fushimiya, Chaya, Gotou, or men of means in Kyoto to do something fishy. So Suminokura thrust himself forward, didn't he? But the casual way Suminokura told me that he would buy up all the works of Tawaraya in any case suddenly made me feel that something extraordinary might be hidden behind his placid and suave manners. Souji's haphazard attempt sometimes would hit the real stuff. But the capacity of Suminokura who seemed to be mild and reliable should be beyond appearance and might bring something heavy to my mind. But he himself wasn't aware of it at all, and looked at my painting with Kin Dei printing absentmindedly. This strange contradiction somehow amused me a lot. Thought about that. Suddenly laughter welled up. Laughed loudly. Yosajirou came limping into my work place and said, "Boy! Why are you laughing so loudly? What happened to you?" Explained to Yosajirou this strange feeling of Suminokura. But Yosajirou didn't laugh. "Boy! I don't understand why you are amused with it. He is just the kind of person I ever heard of from Souji and Mr. Hon'ami." So said Yosajirou with a dubious look. Laughed but meant no harm, of course. Couldn't explain well the reason why. It seemed curious to me that the brazen-faced, unfazed and sticky man had a strangely obstinate and timid heart. But anyway it was sure that Suminokura Yoichi left a good image for me at our first time meeting. Later Suminokura's son requested me to paint Kin Gin Dei underlay drawings on the long scroll paper. This request had been memorized somewhere in my mind for long. Suminokura Yoichi sent me a huge amount of silver money in token of his thanks for square thick Kin Gin Dei papers he got that day. In the accompanying letter, he wrote to me that he would look forward to the completion of the long scroll paper with drawings from the heart. The reason which made me get down to work on the requested long scroll paper with drawings was neither that the amount of silver money might be surprising nor that it might be necessary for me to win Suminokura's favor. No! Hadn't had any chance to draw pictures in a form of a long scroll paper. That was only one reason which made me want to do it. Hadn't really seen picture scrolls ever before, besides. Had never wanted to fill the long, sideways and continuous space of a scroll paper with my drawing. There were several Emaki picture scrolls which were borrowed from a court noble in my uncle's residence in Hasuike. Happened to glance at them once or twice in my childhood. Nothing more then. Devoted myself in fan paintings later. Didn't bring myself to examine those picture scrolls on purpose. But then Suminokura Yoichi requested me long scroll papers with drawings. Happened to feel, unlike me, like taking a look at the way how the painter of the picture scrolls organized the long, sideways and continuous space. That rarely happened for me. Wanted unusually to look at picture scrolls that time. Talked with Yosajirou over it. He said that it would be the best way for me to go to my uncle in Hasuike to borrow them. "Boy! Even if you look at such things, it would be of less use as the same as the case of ink paintings of Yougenin and Shuntokuji Temple." So said Yosajirou, because he knew my caprice way of doing whatever he showed me. By chance in my uncle's house, there were three Emaki picture scrolls, Kitano Tenjin Engi Legends Emaki, Hogen Heiji Kassen Battle Emaki and Ise Monogatari Story Emaki which were borrowed from a certain noble family. What better chance could one wish for? Entered right away into the inner room of my uncle's residence. Am not just like a man who looks at other's paintings obediently even with interest. Things were the same ones, too, in case of Heike Noukyou, or scriptures dedicated by Tairano Kiyomori. Brush trace of the ancient painter could have been obstructive for me instead. Thought so. But at the same time a feeling which inclined me to look at Emaki picture scrolls was uncommonly moving inside of me. Opened the old Kiri paulownia box. Undid the binding made of Tang twill cloth. Felt that my heart was excited incessantly for some reason. This was the first experience for me. Didn't feel this kind of strange anticipation even at the first encounter with Heike Noukyou. In my childhood my mother told me the story of Hogen Heiji Kassen Battle as a bedside story. Started therefor to look at that Emaki picture scroll. Read unhurriedly, which was unusual for me, its legend at first. In that Emaki picture scroll, Wicked or Strong Aku Genta was leaning out on horseback. Archers were anchored in the frontal facing posture to set up the bow behind Citrus Tachibana or cherry trees. Soldiers were running with drawn swords in their hands. Armored warriors on horseback were fighting each other. Mounted soldiers were making horse run through the smoke of blazing Shishin-den Hall in the Imperial Place. Kept on examining those figures as if absent-mindedly. Felt like listening to my mother's sleepy voice of storytelling. Felt like stamping caterpillars wildly and smearing green liquid around there before going home. Sensed that the vivid red, purple, yellow and blue with which armors were colored would recall the more fascinating palpitation than ever. Wonderful colorings of gold dust which is mingling with burning flames, the vermilion which colors the roof of South Palace, lines of the rough-woven bamboo fence and grey and chestnut horses which are pawing at the ground and tossing their heads gave me great feeling of intoxication than those of Heike Noukyou, to be honest. Started to unroll the scroll in order to study how ancient painters arranged the long and sideways space of a picture scroll at first. Forgot about that then. Was absorbed in the story of Hogen Heiji Kassen Battle Emaki. Was charmed by the vivid colorings of it. Finished looking at Hogen Heiji Kassen Battle Emaki about the time when it began to grow dark in the evening. It was getting dimmer in the inner room of my uncle's residence. Couldn't help, however, leaving other two Emaki picture scrolls without looking at them. Hurried through a meal. Set two candle stands. Started again to unroll the scroll of Ise Monogatari Story Emaki. In it, an ingenuous character, blue waves and mountain ridge lines which might be painted with a wide brush, light yellow shadings, red fruits which were placed here and there, and others were drawn with an absent-minded expression. In case of Battle Emaki scroll, each scene was indeed filled lively with horses which are pawing at the ground, armored warriors who turned their faces and running soldiers. Along with the progress of the story of Battle Emaki, those movements got twisted up forming circles and then pushed forward, like a series of waves, my viewpoint to the next scene spontaneously. On the contrary, in this Ise Monogatari Story Emaki, each scene was independently drawn with a serene, ingenuous and humorous feeling like a mountain which was floating slightly in a spring haze. The legend connected consecutive two scenes. The driving force of Emaki picture scroll's story was the legends explaining what it depicted. Pictures were rather hindering the progress of the story and made the viewpoint stay around about there for a while as long as possible. This was the first impression of mine. Finished reviewing Ise Monogatari Story Emaki. The feeling of the woman's body which was evoked in an innocent touch with light coloring in front of each picture by the legend recalled court ladies who were seen from the inside of the summer bush or the scene of a couple moving behind the bamboo blind. Got it! It was like that a man happened to look in an old unused well he had forgotten for a long time and he found unexpectedly clear images of sky, cloud and his own dark shadow in a round shape in the far bottom. It might be a queer metaphor, but this feeling is a real one. That night went on and then it was around midnight. Started to unroll the scroll of Kitano Tenjin Engi Legends Emaki. Stirred up candle wicks. Looked at the picture scroll Emaki with an aged binding and a blotchy sheet unhurriedly. It was different not only from Battle Emaki but also from Story Emaki. People relating to Tenjin Engi Legends were drawn with a happy-go-lucky brush. There was full of cheerful and generous mood in it. There was a man who wore a silk garment and ran shouldering a broom. And there was a woman who was laughing while lifting her veil. There was a man who turned over. And there were men and women who gathered and made noise as if they were scrambling something. There was a man crouching down. And there was a woman who was putting her head out of the window. Looked at the picture scroll Emaki this way. Caught my breath with a start in spite of myself, then. There emerged God of Thunder on the roof of Seiryouden Pavilion through black clouds. God raised his leg and glared at me with a terrible look. Felt like the mask of demon which my nurse maid wore on her face was clearly illuminated in an instant with blue sparks. It gave me a terror that the back was frozen hard. At the same time, it gave me incredible safety feeling just like the loud laughing of my nurse maid made me feel. The beauty of blue sparks, of weird signs of the mask of demon and of the soft touch of the body of my flat white face nurse maid boiled up in my mind at once. Devoted myself to the picture scrolls Emaki without thinking about time. Found out that it became white outside of the paper screen partition. Didn't have the energy to think about anything of course. Had already forgotten completely the reason to look at Emaki picture scrolls from the first. Instead, the vivid colors of thread decorating armors, the red color of blazing flames spraying gold dust, the serene green color of mountains and fields floating in spring haze and the figure of God of Thunder emerging from the black clouds had become one with the scene of the far-off memory and whirled about inside of my mind. Around me, summer grasses had grown thickly. The mud wall of the Imperial Palace fell down. The voice of my mother was heard. A nurse maid was laughing. All the things overlapped each other, and were whirling around. One thing vanished away then another thing appeared. Couldn't know where it was. Didn't know me to be either still a child or already an adult. The whirling scene which surrounded me became farther or closer. It seemed to make a noisy sound which was buzzing about my ears continuously. Was absolutely exhausted. Stayed at my uncle's residence