This is the Kanmon Straits, Dan-no-Ura, the stage where the last sea battle between the Genji and Heike (Taira) clans was waged.
Mimosuso River Park has a view straight to this ancient battlefield. ‘History experience picture stories’ explaining the battle of Dan-no-Ura in an easily understandable way, are performed daily for free.
Kanmon Bridge was built over the modern day Dan-no-Ura, and a space on the riverbank was established as Mimosuso River Park. Monuments and statues related to the Genpei war have been set up around the park…
However, if you take a good look at this statue, you can see that it depicts a hero of the battle, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, showing his back to the enemy!
“The unbeatable Yoshitsune is running away?!”
I wonder what kind of situation the statue is depicting.
Pay close attention to the bicycle you can see behind the statue. (Picture text: Attention!)
Actually, just next to the statue, history experience picture stories are performed daily. (The bicycle is the stage).
There is no need to make a reservation, and the performances are free. If you watch the 10-minute picture story, the mystery will be solved! (Picture text: Come closer, come and see)
This is Ms. Fukuda, the storyteller. Before each performance, using a hand-made map, she explains the complicated tidal streams of the Kanmon Straits that greatly affected the flow of the battle.
Well then, without further ado, it’s the start, the start of the picture scroll story of the Battle of Dan-no-Ura~.
As we will only provide a brief outline today of the scene with the statue, please go in person and have a listen for the full story.
Due to Yoshitsune’s ingenuity, not to mention the changes in the tidal currents of the Straits, the Heike clan’s army was gradually becoming inferior. They’d suffered a succession of defeats to Yoshitsune with the battles of Ichi-no-Tani and Yashima. With years of resentment piling up, and with the aim of turning things around in one shot, the Heike army only took aim at Yoshitsune himself.
“Geeet Yoshitsunee’s heaaad!!!”
However, Yoshitsune was extremely athletic. He moved from boat to boat with nimble jumps, and the Heike army was not able to land one strike of a sword on him.
If you look at the statue, you can tell that Yoshitsune has a relaxed smile on his face.
(Picture text: Hahaha… can you keep up?)
This is the scene known as “Yoshitsune’s eight-boat-leaps”.
As Taira no Tomonori, the Heike clan’s general, follows the distancing sight of Yoshitsune, he realizes they have been defeated again.
(Picture text: Left: Hahaha… Right: I can’t reach Yoshitsune…)
After this you hear the climax of the story sung with Ms. Fukuda’s beautiful voice, but we recommend you go and listen to it live!
There are a total of 7 storytellers who take turns telling the story daily. After the performance, you can get a small present such as a post card.
The smile on Ms. Fukuda’s face is impressive when she says, “I’m truly happy that you listened to my story on this beautiful spot.”
Performances of “the picture scroll of the Battle of Dan-no-Ura” finished on December 25th, 2014. However, from January 8th to June 30th, 2015, the picture stories will depict the upheaval at the end of Edo period with the story “Shinsaku and Ryoma”.
The picture story line-up includes 3 works. During the period from July 1st to August 31st, 2015, you can hear the ghost story of the “Earless Hoichi”, and starting again from September 1st, 2015 until the end of the year, you can again hear the story of the Battle of Dan-no-Ura.
The contents change according to the season, but if you have a chance to visit Shimonoseki, please also come have a look at the ‘historical experience picture stories’!
Location: 1 Mimosukawa-cho, Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://www.city.shimonoseki.yamaguchi.jp/kanko/time_l/kamisibai/index.html (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
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