American Mishima





Honor Knows No Birthright





By Louis Edward Rosas






Samurai Archives Samurai Fiction Contest 2013 Version














            Swift are the winds! Cold and indifferent they breeze through the shifting sands


of time. Such are ages past during a period of great turbulence and tumultuous change.


The year was 1867, Japan. The sun had begun to set on the waning days of the Tokugawa


Shogunate that drew ever nearer to a close. 260 years of self imposed isolation violently


disrupted by cannon fire from Commodore Perry's Flagship at Uraga Harbor ushering in


a state of chaos upon the tranquil island nation. Watched the indignant Samurai from


ashore. It became clear that the ways of old were now in danger of being swept away like


a tidal wave from the West. As such, their entire way of life was threatened with




            During this time, the title of “Hatamoto” (a direct Vassal of the Shogun) was only


bestowed upon a few dedicated foreigners who had come to Japan into the service of the


Tokugawa Shogunate. Not since the time of the first Tokugawa Shogun had such an


honor granted in over 260 years. These brave soldiers of fortune made Hatamoto were


granted generous stipends, lands, retainers, servants, and bestowed Samurai Status in


appreciation for their service to the Shogunate. By accepting such rights and titles, these


few foreign born men would bear the two swords of the Samurai. They would serve the


Shogunate as direct vassals and if necessary die for it. But don't go looking for these


men. History only records three. Like those forgotten by time, this is the story of one


such man; Ashikaga Ginjiro - Hatamoto.


             For one American Southerner Jean-Paul Rainier, it seemed like yesterday that he


looked out over the ships rail of the USS Saratoga as she steamed into Uraga Harbor. He


had missed the call to return home to defend his Confederate State of North Carolina in


what became The War Between The States. It had been so long since he had stepped foot


there, he wouldn't recognize it now knowing the Union Troops had murdered his family


and set his family home and the rest of Fayetteville to the torch during General Sherman's


March to the Sea. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing left and no one to return


home to. For all intents and purposes, Japan had become his home.


            Years of being immersed into the language and culture had served him well. He 


had transformed from a Military Attaché to a trusted Retainer whose expertise in modern


weaponry made him highly sought for. So well adapted, he wore his brown hair in a tied


top knot fashion and dressed the part too. For his dedication to his Lordship Matsudaira


of the Aizu Domain, he was recognized by the 15th Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu. A


high honor he could have never achieved had he served the Confederacy or the Union. He


contemplated such weight of responsibility that came with his newly bestowed title as he


sat in the customary seiza position dressed in the formal Samurai attire of Hakama and


upper Kamishimo as he bowed his head low and his hands joined forward before the


Shogun as he made his decree. As the mantle of his new status the two swords were


presented the Shogun spoke; “From this day forward I declare that this man known as


Jean-Paul Rainier will be now known as Ashikaga Ginjiro. I bestow upon him the rank of




            November, 1867. In the small outer layer fiefdom of Asakage granted to the 3rd 


Branch Family of the Aizu Domain, a celebration dinner was held in the partially restored


main hall of the old stronghold of Kiryu Castle that was situated atop a hill overlooking


the small fief. Seated in a tatami matted room were the newly appointed Hatamoto in the


middle. To Ginjiro's right sat his beautiful new consort the Lady Kasuga who wore an


elaborate Edo-Hairstyle and a red & gold kimono befitting a princess. And to his left sat 


his most trusted Retainer Sir Imagawa Shigeharu along with other Clansmen, servants, &


guests. Seated to the far end was both the Clan's best swordsmen and brother to Lady


Kusaga. He appeared visibly disgruntled dressed entirely in black Hakama and formal


Kamishimo with his avowed protege' Shindou Kogoro simmering at his side.


            As two seated ladies in gray formal kimono played shamisen, the assembled


guests and Clansmen laughed aloud and drank sake when suddenly Sir Matsunaga had


enough. Without warning, Sir Matsunaga threw his sake cup in anger across the room to


declare insult. Instinctively, the two lady shamisen players abruptly stopped playing. The


festive mood within the main hall of Kiryu Castle had come to an sudden halt. All eyes


were now focused on Sir Matsunaga Nobutomo who sat seething in anger.