that dawn. Could sleep. Couldn't sleep. Didn't even know that. That noisy sound was buzzing about my ears without a break. And the whirl of vivid colors was turning round and round endlessly. Made copies of a few scenes from each picture scroll during several days after that. Reflected colors carefully in some scenes which related to my childhood memories. What tremendous things! Thought so from the bottom of my heart. Then, let me try another type of colored drawings on the fan surface, which was new to me. Was supposed to look at Emaki picture scrolls in order to draw pictures in a form of a long scroll paper. Forgot however all those things. Devoted myself to the fan surface. Arranged God of Thunder of Seiryouden Pavilion or court ladies on an oxcart for pilgrimage to Ishiyama Temple into the fan surface. Put colors on it then. It fascinated me all the time. In the meantime, nearly one month passed. Thought to consider again to make the rough sketch for the picture scroll which had been requested by Suminokura Yoichi. By that time, several sedimentary, like fallen leaves, layers of color stripes and the memory of summer grasses in the Imperial Palace were gradually disappearing again against the brilliance of Kin Gin Dei, Gold and silver mud. For me, the ground painted all over with Kin Gin Dei, gold and silver mud, is more indispensable than anything else. Understood it well by trying to do coloring. Don't intend to swagger by saying so. There is something which can't be expressed without this ground painted all over with Kin Gin Dei. But it was much more later that these things would be really understood. Concentrated on how to arrange the design in scroll type paper at that time. The long sideways scroll type paper should be considered just as one screen. That was my view. According to my own style, the first thing is to create a force of overflowing to the outer space, and then the next is to tighten this force with another force toward the center at a gulp. In the place where these two forces encounter with each other, the feeling of high tension which would stimulate my excitement will be created. First of all, where is the force of overflowing into the outer space? But, another force which would tighten the counter force toward the center will be left up to the special shape of the scroll type paper. So, there should have been a small scheme. Gained certain level of experience for the fan surfaces design. Could apply such fan surface design technique to cases of ordinary square flame like Byoubu folding screen or Tsuitate partitioning screen. But, my God, like a sleeping place of an eel, the scroll is getting longer and longer. So my fan surface design technique wouldn't work so well. Racked my brains with grunting and groaning about what should be the source of the outer overflowing force, while wasting many of scrolls of paper in vain. Suminokura Yoichi requested me a picture of grasses and flowers of four seasons. So a feeling of transition of seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter, can be used as the outer overflowing force. Thought so. Emphasize it, then the only thing to be done next is to make a flame which will tighten this force to its inner side at a gulp. Got, roughly, the idea to do it well. But beyond that there was a morass. Dared to select Ume apricot, azalea, ivy and bamboo in order to emphasize these transitions in four seasons. In other words, each would represent one among spring, summer, fall and winter. You know. Bamboo in the last part would be the best choice to tighten the whole parts. Thought so. How to treat Ume apricot in the beginning of the scroll was a real headache for me. The figure of Ume apricot in any way of drawing was too weak as the flame to tighten the outer overflowing force. Tried to draw a thick trunk of an old Ume apricot tree, in the light of early spring afternoon for example, which occupied massively and a little bit diagonally the very first part of the scroll. Tried to place azalea of summer and ivy of fall between the old Ume apricot tree and bamboo. But the ponderous old Ume apricot tree placed in the very first part made me feel it surely abrupt. Couldn't know the Ume apricot tree extended its branch over there before the scroll was opened enough. Moreover to encounter a thick and heavy trunk at first seemed like to hinder the eye movement toward the following part. There wasn't smoothness. It was crude. Tried, then to ease it, to extend several branches from the old tree toward the very first place of the scroll. These branches were supposed to invite the eye movement toward the trunk. However, small branches of the Ume apricot tree which showed up themselves suddenly at first were surely unsteady. It was just like giving full play to my technique. Only the intention was closed up. There was no naturalness at all. Spent several days with grunting and groaning to manage the Ume apricot old tree. Tried cherry tree when an Ume apricot became incorrigible. Tried a willow when a cherry tree became unmanageable. Returned to an Ume apricot again at last, though. Made a lot of wasted paper. Felt choked in the end by the stumble from the first. Threw away the scroll paper. Went to the suburb of Kyoto inviting Yosajirou. Thought unusually that there would be a chance for me to get a hint of design by seeing Ume apricot old trees from somewhere. Considering me of all people, it was a pity for me to get timid! It was at the end of winter rather than in spring. There was a little sunlight, but the surface of the mountains was wintry and dark. Withered grasses which covered the field were slightly stirred up for wind. Went through villages of the suburb of Kyoto. Stood on a pond embankment. Traced along a field path. Went sometimes into bamboo groves. Passed through woods with fallen leaves. Next to the bamboo grove, there was an Ume apricot old tree. Near of it, a small Shinto shrine was there leaning. But the shape of that old tree's branches gave no particular hint to my mind. Stopped there for a moment. Yosajirou stopped there, too. "It is an old Ume tree, isn't it?" So he said like a soliloquy. "Soon flowers come out. It's still cold, even so, spring will certainly come after winter." Looked at Yosajirou who seemed to ring a bell. "After winter, spring will come. That's it. That's exactly right. It is a purely simple thing. Couldn't notice so far. Why! The first season doesn't necessarily represent spring. Winter can be the first and next will be spring. There is no inconvenience at all." Thought so. Started laughing loudly at my own stupidity. Yosajirou was surprised at me. He looked puzzled at my laughing loudly with tears in my eyes. "Did I say something funny?" So Yosajirou said. Shook my head. Shook my body in the middle of still welled up laughing. It was absolutely stupid of me. Considering me of all people, it was a pity for me not to come up with such a simple thing. Returned to my work place. Removed the Ume apricot old tree aside. Started to draw bamboos which would represent the feeling of a frosty morning. The design of bamboos was planned to tighten dignifiedly the whole scroll design at the end of the scroll. So, when it was replaced in the first part, it still had enough strength for tightening as expected. Lined the thickest Mousou bamboos fully in the flame. Wanted however to avoid suddenness because the drawing would be placed in the first part of the scroll. Drew then four or five thin and young bamboos at first. Drew next four thick Mousou bamboos in uneven intervals. By doing this, just after opening the scroll, nimbly growing young bamboos would naturally come into the eyesight. And next to these thin bamboos, massively thick bamboos would appear which would produce a natural transition of the eyesight like wandering about in the bamboo grove. Moreover the dignified image at the first part would firmly take root in the hearts of viewers. Finished drawing bamboos. Sighed with relief. Thought that the first difficulty had been overcome. After the first difficulty had been overcome, my paint brush moved over the next Ume apricot drawing effortlessly somehow like sailing on the waves of welling up pleasure. Chose the scene of the group of thin branches crossing each other with a full of Ume flowers instead of the scene of thick trunks of old trees in order to make the natural transition of eyesight from bamboo to Ume apricot. When the scroll was opened to the right side, one of the branches would grow steadily. Designed so. The branch grew voluminously upward and got out of the flame once. And it appeared again into the flame and grew freely. Then it occupied almost a half of the width of the scroll. Later Yosajirou praised me very much for my exceptional design that the growing branch got out of the flame. But it was from my accidental memory rather than from my idea. Recalled that a branch of Ume apricot was seen as a silhouette on a small window like this design when Master of Tea Soushun invited me to his house. And it was interesting for me. Sketched it at that time. Daubed Kin Dei, gold mud, around the place where a small Ume apricot branch would end, then. It became an intermezzo. Drew flowers of azalea in full bloom in the early summer sunshine. Wanted to draw flowers as big as possible. Filled the space up with azalea. So, for example, for azalea in a distant view, only the part near the roots and some branches were drawn. And as the result, the upper part was cut off out of the flame. Designed like such a way without any particular effort. But later Hon'ami and others praised me for this design very much. And it was talked about among people. Wanted to fill the space with a lot of flowers and trees with big brightness of the surface of Kin Gin Dei, gold and silver mud. Arrived at the final part to draw clusters of ivy which would take the scroll to the end. The design of ivy had already jelled into a definite form in my mind. Ruffled branches of ivy blown in the wind of the end of fall. Overlapping clusters of ivy. Saw them clearly as if they could be drawn right away. But to draw unanticipatedly clusters of ivy leaves would hinder the natural transition of the eyesight. Moreover flowers of azalea in full bloom were gorgeous and tried to keep the eyesight movement stay there as long as possible. So, in order to shift naturally the eyesight from there to next, there should be something that would strongly invite the eyesight movement into the drawing of ivy. Thought so. It was another real headache to