Hatsune no Tsuzumi

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First sound of hand drum by Ensho

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 Long before Admiral Perry forced Japan to open the country our ancestors in Edo period enjoyed no-war-state for more than two hundred years. Those days samurai stood top of the hierarchy but without war they passed rather lazy life. This does not apply lower class of samurai but at least in the high-class samurai their major task was to find a way how to kill their time. 

 Among those, there was a lord who was known for collecting things that were especially peculiar, strange and eccentric. You can easily imagine how hard to serve such kind of lord if you were his servant. To the servants his hobby was a cause of headache. 

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gKichibei? Long time no see. How have you been?h
gYes my lord, I traveled in the West for a month. Oh, what are these? Your collection?h
Kichibei, a curio dealer, paid his respects to the lord and found various objects scattered on the verandah.
gYes, they are." replied the lord proudly
gIt is sunny today, so I am airing them. I allow you to take a close look at them.h
gThank you, my lord. What is there in this tiny box? h
gOpen it.h
gNothing in here. Just white cotton. I can see nothing.h
gNor can I. Ifve never seen it since I purchased it. Nobody can see with naked eye.h
gWhat is it, lord?h
gA head of flea cut into eight pieces.h
gOh,h
gNo daimyo has this.h
gWell, Ifm sure of it, lord. And what is this? This long cloth?h
gPut it on your head and fasten the string.h
gLike this?h
gYes, thatfs it. You look great!h
gWhat is this, lord?h
gThatfs fundoshi of Kume-no-sennin".
Fundoshi is a loincloth and Kume-no-sennin is said an immortal who was famous for his supernatural powers but he lost his power and fell down out of air when he was attracted by naked leg of a young, beautiful maiden.

 Kichibei put off the fundoshi from his head hastily.
gNo, lord, Ifm not happy if I look great with wearing fundoshi on my head. And what is this?h
gItfs a dried snot of tengu."
Tengu is a kind of goblin having long huge nose. The lord looked Kichibei's eyes and said,
"They say it is good for any disease.h
Kichibei bowed in straight face.
gYou have real collection. I never saw such collection in my life actually.h
gSure. By the way, you found something interesting in the West?h
Quickly Kichibei started to talk.
gYes, my lord. I came to show you my biggest finding. You canft believe it! I obtained hatsune-no-tsuzumi.h
gOh, thatfs interesting. With or without origami (a paper to guarantee the authenticity)?h
gWithout, I am afraid, lord.h
gWithout origami, you cannot claim it hatsune no tsuzumi."
gNevertheless, this is absolutely right one. Please have a look.h
Kichibei handed the lord an old, slightly stained, tsuzumi (Japanese hand drum) and continued eloquently,
gAs you know, hatsune-no-tsuzumi was used originally in the dynasty of Emperor Kammu when the Imperial Palace prayed for rain by using this tuszumi, made by the skin of a fox couple, male and female, aged over 1000 years old. Fox has Yin principle therefore when they drummed it against the sun, yang, they reacted each other that made a rain. People cried for joy --  since then it has been called hatsune-no-tsuzumi.h
Interested, the lord asked Kichibei.
gHave you ever witnessed any miracle?h
gWell, lord, certainly. This tsuzumi has a magical power of fox and when you play it anybody nearby will be possessed by the fox.h
gIs it? Thatfs strange. OK, Ifll tryh
The lord took the tsuzumi and tapped it. 
"Kwoon!" Strangely enough, Kichibei yelped.
gWhatfs up Kichibei?h
gI felt like dreamed. I donft remember anything, lordh
gReally? But you yelped when I tapped this tsuzumi. You donft remember?h
gNot at all, lord. I must have been possessed by the fox.h
gThatfs interesting! Ifll play this before my servants and make them yelp. How much is this?h
gWell, 100-gold, lord.h
gGood. Come to collect later.h
gThank you very much, lord.h
Kichibei withdrew and chuckled himself.
gJust too good! But my plan is not completed yet. Now I have to coax Mr. Sandayu. "

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"Excuse me, sir"
Kichibei visited the chief retainer, Sandayu.
"Hey, Kichibei, itfs been a long time.h
gYes sir. Ifve been the West these days.h
gHave you? And you visited the lord?h
gYes sir. He aired his collection.h
gThat means, he made you wear the fundoshi of Kume-no-Sennin?h
gExactly, sir.h
The two signed deeply. Sandayu said,
gI assume that you delivered him another stupid thing again?h
gYes sir. I sold him hatsune-no-tsuzumi.h
gThatfs impossible! Thatfs fairy tale, you know well,h
After a cough, Kichibei said cunningly.
gWell, actually, I bought it at flea market.h
gHow about origami? Didnft he ask about origami?h
gYes sir. But I successfully smoothed over it. He asked if it has any magical power and I told that when you play the tsuzumi anybody nearby would be possessed by the fox. so he tried and I yelped.h
gWhat? You yelped? Did you do so far?h
gFor the sake of my business, sir. By the way, I sold it for 100-gold, but he would doubt when nobody yelps except me, so I need your favor. Could you also yelp before him?h
gHow dare! I am samurai. Samurai canft do such absurd thing!h
gPlease. If you help me Ifll pay you, well, see, a gold for a yelp.h
gA gold for a yelp? Hum, not bad. But if the lord taps continuously?h
gI donft think so. But then, how about this? Over 50 yelps, we divide the profit 40 to 60. Ifll give you 40 percent. OK?h
gDone. But I canft do that in sober mind, " Sandayu shouted for servant. "Hey, bring me a cup of sake.h

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With help of sake, Sandayu went to the lord, shamelessly.
gMy lord, I heard from Kichibei you purchased something interesting called hatsune-no-tsuzumi,h
gYes I did, Sandayu. Look at this. In a look it seems ordinary tsuzumi, but it has strange power. See,h
As soon as the hand of the lord tapped the tsuzumi Sandayu uttered strange sound, "Kwooon!".
gHey, Sandayu! You yelped!h
gReally? I remember nothing, just like I dreamed.h
gStrange! Well, Ifll try again. How about this?h
The lord began to tap the tsuzumi on and on, "Kwooon, Kwon, kwon, kwon, kwon...."Sandayu yelped busily.
gOK, thatfs enough. Tell Kichibei come to collect his money.h
gYes, my lord.h

 

 

gWell, howfs going sir?h
Kichibei asked Sandayu expectantly.
gHew! I could count until 50 times but not after that. Exhausted, just exhausted" said Sandayu panting,
"Go and get money. He is waiting.h
gOh, yes, Mr. Sandayu. Thank you, Thank you very much, sirh
Cheerfully Kichibei went to the lord.

 

 

gHey, Kichibei. This tsuzumi is really strange. I made Sandayu hear this sound and he yelped. He seemed possessed by the fox. However," the lord continued,


"Ifm not convinced completely. You and Sandayu yelped, but... well, now, you play this before me.h
gI, Ifm sorry, lord. But I have never played such noble instrument in my life. I have no skill at all. Please forgive me, my lord.h
gIt doesnft matter good or bad. Just tap it. Now.h
gWell,h
Kichibei reluctantly took the tsuzumi from the hand of the lord and thumped it.
gKwoooon!h
gMy lord!h
gWhat?h
gYou yelped!h
gReally? I donft remember, feels like dreamed.h
gOh...h
gNow Ifll pay you. Here take it.h
gThank you very much my lord  ...... Hey lord! I told you the payment 100-gold. But here is only 1-gold.h
gThatfs it - reduced the fee of my tapping tsuzumi and Sandayufs yelping.h

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