            Ginjiro sat silently as his trusted Retainer Sir Imagawa arose to confront Sir


Matsunaga's inflamed mutiny. “Sir Matsunaga, what is the meaning of this?” demanded


Sir Imagawa. Sir Matsunaga arose to his feet reaching for his folding fan then pointing it


at Ginjiro and Lady Kusaga. “No! You tell me what is the meaning of this!” demanded


Sir Matsunaga.  Instantly Sir Matsunaga threw down his folding fan and reached for his


sword grip as Lady Kusaga put her hand out. “Brother!” she shouted as Sir Imagawa rose


off his knee to reach for his sword. “Yame!” ordered Ginjiro. “I believe Sir Matsunaga


has something to say,” said Ginjiro. “As a lifelong Retainer of this Branch Family of the


Aizu Clan, I do have something to say. I look around this room and can only find pity and


disgust,” he declared “Pity?” questioned Lady Kusaga.


            Sir Matsunaga looked about the main hall to the seated guests with dire contempt.


“Look at what has become of our Branch Family! Our Clan! And you my dear sister!


What has become of you!” he scolded. “Eh?” exclaimed Lady Kusaga. “Sir Matsunaga,


what are you trying to imply by that?” asked Ginjiro. “As eldest and senior most male


heir of our family, I do not give my consent. Only my contempt! You have somehow


curried favor with our Lord and been given Samurai status within a most prestigious


Branch Family of the Aizu Clan,” slighted Matsunaga. Ginjiro understanding Sir


Matsunaga's objections sat in restraint. “I have asked for nothing. Everything bestowed


upon me has been in the opinion of our Lord most graciously earned,” said Ginjiro. “So


be it. As impressive a feat for such a barbarian as yourself, you have not impressed me


in the least nor does your mere presence within our house or with my dear sister go


without offense. In fact, your mere acceptance within this house is an affront to my status


as a Samurai Now it seems anyone can be Hatamoto!” mocked Sir Matsunaga. Ginjiro


attempted to speak: “I respectfully understand your objections but I assure you...”


“Assure me what akaoni?” mocked Sir Matsunaga. “You bastard! How dare you defy our


Lord's sanction and His Excellency's decree!” scolded Sir Imagawa.“No, how dare you!”


replied Sir Matsunaga. Lady Kusaga could no longer sit idly by without one last attempt


to reason with her indignant elder brother. “Brother, why make disharmony amidst our


Clan? Our Lord has accepted His Excellency's decree,” reasoned Lady Kusaga. “He


accepted it. Not I,” he replied. “Know your place man!” shouted Sir Imagawa. “It's


alright. Let him speak. I want to hear his stinging rebuke so I may further understand,”


said Ginjiro.




            Sir Matsunaga arose from his seated position adjusting his short sword tied to his


waist before he addressed the seated guests. “It is because of such decrees that it has


become apparent that there is no longer any point in being a Samurai when anyone can


become Samurai. The Age of the Sword is over,” declared Sir Matsunaga. “The modern


world may have arrived at Japan's doorstep but the Shogun’s decree still stands,”


remarked Ginjiro. “Damn the Shogun! He is finished! The whole Bakufu is finished! So


long as this house serves him you are all finished too!” shouted Sir Matsunaga. And goes


for the rest of you! All of you who will allow this desecration of our Samurai tradition to


take place in our Clan!” cried Sir Matsunaga. “Yame! That's enough!” ordered Ginjiro.


“If you call yourself a Samurai then I challenge you to a duel. I will await your answer in


the dojo,” challenged Sir Matsunaga as he and his protege' Kogoro left the main hall.


            The remaining Clansmen were stunned by Sir Matsunaga's rebuke. Silence


quickly filled the air as Sir Imagawa tried to stop Ginjiro from accepting Sir Matsunaga's


challenge. “Ginjirosan, you cannot fight him. He is our Clan's best swordsmen. You are


no match for him. He will kill you,” said Sir Imagawa. “He has challenged me. As a


Samurai, I am honor bound to accept,” replied Ginjiro. “No Sir. Please allow me to fight


in your stead,” offered Sir Imagawa. “Arigatou' Imagawasan. But I must fight for the


honor of my stead and our clan,” said Ginjiro. While seen as bold, if not foolish, Lady


Kusaga expressed her concern for her consort. “Anata, you are Hatamoto. His Lordship


would object to this duel. It is not necessary for you to fight him,” pleaded Lady Kusaga.