me. Invite the eyesight movement, how? Draw ivy, how? Thought things like that for two or three days while drawing several sketches of ivy and throwing them out. At last, the case of thin and young bamboos which were drawn in the first part of the scroll flashed through my mind. That's it. Shouldn't draw abruptly big ivy leaves here. Should draw the scene where small ivy leaves were hanging flutteringly from the upper edge of the scroll. Should draw them with the other-worldly beauty. Draw them just like golden leaves flaking from the sky. Should draw them lovely and elegant. In this respect, Kin Dei, gold mud, which is my right-hand, would be the perfect pigment. Drew golden fluttering leaves on the pliant twigs of ivy which were hanging down by one strand or another. This scene strangely exuded a noble and graceful feeling. Decided daringly to bring this into the scene of clusters of azalea. Thereby, viewers were captivated visually by azalea, and at the same time, would be fascinated with the beauty of golden fluttering leaves of ivy. In this way, azalea went out of sight. After that leaves of ivy covered all the flame. Deep green leaves and light green leaves were overlapping together under the clear autumn sunshine. After a while, they were blown with violent winds of the end of fall. Finally they scattered around their branches. There would emerge the abundant undulation of the end of the scroll. Finished drawing all of the scroll. Tell the truth. Got struck exhausted but strangely with a sense of relief like by finishing an aerial acrobat performance in Shijougawara riverbed. It was a subtle absentmindedness which could never be experienced with fan surface drawings or folding screen paintings. Of course, it was partly because of the trial of the new flame like a scroll. Had to support the continuous long sideways sequence all the time by myself. It might be another reason. But furthermore, the reason of my absentmindedness like this was that the luscious and wave-overflowing feeling of intoxication, which was tried to be drawn on the square colored paper or the fan surface, had run out of me almost perfectly by extending thin branches of an Ume apricot tree freely and by drawing ivy leaves which were blown rustling in the autumn winds in contrast with the calmness of bamboo groves. Sent a person on an errand to deliver the completed design of the scroll to Suminokura Yoichi. Walked aimlessly all day long around passes of the suburb of Kyoto where spring had almost come. There were early Ume apricot flowers, bamboo thickets with finely light reflecting, an embankment all covered with desolate winter grasses and a stream on which the cold sky was reflected. All those things were devoured greedily by my eyes. But neither of them could fill up such a deep and exhausted feeling of emptiness of mine. Suminokura Yoichi answered by returning to me with a letter full of praise. Didn't however understand at all what he wrote in his letter. Felt like that myself wasn't me. Souji came to see me. Stayed silent. Looked at Souji who was speaking alone. Souji spoke as much as he wanted. He went to Yosajirou and consulted with him about something for a long time. My absentmindedness like this continued about ten days. Could then understand where my place was and what my work was. Felt as if a long dream was over. Sure! This kind of absentmindedness took possession of my mind usually in my childhood. Left playmates away. Entered into a mixed forest alone without permission. Returned home suddenly. Even after the age of discretion, this kind of absentmindedness often came to me. So not only relatives but also painter fellows once treated me like a mad man. But in the case of getting into absentmindedness, my head was numb, and there was no clear feeling. Whatever others might say, was out of our control. There was nothing for me but to wait for getting out from there. However, this time it was much longer than the previous time. Might have thought various things in this absentmindedness like in the dream. These things seemed to be very precious to me. Didn't recall at all what they were, though. The work place of Tawaraya had changed a lot from before. There lined up several wooden tables with tightening mechanism on which printing wooden blocks were placed. Craftsmen painted printing blocks with Kin Dei, gold mud, spread paper, pressed tightening blocks and then made printed paper one sheet and another. Printing blocks lined up everywhere in the work place. Some were under carving. Some were already carved. Some were painted with Kin Dei, gold mud. They were piled up. Yosajirou sat on the one stage higher wooden floor space, gave instructions about the carving of my designs, made patterns, and sometimes drew designs by himself, then gave them to subcontract craftsmen according to the orders of fan surface paintings, shellfish pictures, big paper lanterns and handy paper lanterns. Yosajirou said, "It depends on the amount of order from Suminokura. But anyway under these circumstances, the work place should be extended much more." Yosajirou added, "Seeing that Mr. Suminokura sent such words to us, I think that he must have a considerable scheme. We should be suitably prepared beforehand for our side." It was said that vast amount of paper was needed. However, what for on the earth? Neither Yosajirou nor Souji could imagine anything at all. For writings of Waka short poems or forewords by famous writers, such number of paper wouldn't be necessary, even if a lot many writers were invited. Couldn't imagine what for. Meanwhile, spring of that year had come near to the end. Drew mainly colored papers ordered from the son of Hon'ami those days. Hon'ami was presented my papers of flowers and trees in four seasons from Suminokura Yoichi, and wrote Waka short poems selected from the anthology by himself on them. Those papers won huge popularity among the nobles and rich town people, which had already come to my ears. In fact, Souji was called in by Hon'ami and told this and that about his favorite designs from Hon'ami. Then often Souji came to consult me about the designs. Hon'ami's lifetime favorite patterns were, for example, autumn grasses and a half moon, clustered Kiku chrysanthemums, butterflies, dragonflies and streaming water. Was attracted to the fun of his conception. Tried to draw designs with such patterns as he conceived many times. But what made me surprised at that time was that the taste of elegance which had been drifting vaguely inside of the design would emerge with sharp outline as if only it was brought out when Hon'ami put his writing brush on his favorite colored paper. Might sometimes taste stuffy feelings which were lapping my heart for that matter before taking my paint brush in my hand. What on earth such a strong excitement would aim at and wish for usually didn't occur to me at all. My wish was only to draw fluttering leaves of ivy with Kin Dei, gold mud, or only to draw a full moon rising over the awn field in cool touch with Gin Dei, silver mud. Vomit my excitement and my quiver of the heart over my painting. And Hon'ami takes his brush and writes Waka short poem on it. Then the wonderful taste of elegance of his style of handwriting begins to diffuse an air of conspicuous and vivid grace in good harmony with Kin Gin Dei, gold and silver mud. As Hon'ami himself came and told me, Hon'ami's calligraphy alone can't produce it, and my design alone can't produce it, neither. It must be an indescribable state which would emerge just only when both calligraphy and design melt into each other. Hon'ami's calligraphy joins there. Just like Kin Dei, gold mud, glows exceptionally, fascinatingly and beautifully in the middle of the night, being beamed by the candle light. So, the seductive taste of elegance rises into the air vividly from my Kin Gin Dei, gold and silver mud, design. Strange, but it is true. Felt anyway interesting preference of Hon'ami. Drew patterns which Hon'ami conceived on colored papers. Tried to arrange them into the scroll paper style. Thought that my colored paper would be perfect just only when Hon'ami's calligraphy joined there. The cause of all those things was my enthusiasm and intense devotion to this artistic effect. Don't care what anyone may say. But for me it was connected with my distant memory more than anything, seductive and nostalgic. It blew my mind like a May wind. In it, there was a fragrance of a flower, a shadow of trees, a shape of a noble lady and the color of clouds reflected on the surface of the pond. That was the reason for me to draw designs of books and scrolls for Hon'ami and Suminokura Yoichi with the help of Souji and Yosajirou. The attachment to this artistic effect was timely and by chance drifting toward me like a water lily which was a drift on the pond.to be continued!
4 About Suminokura Yoichi's devotion to print books, and things on the reputation of Sagabon, Sagabook
The third voice
