L5R : Jade Winds
He is nervous. He can hear the shouts of his squad, as Kokingo succumbs to his wounds after a ferocious battle with several enemy retainers. And yet he must wait, gripping his knife, as he has been taught. Kokingo falls silent, and Nakamuro sees Yazaemon quickly cut off his head, stashing it in a bag at his side. He is frozen, unable to move, until he feels Osato push him from behind. “Go!” she hisses, and he stumbles forward, his knife ready.
Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura
Act 3, Scene 3
Yazaemon’s Sushi Shop
OSATO (HIDA MINATO) and her mother O-BEI (HIDA NAKAMURO) enter, stage right, holding knives and trays of something that could be mistaken for fish (at twenty paces and in the dark). They wear women’s kimonos, and are made-up as women, but OSATO’s flowing mustachios are impossible to ignore. They put the trays on upturned barrels and begin to make “sushi”.
OSATO – Oh, mother, how I wish my wedding day were here! Yasuke is sooo handsome! (She sighs gustily, the ends of her mustachios blowing in the breeze)
O-BEI – Yes. Here he is now.
YASUKE (HIDA KENTARO) enters, bowing to O-BEI and OSATO. YASUKE and OSATO begin to flirt outrageously, OSATO clasping her hands and batting her eyelashes. YASUKE pinches her in a delicate portion of her anatomy, and OSATO barely refrains from decking him. They glare at one another. The watching samurai roar with laughter. O-BEI continues to cut “fish”.
O-BEI – (not even glancing up) Oh no. It’s my layabout of a son, Gonta.
GONTA (HIDA NEGUMI, a rather well-endowed samurai-ko dressed as a man) swaggers in. He grabs his crotch and spits on the floor, and generally hams it up for the jeering crowd.
O-BEI – Gonta, you must go. Your father has banished you from the house. Oh. I fear his wrath.
GONTA – But mother, you must help me! I beg you! (He falls to his knees, dropping his forehead to the floor, and then grabs at his mother’s kimono, which emits a loud “clank”) Oh mother, take pity on your poor son! (He pulls himself hand-over-hand up O-BEI’s kimono, which continues to make suspiciously metallic noises. O-BEI kicks him away, sending him staggering back between YASUKE and OSATO, who are standing with clenched fists, growling insults at each other. They start a bit, and grimly begin to flirt again.)
O-BEI – No, no, I will not give you any money. You will only lose it all at the gambling tables.
GONTA – Ai ai, my own mother will not help me! (GONTA grabs a nearby cup of what might be tea and pours it over his face) Oh mother, look how I weep! (He points at his “tears” and pretends to sob)
O-BEI – Oh, my poor son. Stop, you are breaking my heart. I will give you — (here O-BEI raises his voice to be heard, as the flirting between YASUKE and OSATO has turned violent, and many of the samurai are egging them on) I WILL GIVE YOU YOUR INHERITANCE. DO NOT CRY.
GANTO – THANK YOU MOTHER.
O-BEI hands GANTO a small pouch, still without looking at him. It would clink if YASUKE and OSATO didn’t drown it out. They are having a serious wrestling match, and several of the audience are looking like they might join in.
O-BEI – (now shouting) OH NO, HERE COMES YOUR FATHER. QUICKLY, YOU MUST HIDE THE MONEY.
GANTO, no longer even trying to be heard, looks significantly at the audience, winks, and then shoves the pouch under one of the barrels.
Enter YAZAEMON, blood-stained bag at his side. He is the owner of the sushi shop, husband to O-BEI and father of GANTO and OSATO, and is played by DAIDOJI TAKASHI, a young Crane sent to spend a year on the Wall. He alone looks like he took any care with his costume. He gazes despairingly at YASUKE, who is now bashing OSAKO’s head rhythmically against the floor while other samurai chant the count, and then at GANTO and O-BEI. He swallows visibly, then nerves himself and opens his mouth to speak.
GUNSO HIDA FUJIMURA – (enters stage left) ATTACK! KANNISHIKI!*
YASUKE abruptly stops beating OSATO’s head against the ground, and pulls her to her feet. O-BEI tears off her kimono to reveal heavy armor and grabs for her dai tsuchi. In seconds the stage is clean of actors and audience, except for YAZAEMON. The Crane still stands, mouth open, hand raised, ready to speak. He closes his teeth with a snap, blinks once, then draws his sword and rushes after the rest.
*Shorthand warning that a creature can only be hurt by jade