12. Thunder talks to spirit
A pair of back-scratcher called Magonote, grandson’s hands in Japanese, stored at
the Awashima Shrine. The priest, Saiki Tokuzaemon Yoshitada who saw the figure of
Magonote holding the lightning did not leave any details in the diary. The latter priests
who inherited the Magonote learned that Tachibana Masayuki, who left it, was Yui
kakibenosuke Tachibana Shosetsu. He led the Keian case in the Keian 4th year (1651),
that is, a revolt against the Shogunate, and he was a person who killed himself
in the following year. It is thought that Chuya found in words “That was not lightning,
but Chuya’s spirit” in Tadayoshi’s diary must be Marubashi Chuya, who was a conspiracy
member of the Keian case.
It was Chuya’s spirit, what did that mean? Tadayoshi did not described it in his diary.
It has been said as follows; When Yoshitada climbed up the back mountain with Tachibana,
Marubashi Chuya had already been knocked out and should not have been in this world, so
Tachibana talked with Chuya’s spirit through the lightning and knew Chuya’s death as well
as the destruction of the coterie who caused the case together with Tachibana.
For this reason, he would go out of this shrine and return to Suruga to kill himself.
The message from priest to priest gradually turned into something like rumors and at last
legend such as “Magonote brought thunder”, “Magonote fired lightning”, and “Yui Shosetsu
exploded Edo Castle with Magonote.”. At the same time, it came to be considered a mere
fairy tale that should not have such power.
It was Katsu Yasuyoshi who thought of using the power of Magonote from the point of view
and trying to use it for battle. Katsu told his subordinate to collect not only the Magonote
but also the mysterious legends and rumors in the public. After he focused something that
can be weapons for Meiji government, he was trying to confirm their authenticity. There were
a lot of people saying that the legend in the public was not relied upon, but Katsu’s creed
“When guns and steam ships came to Japan, at first they could not be believed until people
saw them with their own eyes. Don’t think about anything from your own poor insights, and
do not determine anything just by your knowledge, but see and check the real thing. ”
When the priest, Saiki Tarouzaemon Tatsutoki, heard the Katsu’s offer, Tatsutoki showed
Yoshitada’s diary, which describes the Magonote, and also informed Katsu with message among
generations. In fact, no one has ever tried to call for lightning with the Magonote since
Tachibana did it, but the Magonote rather has been held in the back of the main hall in fear.
Katsu asked Tatsutoki to allow him to use the Magonote. Tatsutoki was trying to refuse it
in a roundabout way. But he understood Katsu’s steady characteristics and sincere attitude,
and finally took out the Magonote from the main hall.
Tatsutoki kept Katsu in the precinct, carried two sticks wrapped in off-white cloth, and
handed it over fearfully to Katsu.
Katsu climbed up the back mountain with the Magonote wrapped in cloth together with two
After a while, Tatsutoki, waiting in the precinct, saw a lightning bolt sticking to the
back mountain. I have left the situation at that time in his diary;
“After half an hour when Mr. Katsu climbed up the back mountain, the sky was certainly
darkened and thunder fell on the back mountain. However, contrary to the tremendous lightning,
there was no detonating sound usually being with thunder. After a while, Katsu climed down
the back mountain, and passed back the Magonote wrapped in cloth. When I asked him if it
was useless, Mr. Katsu said, “Sakamoto told me not to use it, it was not a weapon. Both
of two people who played along with Katsu had astonished look, and their mouths were
firmly closed and nothing came out from the mouths. “
Ten months later, there were those who visited the Awashima Shrine in search of the
Magonote that Katsu did not use. It was one of the two subordinates of Katsu, a man who
went up to the back mountain together with Katsu, and the other was a man claiming
16 thoughts on “12. Thunder talks to spirit”
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