In the midst of high summer of that year when the license with a red seal, or Shuinjou, which authorized us to start the Annan, or Vietnam Annan, trade, was given to us from Edo, and just when Yaheiji the boatman came to the residence in Sagano with this information from my father's residence, I was talking with the publisher of upper Kyoto, Surugaya Sounin about published books with a recent good reputation like Keichou Chokuhan, published by order of the Emperor in the Keichou era, and Fushimiban, published by order of Lord Ieyasu, while I had opened all the doors and windows of the study of the separated house in order to purchase new books. Yaheiji handed in the Warrant of Permission of Voyage, which was delivered through Lord Itakura Katsushige, Kyoto Shoshidai local governor to me with his trembling hands. I moved books on my knees aside and opened the Warrant of Permission. That was what we had been waiting for so long in these years. I remembered the days when I got on board in Suminokura ship in Sakai for the first time. It was the first work which I would have been going to do after getting out of Annex in Sagano. Not only Yaheiji but also I myself had an indescribable devotion toward foreign trade. But there was the second conquest of Korea. Then the great battle at Sekigahara happened. So the matter of Permission of the Voyage had been abandoned. Both Yaheiji and I had to transport provisions and fodder, clothes and arms for the second conquest of Korea by the ships which were originally constructed for the voyage to the foreign countries. After that the ship were used only for the transportation of timber of Ise. Every time when we met together, we fretted from forced idleness. In the western region of Japan, there was a rumor saying that there were merchants who had already been abroad secretly. But both my father and I thought that, if only one nation monopolized the profit, it was meaningless in foreign trade and that the main purpose of it should be the benefit of both sides to the last. Especially my father Ryoui said that, since our foreign counterpart would judge the good or bad of Japan from the voyage and trade, the ship owner and the boatman should be the Japanese messengers, which dared be called diplomatic envoys. The reason why we dared to wait patiently the issuance of the license with a red seal, or Shuinjou, was that we wanted to make much account of the role to improve friendship and goodwill with neighboring nations by the official trade with due formalities. Anyway, our dearest wish was fulfilled by the issuance of the license with a red seal, or Shuinjou. I forgot that Surugaya Sounin still stayed in my study, stood up in spite of myself, ordered Yaheiji to decide immediately the items which should be loaded, suppliers of them and each quantity and then list them up. And I asked him about the refit of the ship and the recruitment of boatmen and crewmen for the voyage to Vietnam Annan. Yaheiji answered me that the ship had been fully repaired and that crewmen were also sufficiently trained for the foreign voyage. "There is no omission at all." Yaheiji said so with full confidence. "Then, about when can we start on the voyage?" I asked repeatedly. "Well, it also depends on the state of the arrival of cargos, but generally speaking, it will be late autumn or early winter. Because we can expect that the seasonal wind would blow down to the south around in October." While Yaheiji was speaking so, his eyes became shining as if he were already on board. I remembered that I learned from Yaheiji the technique of forecasting the weather based on the shape, color and movement of clouds while I was in charge of transportation of provisions and fodder for the Konishi in Hakata before. "There are twelve ways to predict the storm." Yaheiji taught me by pointing the sky from the ship's side at that time. "In case before the sunrise, a lot of clouds gather around the direction of the sunrise, in case the sun has a halo around it, and in case at the sunrise, the sun looks bigger than usual, then there will be a storm three days later. . ." At night Yaheiji told me another technique of forecasting the weather based on the appearance of the moon, clouds and stars. I listed up them one by one. I thought that these knowledges based on the actual experience as a seaman would be also very useful when I would study astronomy and geography. I reminded Yaheiji of it. And I told Surugaya Sounin anew that the knowledge based on the experience touched to the heart is surely the base of our learning. Yaheiji went back. Surugaya returned leaving a pile of books behind. I felt so excited unusually that I couldn't go back to the desk at once. Then I suddenly went out onto the verandah and stood there. Into the deep bamboo grove of Sagano which was very near to the garden, summer sunlight streamed in pieces. And bamboo leaves reflected the sunlight glitteringly with gold and green colors. The summer heat was going to surge heavily from the field below. Into a hollow of a moss-covered rock in front of the study room, the water was streaming, with a lapping sound through a gutter made with bamboo. And small water drops, which were flicked off on the green moss, were glistening in silver color. When I decided to leave here and to get a satisfying life through practical business eight years ago, the season was different but I felt that such a calmness like this was hanging in the air over the garden, the bamboo grove and the mountain ridge. Since then, I was neither a scholar who was confined in the study nor a merchant who did everything through sheer business. In a manner of speaking, while I used up all my mental energy in practical works, I poured the same tensions and efforts into the world of learning, which became to be my way of life. I felt uneasy when I was only thinking, recording and classifying as the mental work. First of all, there should be actually a certain work, which I would make it get on with all my might, control it and compel it to the submission under our intention, and it was necessary for me to do my efforts to deal with it. Military service in the conquest of Korea and administration of mud wall storehouses meant my gloom which those facts had. In front of them, I wasn't allowed to be lazy. If I had been absentminded and made a mess, soldiers in hunger and coldness in Korea would have suffered more agony. If I neglect my duties of administration of mud wall storehouses, the loss would be not limited only inside of the Suminokura. If my work were medicine as my younger brother Ian's, such negligence would lead to a matter of patient's life. The weight of the facts seemed to me in those days to be a firm and unshaken response which would be suitable to test my ability. Of course, this kind of way of thinking still exists in me even now. Because of it, when I heard that the foreign trade with the red sealed license Shuinjou would start at last, I felt excited in spite of myself. But there was naturally a slight difference in my feeling compared with that of eight years ago. In those days, I had idealized and purified the weight, which actual business works should have, much more than that in reality. I thought easily that I could overcome the emptiness which I felt in my study room by devoting myself to practical business. But soon I found out that there was much greater feeling of emptiness in practical business. The reason why, after the war of Korea, I tried to edit the Elements of Tatsutokuroku, or the Method of Chinese Writing written by Fujiwara Seika in younger days called Soushun, and I bought great amount of books from Surugaya was to overcome such an emptiness of mine. While I was watching the calm and mid summer garden, I thought that it was since my childhood that I was torn apart into two worlds and that when I was in one side I yearned after the other. I expected that those two worlds would get settled in me in a definite form in some future. Up to that time, it might be unavoidable that, when I read books, I heard as usual the creaking of the sail of Shuinsen, or Red Sealed Ship, and the voices of crowded laborers in the mud wall storehouse, and on the contrary that, while I gave directions about the cargos at the wharf, or while I went out to purchase rice, I was strangely longing for the study room in Sagano. I stood on the verandah next to my study room thinking such a thing for a while. Then in a sudden manner, my eyes were attracted to Buddhist scriptures of Keichou Chokuhan, published by order of the Emperor in the Keichou era, and Six Chinese classics of Confucianism on Fushimiban, published by order of Lord Ieyasu, all of which Surugaya left behind. All of these books were newly printed with Korean movable printing types and their bindings and illustrations were also decorated gorgeously. According to Surugaya Sounin's explanation, various books printed with wooden printing types of Hiragana, or forty eight units cursive Japanese phonetic syllabary, had already been on the market among Kirishitans, or Japanese Christians. This printing technology came from Europe through Nanban. Among those books, some of them which were published by the Catholic Center of Learning in Amakusa had been delivered also to my hand. There were books entitled Heike Monogatari, or Tale of the Heike, Wakan Roueishu, or Anthology of Japanese and Chinese Verses for Recitation, and Taiheiki, or Japanese Historical Epic, of which result of printing had some problems with the positioning of characters as a whole and with the contrasting density of ink more that those by the usual wood block printing method. But, "Printing blocks can be made only by rearranging movable printing types. It needs only a surprisingly short term to prepare a next printing block compared with the necessary days by the conventional method." I was still in the excitement arisen by the coming voyage to the foreign nations, and then I picked up such a book and riffled through it. And I happened to think that I myself should start working on publishing such books. "I can supply much more numbers of books with lower prices than before if I make printing blocks using new movable printing types just like the way of Korea or Amakuya and incorporate illustrations into them, can't I?" So I thought. Various books came to my mind like Rikukei, or Six Chinese classics of Confucianism, Tang Song Poetry Liturature, Honcho Monogatari, or Imperial Court Story, Wakashuu, or Anthology of Waka Poems, and others. While I imagined how to manage bindings, paper, character form and arrangement of typesetting of countless fictitious books at my discretion, I stood still there being lost in thought. There were any number of books I would like to publish. And about the typography and favorite form of characters, I could dream of every possible way easily. I felt very happy to be absent-minded like that way, but I couldn't stay lazily here in deep Sagano anymore because the voyage to Vietnam Annan had been already scheduled. My father wanted to meet me. Yaheiji was also waiting for my direction on the items which should be bought. When I arrived at the main residence in Nijou, I found that people in the residence got more animated than usual. Ship carpenters, cabinetmakers and others had been called in order to rig for the voyage the Suminokura ship at anchor in Sakai. Associated merchants were crowded in the entrance and in the main hall in order to deliver purchased goods or to make reservations on buying imported articles beforehand. A chief clerk was writing something on the account book. One merchant was talked about Annan and Makao while using his fan busily to blow air. I made merchants under the rule of the Suminokura buy and collect copperware, cutlery, lacquered boxes, folding fans, folding umbrellas, clothes made from cotton, pots and kettles, and others. I listed up and checked each quantity, and made my shop workers pack them and send them on horseback to Sakai. And I happened to think that I myself should start working on publishing such books. "I can supply much more numbers of books