Shizuka Gozen / 静御前
This is a story about discord of Minamoto brothers*1 back in 1185.
Yoritomo (the first Shogun who founded Kamakura Shogunate) ordered his soldiers to capture his younger brother Yoshitsune and his lover Shizuka Gozen. The couple had to separate from each other in mountains of Yoshino (located in today’s Nara prefecture) because lady couldn’t pass through the mountains due to strict custom in this era. Unfortunately, Shizuka was caught by the soldiers and sent to Kamakura where Yoritomo wielded his power.
Shizuka Gozen was well-known traditional dance performer for her beautiful skills.
One day, Yoritomo forced Shizuka to show her performance to deity of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu (Shinto shrine) even if she didn’t want to.
Following is the Waka*2 she chanted while dancing: That was the one Yoshitsune wrote for her.
Shi-zu ya Shi-zu
Shi-zu no O-da-ma-ki
Mu-ka-shi wo I-am-ni
“My dear Shizu, Shizu,
You are so beautiful like Odamaki*3”
He always repeated saying so.
Wish we were together
Just like before. The language of flower of Odamaki is “Fortitude for winning”.
No matter how hard she was among enemies, she expressed her strong will and love for Yoshitsune.
The master of dance also accomplished martial art of Naginata*4.
Reference image (source: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura)
*1 Very famous samurai clan
*2 Very short poem consists of 31 syllables divided into 5 lines : From the first to the last ones, 5-7-5-7-7 syllables.
*4 Long bar with sharp blade attached on the top. Compared to samurai sword for male, this arm has more advantage for protection due to its length.