“Listen to Lady Kusaga. You don’t have to fight him. I will fight in your place,” pleaded


Sir Imagawa. “Thank you but please understand, this is something I alone must do.”




            Minutes later, Ginjiro entered the Dojo to find Sir Matsunaga standing there with


his sword drawn and his protege' Kogoro waiting him. He is joined by Sir Imagawa and


several of the Clan’s Retainers. “As you both know, our Lord forbids killing within our


Clan. If you must fight, use wooden Bokto sword and fight with honor,” instructed Sir


Imagawa. “Very well,” acknowledged Matsunaga. Sir Matsunaga Nobutomo untied his


sword and passed it to his protégé Kogoro before taking to the floor.


            As tradition dictated, both belligerents bowed in customary acknowledgment


before drawing their swords. In a flash, Ginjiro blocked Matsunaga's first three rapid


attacks but after striking his sword once his shoulder was hit. Sir Matsunaga was too fast


for him. Undaunted, Ginjiro arose to his feet to attack but is blocked and struck down


once more with a heavy blow to his back sending him down to the ground.“Enough


already!” demanded Sir Imagawa. Sir Imagawa stepped forward and drew his sword to


defend the stricken Ginjiro.“That is enough!” repeated Sir Imagawa. “You may wear the


two swords of a Samurai. But unlike you, I was born a Samurai,” taunted Sir Matsunaga.


“That may be, but we serve the same Lord do we not?” replied Ginjiro. Unimpressed, Sir


Matsunaga extended his hand for Kogoro to return his sword which he instantly placed at


his waist. Then without warning, Sir Matsunaga drew his short sword and made an


unexpected move. With the grip of his left hand he held his top knot and cut it off with


his right hand before throwing it to the ground in protest. “Brother, what have you done?”


asked Lady Kusaga. “My honor as a Samurai will not allow me to serve any lord that will


allow such Barbarians to serve him!” declared Sir Matsunaga. “And you Kogoro?” asked


Lady Kusaga. Following Sir Matsunaga's lead, Kogoro reached for his short sword and


cut off his top knot in a display of loyalty. “I go with my Uchi-dachi,” declared Kogoro.


“Then Go then! Leave with your disloyalty and never return!” shouted Sir Imagawa. As


the two outgoing Retainers exited the dojo, Sir Matsunaga delivered one last parting jab.


“I will join the Emperor's forces and we next meet, I will destroy you all.”




            Weeks later, The 15th Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu summoned all of his


retainers and hereditary clans to mount an offensive against Imperialist forces massed in


Kyoto. The numerically superior medieval armies of the Shogun proved to be no match


against the modern howitzers, repeating rifles, and Gatling guns of the Choshu–Satsuma


Alliance. Armed with new modern weapons from the West, the combined Imperial


Forces of the Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa Clans delivered a series of stunning defeats


driving the remaining Shogunate Loyalist forces North as more clans turned against the




            January 31st, 1868 – Following the defection of the Yodo Domain, the Shogun


fled Osaka Castle following defeat at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi. The Shogun had


planned escape aboard the Japanese Warship Kaiyo Maru but the ship had not arrived.


Humiliated, the desperate Tokugawa Shogun and his remaining party including Aizu


Lord Matsudaira and Hatamoto Ginjiro took refuge aboard the American Warship USS


Iroquois anchored in Osaka Bay.


            It is with weary eyes that the Lord of Aizu looked out over the ships rail as Osaka


Castle could be seen in flames. Ignoring the looks of contempt by his former countrymen,


Ginjiro sought to offer solace to his Lord and bowed low aboard the deck of the USS


Iroquois. “My Lord, I have failed you. Please ask of me what you wish,” said Ginjiro.


“No Ginjirosan. You have not failed me or Japan. We are all now subject to the tide of


history no one can stop,” said Lord Aizu. “What must I do My Lord?” asked Ginjiro. “Do


what you feel is best. Follow your heart and protect those you love,” replied Lord Aizu.