with lower prices than before if I make printing blocks using new movable printing types just like the way of Korea or Amakusa and incorporate illustrations into them, can't I?" So I thought. Various books came to my mind like Rikukei, or Six Chinese classics of Confucianism, Tang Song Poetry Liturature, Honcho Monogatari, or Imperial Court Story, Wakashuu, or Anthology of Waka Poems, and others. While I imagined how to manage bindings, paper, character form and arrangement of typesetting of countless fictitious books at my discretion, I stood still there being lost in thought. There were many number of books I would like to publish. And about the typography and favorite form of characters, I could dream of every possible way easily. I felt very happy to be absent-minded like that way, but I couldn't stay lazily here in deep Sagano anymore because the voyage to Vietnam Annan had been already scheduled. My father wanted to meet me. Yaheiji was also waiting for my direction on the items which should be bought. When I arrived at the main residence in Nijou, I found that people in the residence got more animated than usual. Ship carpenters, cabinetmakers and others had been called in order to rig for the voyage the Suminokura ship at anchor in Sakai. Associated merchants were crowded in the entrance and in the main hall in order to deliver purchased goods or to make reservations on buying imported articles beforehand. A chief clerk was writing something on the account book. One merchant was talked about Annan and Makao while using his fan busily to blow air. I made merchants under the rule of the Suminokura buy and collect copperware, cutlery, lacquered boxes, folding fans, folding umbrellas, clothes made from cotton, pots and kettles, and others. I listed up and checked each quantity, and made my shop workers pack them and send them on horseback to Sakai. What we were going to buy there were, of course, white silk thread and deerskin, silk crepe, mercury, coral beads, Chinese garments, raw sugar, pepper, ivory, cinnamon and so on. Especially bowing to my younger brother Ian's request, many sorts of pharmacopoeia and medicinal herbs were added into the buying list. The purchase of new books of the Great Ming, which were circulated in Annan, wasn't forgotten. My father rarely interfered with such a detail. Rather it could be said that he was indifferent to it. My father goggled his big eyes, stood erect with his uncommonly big physique like a statue as being nicknamed "Red Deva", and listened to what people reported to him. And he folded his arms, was absorbed in thought and then called a chief clerk sometimes in snatches and directed him to do something. My father always taught chief clerks to direct their attentions to the allocation of works. If there was a man whose hands were free, the man would be transferred from the storehouse to the Red Sealed Ship, or on the contrary, from the ship to the shop of procurement to work busier. It didn't matter whether the man was one of chief clerks or an errand boy. My father wasn't as indifferent to the works in detail as he appeared to be. In fact, he looked sharp about at the every corner of the shop. Suminokura Ship sailed out from Sakai to Nagasaki at the end of that year. In Nagasaki, we would employ several veteran Portuguese crewmen whom we could order to pilot the ship to Annan. And there we were supposed to receive money in trust, several thousand Kan, or ten ton of silver currency. Torii Souyuu of Hakata and merchants of Kyoto and Osaka wanted to invest a lot of money. I wanted to see Yaheiji to Nagasaki, but I had to stay in Kyoto, because my father went out on a trip to the east and I had to be in charge of large repairs on our mud wall storehouse. Anyway, to tell the truth, I was too anxious about that Yaheiji's ship could arrive at Annan Vietnam without accident, to calm down to do my family business. I recalled many times that my teacher Fujiwara Seika had been cast ashore at Kikaigashima Island after the shipwreck. And at night, when the wind, which blew through Sagano, fluttered leaves of bamboo groves and made the roaring of the sea in a far distance, I looked up from the book I read. Then I was afraid that I happened to hear Yaheiji's voice of asking for help from between the waves. Of course, I couldn't get the safety confirmation until the ship came back. After a short time, I laughed scornfully at my own foolishness like spending a lot of energy against such a useless thing. And I did my best to concentrate on my work. But when I happened to be myself, I was absent minded and thought about the imaginary scene of loading and unloading of Yaheiji's ship around Annan. Then I realized that I had to do the work which wouldn't distract my attention or which would require much more power of mine. My father, who happened to visit Bitchuu, ordered me to let boatbuilders make shallow and draft ships. So I went to the workshop with the enclosed drawings. "Why does my father need such small ships?" I couldn't penetrate into my father's motive. My father's way of conceiving was usually beyond imagination for people around him. It was almost the same time when I visited Harada Antonio in Shimogyou, or lower Kyoto. When Surugaya Sounin showed his face in Sagano, I unintentionally asked him about the publishing of books. He recommended me to visit Harada's printing shop. "It is an ingenious printing device. At the shop, one-piece wooden carved printing blocks haven't been used any more. Each movable printing type is assigned to each corresponding letter. Then gather movable printing types in order, bind them with thread and make the new printing block which would work the same way as before. Current printing blocks are usable only once and then thrown away. But in Harada's Nanban system, by unblocking the used one, movable wooden printing types return to individual pieces, which are used again to make another printing block." Surugaya Sounin explained so with Houjouki, or Chronicle of Tiny Square Hut, which Harada published, in his hand. Harada Antonio himself was Kirishitan, Christian, so he published many prayer books and religious books. All of them were printed in the method of this Nanban system. Harada Antonio was a thin, tall and gentle old man. He might have been bending his back for a long time in plate making and publishing. So he was a little stooped at ordinary times. The old man answered me to my questions and told me his diligent efforts and the key to success. I said, "Thank you for talking me frankly your valuable information. But you would give benefit to rivals, wouldn't you?" He answered puckering up his wrinkled mouth. "No, no. We have to make more books. At first, we started publishing books in order to propagate good knowledge of our Kirishitan, or Christian, religious sect. But publishing isn't only for Kirishitan. Knowledge should spread in every form. So I published Houjouki, or Chronicle of Tiny Square Hut. I think that the purpose of publishing of Heikemonogatari, or Tale of the Heike, and Isemonogatari, Tales of Ise, by the Catholic Center of Learning in Amakusa is similar to ours." Harada the old man introduced me to the workshop, and explained me movable printing types, plate making and printing and showed me how to do them in practice. It seemed to me an incredible invention to incorporate a woodcut for illustration with movable wooden printing types. In case of current printing blocks, it wasn't easy to mix text and picture. I studied several types of books which Harada the old man had published with Surugaya. And I talked with him, "If I publish a book, what will be the best?" But I didn't think seriously the idea flashed suddenly over me in Sagano Annex. I only thought that, when I found a spare time in my regular business in future, I would adopt the publishing business as the most suitable work for combining the world of books and the world of practical business between which I was split apart. The fact that various kinds of books came into my mind was the evidence that it wasn't out of the realm of fancy at last. In fact, I didn't think that it would be an occupation in which I would engage in the near future. But while I felt inclined to get away from the anxiety of the Annan Vietnam trade, I talked with Surugaya, and I had been to the old Harada. Then I felt that the motivation of publishing books started to move in my mind repeatedly. Of course, there was nothing particular aiming for the permanent continuation at all. It would be enough for me to do something responsive to which I could devote myself at that time. My intention shouldn't be so serious. But by listening to what the old Harada said, and by looking at his printing shop, I became to feel that I couldn't lay aside my own intention as a fancy idea or as a temporary caprice. Rather, I felt that I pushed my other duties aside, and that I became enthusiastic gradually and absorbed in it. When I talked with Surugaya at first, what I had in my mind was to publish a book of Confucianism with the help of my teacher Fujiwara Seika. But what impressed me in the first place was the composition printing, I mean, with not only Hiragana syllabary movable types but also illustrations, which I saw in the old Harada's workshop. I was deeply impressed with the wonder of the idea that any kind of printing block could be made only by the combination of I Ro Ha. . . forty seven character types right away. Surugaya Sounin repeatedly recommended me the carved wooden block printing method just like Keichou Chokuhan, published by order of the Emperor in the Keichou era, or of Fushimiban, published by order of Lord Ieyasu. But I insisted on the composition printing with Hiragana syllabary movable types because of the wonder of the idea of it. I didn't think that I would fall behind the others as a devotee of books. But I was no match for Surugaya Soujin about the detail of publishing as expected. And there was no other way but to totally ask Surugaya to gather craftsmen for carving types, designing, printing and binding. Fortunately this trepid publisher guessed that he could do very favorable publication when he teamed up with me. So in almost all respects, he tried to make use of my intentions. We studied carefully on the sheet music of Komparu Style Nou songs, or Utaibon, published later by Torikai Dousetsu, Taiheiki, or Japanese historical epic, published by Isokawa Ryouan, and others. And we discussed this and that about the method of printing with Hiragana syllabary movable