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T A I R A---A T S U M O R I

HISTORY OF THE TAIRA CLAN | SLAIN HEROES | THE LAST BATTLE | BEST DESCENDANTS

 

Taira Tsunemasa

Taira Atsumori

 

Taira Atsumori was 17 years old when his clan went to the last battle against the Minamotos.
His dad and elder brothers were all fighting, so was his famous grandpa; in his family there were
Taira Tadanori, Taira Tsunemori, Taira Tsunemasa, and Taira Tsunetoshi, besides himself.

 

 

 

 

Taira Atsumori's fiance, Lady Tamaori, had gotten some bad feelings before he came to say he's going to the war. She tried to prevent what was inevitable; whether they wanted to or not, all people named Taira didn't have the luxury to choose to be non-combatants those days. Taira Atsumori went to war thinking it's impossible for the 'uncivilized' Minamoto men to beat excellent Taira warriors, such as his dad and his brother Taira Tsunemasa. But they lost big time. All that Atsumori did was trying to get to one of the Taira ships before the Minamotos got him.

 

 

 

 

But he just got to the shoreline when a Minamoto soldier challenged him to combat. He was a veteran, obviously a big 'no' for him to fight against. So Atsumori resigned to his fate and told the man to take his head as he must. The man was Kumagai Naozane, an experienced soldier. He didn't recognize the kid, but the rich armor and other stuff on him told of Taira nobility.   Kumagai had a son around Atsumori's age, and he couldn't help thinking what if his son got into the same situation as Atsumori was in now. He wanted to spare Atsumori's life even if just because he was so handsome, but his comrades were approaching, and he knew it was his duty to the Minamoto clan to kill whoever was in the enemy's shoes. So he did it without looking; he was crying.

 

 

After Atsumori died, he remembered that even though the kid did say his name it didn't ring a bell.
Apparently he had never been in battle before. So Kumagai looked over Atsumori's belongings, and
found the famous flute named 'Little Twig' ( 'Saeda' in Japanese) -- even if no one had seen the thing,
they knew it was Taira Tadanori's, who got it as a gift from Emperor Toba,
and which had been handed down to his son Taira Tsunemori, who in turn gave it to
his youngest son. The discovery broke Kumagai's heart even more.
Only the night before he sat outside his camp, listening to someone playing a series of songs
at the enemy's camp; it was Taira Atsumori, and he remembered how good the flutist was.

 

 

 

 

After this incident, Kumagai retired
from the job and became a monk.
  And Taira Atsumori was made a legend,
simply for being beautiful and dying young.

 

Taira Atsumori's fiancee is the inventor of ..... you'll never guess what.
It's so ubiquitous in Japan, and seems like an ordinary object.
Click here for story and pictures.

 

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