Bunraku for the warrior: Under the sakura tree

Friday Flash! 

A love for Japanese culture, theatre, music and anime!

Here it is:

 

Bunraku for the warrior: Under the sakura tree

 

The wind gently blew through the fragile blooming branches of the cherry blossom tree. Its pink flowers danced in the air for a little while before falling on the covered with white moss phlox ground.

Yoshiro slowly pulled out his katana. The blade cut one tiny pink petal into half. His black eyes were fixated on the figure before him.

The Dragon Lord Ryuu was smiling at him. His playful grin showed sharp, demonic teeth. His eyes glimmered in yellow; half of his face was covered in golden scales.

His black katana was already in his right hand, its tip resting on the flowered ground; the blade reflecting the other man’s figure.

The smooth touch of the shamisen* accompanied by taiko drums filled the vast surrounding with ancient motives.

Yoshiro took battle position. He couldn’t risk. He raised his sword holding it with both hands. His grip was strong.

Ryuu tilted his head back and yelled at him:

-         Sa! Kakatte koi!**

Yoshiro ran towards the Dragon Lord with a roar.

They fought with equal skills, performing a dance of sharp blades and fast moves.

Neither of them could win.

As the sun threatened to set soon, Yoshiro stepped back, breathing heavy.

The dragon was not tired. He only hissed at his rival.

-         Are you afraid of a dragon little warrior? – He asked.

Yoshiro didn’t reply. He charged at Ryuu again.

But as he did something happened.

Ryuu’s body started twisting and growing large, becoming a blend between green and golden, shaping itself differently, transforming into a beast- a real dragon.

His nostrils burned hot air; his eyes were two yellow sapphires.

The demon- dragon laughed at him.

Yoshiro jumped back. His headband fell off.

Time slowed down as black eyes pierced into yellow with no fear.

A warrior does not feel fear.

Yoshiro closed his eyes and emptied his mind. Then he opened them and looked at the long narrow path leading down the valley, straight to the mountain covered in clouds- his way home.

Home he thought while removing his red plate armor and tossing it aside.

With the power of the wind captured on his blade, he made one final battle dance.

His body moved light, his mind was clear, his katana forged with fury.

The Dragon Lord Ryuu roared one last time and stroke with sharp golden nails.

A hit, a piercing sound, a choke, a fall, than nothing. Silence.

And silence was all there left on the little Sakura hill.

Yoshiro landed on the ground behind Ryuu’s back. His katana was crimson red with the color of the dragon’s blood.

He turned around with his hair in his eyes to only see nothing but a man lying on the ground, dead.

The battle was over.

Yoshiro had earned his returning home.

He smiled.

 

*           *            *

 

There were loud applauses.

Red confetti flew in the air as the two-faced puppet of the Dragon Lord fell down.

-         And the legend of Yoshiro the righteous ended with a victory! The man who searched for freedom- The shamisen player on the right pulled the strings gently and dramatically- found his way home, becoming a hero!- Finished the chanter and there were more applauses.

 

The Bunraku for the warrior ended.

 

 

 

*shamisen is a three- stringed Japanese musical instrument played with a plectrum called a bachi.

** “Sa” is usually an interjection used before some actions or at the top of a sentence. It is used when inviting someone (as what’s the case in the story); in hesitation on a response; when expression determination; when surprised, pleased or confused.

Kakkate koi!”   in the story means “Come at me!” in meaning of come attack me. It is often used this way in many Japanese movies and animes.

Bunraku is a form of traditional Japanese puppet theatre.