types and the style of books. In order to incorporate a woodcut for illustration, Surugaya Soujin had an idea to imitate the style of Naraehon, or Nara Picture Book. I built a publishing shop near the Surugaya in upper Kyoto, and let the newly gathered craftsmen live there. Of course, I couldn't dare to publish a voluminous book for the first try. So for the present, I decided to publish a song book, or Utaibon, and a dance book, or Maibon, following Torikai Dousetu's examples. When Surugaya published a book of swords, he had a connection with Hon'ami by chance. Then several writers, disciples of Kouetsu, took the designing work of types by themselves. At that time, it was beyond all imagination for me to ask Kouetsu to design the letter types. Because Kouetsu was my teacher, and his calligraphy itself had already occupied a high position. So no one dared to use his writings as the design of the letter types. Anyway, the arrangements for publishing had been set, the design of the letter types was completed, types were carved, the composition printing was made and printing started. Then from the early morning till late at night, I stayed at the publishing shop in upper Kyoto. I tried to print a paper with the newly carved type and made special requests for the paper of the binding sample. I left the matter of paper mainly to Souji the paper dealer associated with the Surugaya. Souji placed sheets of paper in front of him, saw through them to their colors, touched them with a fingertip to check the nature of them and at last licked the edge of the paper with the tongue to verify it. "If you do publishing at all, you choose the higher quality paper, the better." So Souji said, and showed me Gubiki paper, which was brush dyeing paper with white ground oyster shell or a mixture of pigments. Certainly a song book, or Utaibon, needed to be gorgeous if possible. So I wanted to decorate the cover, for example, with my original motif. Souji the paper dealer proposed to me to use differently colored paper for realizing my concept, advised me to refer the newly published song book, or Utaibon, whose cover was the paper with a mica solution undercoat. So he said his various opinions in an arbitrary manner. Souji gabbled that the book he saw in Mr. So-and-so's library was such and such, that the decoration of colored paper he saw in another court noble's residence was such and such and that both of them would be the model for the decoration of this time publication. "That's great! You show your face in any place, don't you? These days, to ask you would be the shortcut to search in which library the certain book is." So Surugaya, in spite of himself, said to Souji the paper dealer. But Souji added with a straight face, "No, not only for libraries. Not only hanging scrolls but also folding screens, if they are made of paper, can't escape from these Souji's eyes. I went through all folding screens even in the Emperor's Palace." It might have been surely hard to find a man who was much more acquainted with paper and its decoration than Souji. As far as the paper was concerned, he had been to any depths of the mountains by himself. Fastidious court nobles couldn't help showing Souji their treasured articles in front of his deep attachment. When I got to know Souji, he had already been prominent among not only merchants of Kyoto and Osaka but also court nobles and Samurai warriors. And after meeting with him actually, I became to realize anew that there was no exaggeration about Souji's reputation. Souji repeatedly recommended me to use an arabesque pattern with a mica solution undercoat for the cover of the song book, or Utaibon. And later he sent me a sample of a cover printed with a mica solution undercoat, which was used for one of the books published by the old Harada. Until late at night I was checking the form of types some of which I tried to write by myself. And I selected patterns for the cover. On occasion, I saw Surugaya Soujin who worked with me by my side fall asleep with an honest face. Then I looked up and found that the night was almost over and I heard sparrows start chirping. Looking back now, I was singularly absorbed in making books with such an eager. I don't know why. But at one time, I almost believed that publishing was just my inborn duty. In fact, I was relieved of the pain which had been tearing me apart between books and business. Arranging wooden letter types, staining my hand with Sumi black ink, counting sheets of paper and looking at the conditions of the printing, even those things reminded me as if I were inside of books all the time. As I said earlier, in a certain length of time every night, I read as many Tang and Sung books as possible for the preparation of the Elements of Tatsutokuroku, or the Method of Chinese Writing. And I wrote down only one or two lines of sentence on a piece of thin paper. It was an every day work without exception. But touching letter types in the publishing shop and checking covers gave me just the same feeling of satisfying happiness as searching books in the library of Sagano Annex. At the same time, however, there was an agreeable resistance similar to the fulfillment of energy and tension which I got while sailing the ship or checking the inventory of the mud wall storehouse. There was a specific reason why I thought that publishing business would be the inborn duty of mine. At least, I think so now. I felt that I should appreciate my encounter with such a work. I felt like pouring all that I got into it. I wanted to pour all of my learning, my practical knowledge of business and the resources under my discretion into this publishing business. I had to go to the main residence of the Suminokura every day. I had to manage the mud wall storehouse and supervise the shipment and purchasing of rice and timber during my father's absence. I tried to be honest about my decision that I swore to myself when I left my study room in Sagano. I knew that the severity of the practical business gave me the tension of my mind and would nourish my heart, but sometimes I heard the customary voice saying, "Why are you wasting your time in such a place contrary to your talent and ability?" Especially when I was auditing accounts or negotiating the trade, the more tired I became physically, the more frequently the voice came to my ears. But I clenched my teeth and resisted my own timid voice. "If I get away from here now, I would find neither real fulfillment nor proper composure at all even in Sagano Annex. I know too much about that, because I understood it deeply and then got out of my study room." So I persuaded myself. But publishing started and more often I went to the publishing shop, and then I felt strangely less pain of this kind than before. Doing practical works made me feel like being engaged in learning with composure at the same time. Even when I was checking the inventory in the mud wall storehouse in the main residence of the Suminokura, such a feeling of emptiness or uneasiness as before never attacked me. This publishing business made me think that other works of mine seemed to be more meaningful and productive. In those days, people around me said that I was more practical and able than my father. My father stood right in front of the work like a Red Deva and spurred workers of the Suminokura. He said that the work should be to open the profits of many people. In fact in order to do so, he himself traveled various regions. But about the small details he left his business mostly in the charge of his head clerks. Sometimes, my father only conceived of a business idea, and then left all means, personnel and resources in the hand of his chief clerk. About the Annan, rare and precious Annan Vietnam trade, my father Ryoui conceived of it, met Nanban foreigners, researched the Annan situations and started the ship buildings. But Yaheiji the boatman did all the practical works and I made the inboard rules and wrote letters to the King of Annan by myself. However, my father wasn't indifferent to the trade. On the contrary, in a sense he looked more keenly at the whole perspective than me. But ordinary people didn't notice it very much. That was why it was rumored that I was more capable than my father only because I obtained various knowledges in a short period of time after I was engaged in the business. But anyone would never know about my pain that my mind was torn apart into two and I could stay in neither one of them. In contrast with my father's grand confidence toward his work and his daring way of working, nobody knew how much I felt inferior to my father. And about the publishing business of this time, people looked at it rather with expectation than with curiosity, and said to each other that I hit my stride toward my work. I only wrote to my father in Bitchuu briefly that I purchased a publishing store in Daikokumachi and I had to send a person to Bitchuu or Minou in order to buy paper. Of course my father wasn't unrelated to our academic family tradition, but he didn't show a big interest in publishing, which made me feel rather relieved. I never dabbled in the publishing business only for fun. However, relative to overall the Suminokura's business, it essentially belonged only to me. On the one hand it stirred up my inner motivation without any regard for the bottom line, but on the other hand there was faint concern in the corner of my mind whether it made me sit away from the genuine business of the Suminokura and escape into my hobby. That was why I did my best without cutting corners at my works piling up in the main residence of the Suminokura. When I finished my work in the evening and left for the publishing shop in Daikokumachi, Kizaemon the chief clerk said to me, "Mr. Yoichi, you are really a hard worker. It's great. Everyone would have one time in his life when it is unbearable interesting for him to do his works. Mr. Yoichi. Now is the time for you, isn't it? In such time, anything you do will go well. I am very envious of you." "Envious of me?" I looked at Kizaemon's face as if I would have asked a question in return. And I would want to explain my own feeling about it. "No, it isn't like that. My mind kept a bare balance through this publishing business. It is nothing but an excuse of my timidity. . ." These words were on the tip of my tongue, but I kept silent at last. "Who the hell understands my feeling? There is no genuine place in my work. I can't find any calm comfortableness in my learning. In the end of my struggle, I have