After Kanbei burst out of Himeiji Castle, he reached Mt. Kurihara(栗原山), in where he heard Hanbei secluded himself in a temple.
Kanbei: « It looks like going to see a lady who I miss. »
It is said that Hanbei is small for samurai, has a soft face, prefers books to martial arts and has been absorbed in reading since his childhood.
Kanbei: « That point is similar to me. »
Kanbei’s heart thumped.
Kanbei stepped into a garden in a temple.
There was a sharp sound by hitting swords and battle shout.
Kanbei: « Where? »
Kanbei looked around.
« Stop it!! »
« No question!! »
« Ouch!! »
As soon as Kanbei felt a urgent air, he dashed toward where voices were coming.
He found a small man surrounded by three study samurai.
Kanbei: (Is he Hanbei?)
Kanbei narrowed his eyes.
Kanbei: (I heard Takenaka Hanbei is small. That man is also small. But, he looks like a monkey. Is he really Hanbei?)
While Kanbei was wondering, an assassin swung a sword.
A small man guarded himself with Tsuba(鍔)/the end of a grip of sword, push back and escaped toward a rock wall with a close call.
The surroundings were narrowed.
Kanbei: (I can’t stand watching anymore.)
Although Kanbei didn’t have any confidence for an one-on-one battle, he built his courage.
He picked up some small stones at his feet.
Kanbei: « Over here! »
He threw stones towards the three samurai.
A stone hit a Samurai A’s nose. With bleeding, he covered his face and knelt down.
Samurai B: « Fxxk you!! »
Samurai B dashed toward Kanbei with holding a sword high over his head.
Kanbei: (I can see)
Samurai B got so mad which left himself wide open.
So, Kanbei figured out how Samurai B was going to move next.
Kanbei surprisingly stayed calm, fend off the attack, swept samurai B’s feet and stroke samurai B’s neck with his elbow.
Kanbei pulled out his sword and faced with the last samurai C.
Samurai C raised his sword above his head and gradually approached towards Kanbei.
Cold sweat fell down from Kanbei’s armpits without a break.
Kanbei’s lips dried out. Chills run down Kanbei’s spine.
Kabeni: (I want to be alive.)
At that time, « My looooooooooord! Where are you? ».
Another two samurai went up a slope.
« Hereeeeeeeeeee!, I’m hereeeeeeeeeeeeee! »
The monkey-look man shouted loudly. It seemed the two samurai were his men.
The samurai who fought with Kanbei figured out it was getting against them.
« Shit! »
They tut and run away into bushes.
« You helped me out. You have grits. »
The monkey-look man over-familiarly patted Kanbei’s shoulder.
Just before now, although he was on the brink of dead or alive, he already looked nonchalant.
Monkey-look man: « I’m here to see Takenaka Hanbei. But, I couldn’t. Instead, I was ambushed. This is the most stupid thing I’ve ever done. »
Kanbei: « Aren’t you Hanbei, you are? »
Monkey-look man: « What? You come to see Hanbei? It’s a bummer. I’m not Hanbei. Hanbei is not here, Mt. Kurihara. »
Kanbei: « He isn’t here? »
Monkey-look man: « No. »
Kanbei: « Are you sure? »
Monkey-look man: « Sure. Sure. I heard from monks. Azai Nagamasa(浅井長政) asked him to be a military advisor. He already left here. We are a little too late. »
Kanbei: « ……………. »
Monkey-look man: « I wish I came here earlier. »
The monkey-look man looked disappointed.
He looked around 30. But, he looked very old because of too much wrinkles on his face.
It’s hard to say he had a dignified air. But, he had quickly moving eyes like a squirrel and somewhat charms.
Kanbei: « May I have your name? »
Monkey-look man: « Oh, I forget to introduce myself. I cannot say loudly in Saitō territory. I serve Oda Kazusanosuke Nobunaga(織田上総介)-sama. I’m Kinoshita Tōkichirō(木下藤吉郎). »
Kanbei: « Oda clan’s retainer…… »
Tōkichirō: « You save my life. May I have your name? »
Kanbei: « Kodera Kanbei(小寺官兵衛) »
Tōkichirō: « Kodera? Are you Kodera living in Gochaku Castle(御着城) in Harima(播磨) province? »
Kanbei: « No. »
Kanbei shook his head in the negative.
Kanbei: « My lord gave me my last name ‘Kodera’. I’m a son of Kuroda Mototaka(小寺職隆). »
Tōkichirō: « I see. You are Kodera in Himeji Castle. »
Tōkichirō seemed to know his father’s name.
Tōkichirō: « Umm…Is it right your grandfather run eye drop shop? »
Kanbei: « You know well. »
Tōkichirō: « Your lord, Kodera, seems to want to recruit Mr.Takenaka Hanbei. »
Kanbei: « You say Mr.Takenaka Hanbei was recruited by Azai. »
Tōkichirō: « Are you going to visit him? »
Kanbei: « Yes. »
Tōkichirō: « You don’t give up yet. »
Kanbei: « He must be the man who can change my life. I cannot give up. »
Tōkichirō: « Change your life? »
Kanbei: « Yes. »
Tōkichirō: « Interesting. Anyway, I don’t want to be here anymore. Too dangerous. Leave here right now, while we are alive. »
Kabei and Tōkichirō said goodbye each other at the foot of Mt.Kurihara.
Honestly to say, if I were Kanbei, I would run for dear life.
I’m a type like Shoichi Yokoi(横井庄一) who hadn’t known WWII was already over and hid alone in a jungle in Guam for 28 years.
Shoichi Yokoi returned to Japan in 1972. His words got popular.
« It is with much embarrassment, but I have returned (to Japan). »
Here is Mt.Kurihara in where Takenaka Hanbei secluded himself.
Click Here: Neighborhood of Mt.Kurihara on Google Map
Yōrō Railway Yōrō Line(養老鉄道養老線)
1 hour walk from Mino Takada Station(美濃高田駅)