finally found a safe living land in publishing books. If I say something like this, people will think that I am an eccentric. That's all." So I thought. Then I answered to Kizaemon, "Well, well. I have only expanded my works. I am good for nothing at all." Setting the sequence of my feeling aside, as the publishing of the song book Utaibon was going on, I felt myself being absorbed in it moment by moment. Souji the paper dealer was also a kind of freak. As I was devoted in publishing, he visited the shop every day as if he were infected with my enthusiasm. He checked thoroughly the condition of the printing, the fixing of Sumi ink, the state of stacking of colored paper and the effect of Gubiki paper which was brush dyeing paper with white ground oyster shell. And it was said that he pointed out one by one to craftsmen saying that the arrangement of letters wasn't good or that there were blurs in Sumi inking when I wasn't there as if he were responsible for the publishing. "Dear Souji is a good man. I know. But he, getting really absorbed, thrust his nose into other's jobs so persistently that he wouldn't be able to do what he wants." So Surugaya Soujin said, as if to say as much as to say that Souji's attitude like that was rather irritating. But, on the contrary, I felt like saying thank Souji because he made up for the shortcomings of my intention, because he drew out clearly what I couldn't show enough to project fully in my mind and because he brought me the real things and explained me about them. In the course of finishing the publication of the song book Utaibon called Yashima, I felt that I was more fascinated with the publishing business than before. In the end, I could see the printed paper fresh from the day's press in my mind when I woke up in the morning. I was impatient to go to the publishing shop in Daikokumachi. To get my work done in the main residence of the Suminokura was frustrating. When I got free and found spare time, I went to the publishing shop. It was the following spring when the song book, Utaibon, Yashima, and the dance book, Maihon, Fushimi Tokiwa, were completed. I sent copies right away to the old Harada and Torikai Dousetsu. The old Harada said that he was glad that colored paper was exquisitely beautiful. Additionally he pointed out that there were more blurs in Sumi ink printing than in wooden block printing and that letter types were uneven, but he gave us the instruction of the way how to adjust them just as he did in his work place. Anyway this song book, Utaibon, became the talk of the town among court nobles, Samurai warrior families and town people. It was said that especially the arabesque pattern with a mica solution undercoat of the cover page of the dance book, Maibon, won applause in the Emperor's Palace. It was the design of Souji the paper dealer. We borrowed the arabesque pattern which was originally used in the repair work of Heike Noukyou, or scriptures dedicated by Tairano Kiyomori, ordered by the Fukushima. "To tell the truth, I knew that a good reputation would be got from the first. Nowadays, not only court nobles but also town people want a song book, Utaibon, which isn't unsophisticated one but a dynastic preferred and fascinating book with beautiful ornaments." Souji said so while supping sake. We were celebrating the completion of the song book, Utaibon, in Sagano Annex. "Now you can understand what I said since before. People want not only a simple book only for reading, but also a book which, when it is placed beside, wafts its beauty faintly just like burned incense." So Souji explained as usual, mentioning many famous names. I felt that what Souji said was just my feeling. But I was surprised, in a way, at the fact that it was very easy and quick to publish books by using movable printing types. Even for this thin book, if it had been printed with ordinary wooden blocks, could it ever have been published with this limited time and cost? Even though the cover was decorated with a mica solution undercoat, or kira-suri, and even though colored paper painted with whitewash was used, thanks to the use of movable printing types I could sell it at this price. I thought so. Then by chance I conceived a plan of publishing a more voluminous book in the same method. That should be a beautiful book. And at the same time it should be kept day and night at hand and it could be read as if in a dream. I dreamed of such a book. Naturally at first I thought of Imperial Court Stories. Following Amakusa Version of Heikemonogatari, or Tale of the Heike, and Youhouin Temple Version of Taiheiki, or Record of the Great Peace, I wanted to publish Masukagami, or Clear Mirror, or New Version of Heikemonogatari. "What is really needed the most, among stories and histories? What is on earth the voluminous book with many separate volumes?" While thinking of such a thing, I vacantly looked at the darkness of the garden. A hazy moon hung over the bamboo grove which kept silent in deep black. And somewhere the smell of flowers lingered around. At that moment, suddenly it flashed across my mind that I shouldn't necessarily stick to Imperial Court Stories. For example, Tang and Sung history book or story book would be selectable. A book which many people wanted to read and copy, for example, like Shiki, or Records of the Grand Historian of China, would be selectable, wouldn't it? "Did you say something?" Surugaya Soujin sitting beside me asked me so. "No, not really." I shook my head. But once Shiki, or Records of the Grand Historian of China, came up to my mind, it captured my heart so firmly as if it were an incident given by the destiny that I momentarily felt like it would be impossible to think of alternatives. When I talked that idea to Surugaya Soujin a few days later, this timid publisher was so afraid of suffering all the loss by himself that he objected to my idea with expelling saliva from the mouth. I already got the hang of publishing a book. I could gather a lot of carving craftsmen. So it wasn't wise for me to work together any more with Surugaya Soujin who persisted stubbornly in the conventional wooden block printing. Our opinions about publishing Shiki happened to be divided. On this occasion, I told that I would do it as I wanted, and I recommended Surugaya to concentrate mainly upon bookselling business as before. My intention was to publish books. To sell books wasn't my main purpose. I told Surugaya, "You can undertake all the selling of Shiki. But if the burden is too heavy, I will do it on my own responsibility." Of course, Surugaya couldn't have any objection at all. In this way, I was supposed to carry off the publishing of Shiki, or Records of the Grand Historian of China, all by myself only based on my humble experience of publishing the song book, Utaibon. However, I could rely on the skill of Souji the paper dealer. And I already found out the way to request writers studying under Kouetsu to newly design letters for types for publishing Shiki. I knew that Shuuzaburou, who was just promoted to be one of head clerks of the main residence of the Suminokura, was all the time a book enthusiast and I remembered that he often came to me to borrow storybooks. So with the permission of my father, I let Shuuzaburou supervise works in detail during the publishing of Shiki. Shuuzaburou was a fair and alert young man who was familiar with calculation and a favorite of the chief clerk Kizaemon. I turned to Souji for the arrangement of paper, decoration and binding. And I put the actual purchase and of paper and the progress of the carving of types into Shuuzaburou's hands. I was in charge of the re-examination of different versions of Shiki, or Records of the Grand Historian of China, and supervision of the designing of letters, as time would permit. I had used all the time I had, so there was no other way but to cut the time for sleeping. In those days, I never went to bed before dawn. The sounds of rustling leaves from the bamboo grove and the chirping songs of sparrows at dawn were my indispensable companion in daily life. But the universal power of the printing method using movable types could be said to show itself at its best just in the voluminous work like Shiki. Movable wooden types were assembled. Sheets of paper were printed with types. Types were decomposed, selected and reassembled again. After a while, Shuuzaburou, who gradually became to know what to do in the publishing shop, instructed the trial printing and the arrangement of types among craftsmen, and in order to keep in touch with me, he ran, getting soaked with sweat, from Daikokumachi to the main residence of the Suminokira in Nijou. Then I rested my hand off the work, and I pointed out blurs of Sumi ink, specified the positions of letters and corrected misprints to Shuuzaburou. In another dawn, when I was about to go to bed, there were noisy short footsteps along the corridor. It was my old attendant of the main residence. "Just now, it was informed that the Suminokura ship had returned from Annan Vietnam to Nagasaki in safety." When I heard it, I felt like my body suddenly falling down to the floor. "That's it. Yaheiji has realized his wishes at last. That man always told me that only the sea was the man's workplace. "Boy! If you want to do a manly work, you should go out to the sea." So Yaheiji said many times since before. That man has done the manly work as he said. The wind and waves must have been rough. There must have been many awful and hard things in the negotiation with foreign nations. But Yaheiji had done it at last. Yet at that time no one would understand the meaning and danger of visiting Annan Vietnam. The intension and grandness of my father's work remained in hiding. But it might be the same in another way as Lord Taikou tried to govern China and India. There seemed to be the terrific force which was full to the brim. I was engaged in the overseas trade by myself. And I heard that Yaheiji had returned in safety. Then I became to know that such a force was extending all around. But, "What is this force? Is it overflowing equally inside of me?" When I heard of the safe return of the Suminokura ship, in a moment I was filled with such deep emotion. Because it created a totally different situation from what had been told among wealthy merchants of Kyoto and Sakai of the overseas trade like as a fantasy. In fact, rare and precious things from Annan Vietnam which Yaheiji brought here to present to Lord Ieyasu in Edo were talked about for a long time in Kyoto and Osaka and well known to everybody by being skillfully used in stories of that time. I can't forget even now foreign things which were displayed in front of my father in the hall of the main residence of the Suminokura. In front of people who were taking their breath away and waiting to see, Yaheiji took out things one after another from the wooden box. There were crystal, amber gem, sandalwood, woolen cloth, soboku antidiarrheal, waterbuffalo horn, coral gem, raw sugar, wine vin rouge, sharkskin, ivory, rhinoceros horn, yellow silk, white silk, white thread and so on. People let out a sigh or a cheer each time when they looked at the new one. The hall resounded with voices of surprise. I had to carry these things to Edo immediately under the orders of my father. Including things for expressing our thanks, very many gifts were prepared. Of course, I wasn't unwilling to go to Edo. There would be many people for me to meet in Edo. But I was anxious about the publishing of Shiki, or Records of the Grand Historian of China, because only the first volume of it had been published. Shuuzaburou said that he had already understood the work fully. Souji the paper dealer took the responsibility on covering and binding. So it wasn't impossible for me to leave Kyoto. But in the middle of the trip and after the arrival at Edo, my mind always stayed in the publishing shop in Daikokumachi. It was early summer when I returned from Edo. The glaring sun shone over Kyoto every day. A bamboo seller and a peddler merchant were wiping the sweat and resting in the deep shade. It was rumored that there would be a battle scare in Edo. Along the main roads, there was a hectic atmosphere. But Kyoto in that summer was strangely quiet. Only the heat was unbearable, however. Almost of all volumes of Shiki except two volumes had been already published and sold out quickly. Especially among court nobles, the embossed cover which was decorated with a mica solution undercoat had a good reputation. And then new Shiki was said to be added in the list of presents. Souji the paper dealer reported me such a rumor in detail, and said wiping the sweat, "This embossed cover was designed by Soutatsu. Why don't you make a gorgeous and beautiful book using Soutatsu's drawing as a design? Lord Kanze Kokusetsu is admiring very much the colored paper of the song book Utaibon. He said that he wanted you to make a gorgeous song book, and that he would do the revision by himself if you liked. Both Fushimiya and Yodoya asked me several times if it was possible to make a gorgeous and beautiful book. Ancient books aren't available to town people at all. But you could make a much more gorgeous book. So Lord Gotou Shouzaburou said." I heard this story lately. In these two or three years, to gather gorgeous song books and picture scrolls came into fashion among wealthy merchants of Kyoto. When court nobles or Samurai warrior families happened to dispose of such books and scrolls, people competed ruthlessly with each other to get them as soon as possible through connections. I was also full of conceit thinking that I was one of the greatest collectors of books in Kyoto. But at that time, even when I strongly ordered timid Surugaya, someone would usually get the better of me. To say nothing of this fashion of merchants, an intention to make a gorgeous book like the ancient one was moving in me. It already existed in my mind before Souji said to me needlessly. But I anyway needed to borrow Souji's wide knowledge about how to make it actually or about what kind of book would be suitable for that gorgeous one. And I heard that Hon'ami began to write Waka poem scroll papers by request and use Soutatsu Colored Paper. I got some of them and I got so deeply impressed with their delicate and gorgeous beauty that I couldn't say anything for a while. The moment I saw it, I decided to use Soutatsu's drawing in some way in my next publication. And anyhow by making good use of my experience of publishing up to the present, what kind of gorgeous and beautiful book could I make? I felt inclined to ask this question to Hon'ami. I didn't know whether Kouetsu would hear my request or not because he secluded himself up in Seiryouin. I was afraid that it might prove a wasted effort. Nevertheless, I would try to ask him.
The First Voice ----- Hon'ami Kouetsu ----- WatakushiHon'ami Kouetsu (1558-1637) was born in an upper-class merchant family and practiced the family trade of polishing, sharpening and assessing swords. As an artist, he worked in a variety of media, including calligraphy, ceramics, and lacquer ware. He was hailed as one of the three master calligraphers of the Kan'ei period [1624-44]. In no country in the world, the sword has been made an object of such honor as in Japan. It is at once a divine symbol, a knightly weapon, and a certificate of noble birth. "The girded sword is the soul of the samurai." It is "the precious possession of lord and vassal from times older than the divine period." Japan is "the land of many blades." The gods wore and wielded two-edged swords. From the tail of the dragon was born the sword which the Sun-goddess gave to the first emperor of Japan. By the sword of clustering clouds of heaven Yamato-Dake subdued to the East. By the sword the mortal heroes of Japan won their fame. The forging of these swords occupied the smith sixty days. No artisans were held in greater honor than the sword -makers, and some of them even rose to honorary rank. The forging of blade was often a religious ceremony. . . The names, or marks and dates, of famous makers were always attached to their blades, and from the ninth to the fifteenth century were sure to be genuine. In later times, the practice of counterfeiting the marks of well-known makers came into vogue. Certain swords considered of good omen in one family were deemed unlucky in others. The Japanese sword-blade averages about an inch in which, about seven-eighths of which is backing of iron, to which a face of steel is forged along its entire length. The back, about one-fourth of an inch thick, bevels out very slightly to near the center of the blade, which then narrows to a razor edge. The steel and the forging line are easily distinguished by a cloudiness on the mirror-like polish of the metal. An inch and a quarter from the point, the width of the blade having been decreased one-fourth, the edge is ground off to a semi-parabola, meeting with back, which is prolonged, untouched; the curve of the whole blade, from a straight line, being less than a quarter of an inch. The guard is often a piece of elaborate workmanship in metal, representing a landscape, water-scene, or various emblems. The hilt is formed by covering the prolonged iron handle by shark-skin and wrapping this with twisted silk. The ferrule, washers, and cleats are usually inlaid, embossed, or chased in gold, silver, or alloy. The rivets in the center of the handle are concealed by designs, often of solid gold, such as the lion, dragon, cock, etc. (The Mikado's Empire: A History of Japan ---from the Mythological Age to Meiji Era--- by William E. Griffis)The Second Voice ----- Tawaraya Soutatsu ----- OreWind God and Thunder God Screens A pair of two-fold screens Ink and color on gold-foiled paper Proportions: 169.8 x 154.5 cm (each) Edo Period (17th Century) National Treasure(Kenninji Temple, Kyoto) Although these screens bear no inscription or seal, there is no doubt that they are the work of Tawaraya Soutatsu (?-1643). The fact that these screens were replicated in works by Ogata Kourin and, later, Sakai Hoitsu evidences their belief that these were painted by Soutatsu. The gold foil background makes the painted figures stand out while acting as an effective decorative element in itself. The gold foil also acts to produce a sense of unlimited depth. The masterful use of the gold background medium not only as a decorative motif but also to create a boundless space within which the demonic deities float makes these screens true masterpieces. Soutatsu portrayed the 10th century court nobles in a traditional manner using fine, even lines and stylized faces. He updated his composition, however, by using a technique known as Tarashikomi, in which darker pigments are applied over still-wet lighter colors, resulting in softly mottled, abstract landscape forms.The third voice ----- Suminokura Soan or Yoichi ----- WatashiSuminokura Soan (1571-1632) is a wealthy merchant and art connoisseur. He published Sagabon, Saga books, also called Kouetsubon or Suminokurabon in collaboration with his friends, the painter and calligrapher Hon'ami Kouetsu and the painter Tawaraya Soutatsu. They were characterized by good quality, tinted paper decorated with various patterns and often printed with mica Kirara, and graceful calligraphy usually printed with movable wooden type. Designs included traditional patterns such as the Marujishi round lion and the Hishimon lozenge pattern as well as innovative designs using butterflies, Ume plum blossoms, deer, etc. Because Kana letters were used in the text, Sagabon are said to be the first Japanese style printed books. The earliest known example is the 1608 publication of Ise Monogatari Tales of Ise, which contains one of the earliest non-Buddhist illustrations. Only Shin Kokinshuushuu is thought to be based on the genuine calligraphy of Kouetsu, one of the greatest calligraphers of the day. Other classics published as sagabon include Houjouki, Tsurezuregusa, as well as the Nou songbooks of the Kanze School. Publications of sagabon continued up to the 1620's. Soan was Suminokura Ryoui's son. Ryoui obtained a formal trade license, from Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and managed overseas trading operations, importing goods from southern Vietnam. After Hideyoshi's death in 1598, Ryoui became a trusted advisor and supplier to Tokugawa Ieyasu, who became shogun in 1603, and continued his overseas operations, with a shuinjou granted by Ieyasu. Between 1605 and 1611, he also played a major role in constructing canals and making the rivers of Kyoto more navigable, so as to better ship goods to, from, and within the city. These included the Tenryuu, Takase, Fujigawa, and Hozu rivers; in exchange for his efforts, the Suminokura business was granted extended shipping rights within the city. Soan followed in his father's footsteps, and took over the family business after his death, enjoying considerable prosperity.
If you want to read the whole story in English, please make a contact to me or to the publisher in Japan.