Ginjiro bowed once again before being tapped on the shoulder by an American Sailor.


“Hey! You speak English right?” asked the Sailor. “Yeah,” replied Ginjiro. “Good! The


Captain wants to see you. Follow me.” Ginjiro followed the Sailor to the quarters of 


American Captain Earl English as the USS Iroquois steamed clear of Osaka Bay. With


one last parting glance at the flames engulfing Osaka Castle in the distance, it became


clear that the realities of his situation would come to face him.


            A loud knock could be heard at the door. “Enter,” said Captain English.


Seaman Coleman entered the Captain’s Quarters and saluted. “Captain, He’s here.”


“Thank you Mr. Coleman. That will be all,” dismissed Captain English. Seaman Coleman


saluted once more before exiting the Captain’s Quarters as Ginjiro entered with his two


swords removed from his obi belt. “Please take a seat,” instructed Captain English.


“Thank you.” “Now then, what is your name?” asked Captain English. “I am Ashikaga


Ginjiro of the 3rd Branch Family of the Aizu Domain.” “Spoken like a true Jappo! Now


let's cut the crap!” rebuked Captain English. “Give me your Christian name you came to


this country with,” demanded Captain English. “Very well, I was born Jean-Paul Rainier


of Fayetteville, North Carolina. I was a former US Military Attaché before being made


Samurai by His Excellency the 15th Tokugawa Shogun” revealed Ginjiro. “Is that a fact?”


asked Captain English. “Hai,” answered Ginjiro.


            Captain English seemed most unimpressed. “Mr. Rainier, I don't know what you


are doing here in Japan, but your Shogun is in the next cabin sobbing away as his empire


burns in revolt. You Sir should you stick by him will be on the losing side of history,”


said Captain English. “This is not history. This is war,” replied Ginjiro. “But it’s not your


war,” argued Captain English. “Encontrare! It is,” argued Ginjiro. “If you say so. In any


case, we'll depart from these waters after we drop the Shogun's party off in Edo Bay. If


you have any sense of self preservation you will come with us,” offered Captain English.


“And go where?” Ginjiro asked. “Back home where you belong in the United States of




            Home. Now there was a thought that conjured up strong feelings of resentment.


News had traveled to Japan detailing the South's defeat in the War Between the States


and that of the devastation his former state of North Carolina which had suffered greatly


at the hand of General Sherman. But what of it? The man formerly known as Jean-Paul


Rainier had no love for Slavery nor did he agree with the Confederacy. Yet affinity for


one's home state at that time was paramount and often trumped that of the Union. But


now, the world he had known existed no more.


            “Home? That home was destroyed when Sherman burnt it to the ground. There is


no home or family for me to return to now. This is my home,” declared Ginjiro. “What


This? Look around you! The Shogunate is defeated. You don't have to die for them,”


argued Captain English. “But I am honor bound to defend the Bakufu. They gave me a


new life here and I shall do what I can to repay for it,” replied Ginjiro. “Suit yourself.


Most eloquently spoken. The South could have sure used you and I for one am glad you


stayed out of it,” said Captain English. “Captain, with all due respect you took an oath


before you first put on that uniform did you not?” asked Ginjiro. “That I did. To defend


the Constitution and United States of America.” “Well so did I. And this land I too shall


defend!” declared Ginjiro.




            May 1868 – By now the 15th Tokugawa Shogun had long abdicated his position.


Shogunate Army Minister Kaishu Katsu peacefully surrendered Edo Castle while the


newly minted Imperial Army continued to hunt the Loyalist forces. Of what remaining


Loyalists remained fleeing north were the Aizu, Sendai, Yonezawa and Nagaoka Clans   


constituting the Northern Alliance. Ginjiro and his surviving men were found retreating


downhill under the red glow of the burning castle town of Asakaga. The fires could be


seen over the low hill top further revealing the main keep of Kiryu Castle giving way to


collapse under from fire damage inflicted during the siege by Tosa and Satsuma troops.


As the whole of Asakaga and Kiryu Castle lay waste, Lady Kusaga looked on. “Ginjiro-


Sama, What are we to do?” she asked. “We must leave if we are to regroup with our


remaining forces,” he replied. “Asakaga was our home,” she lamented. “It is immaterial


now,” replied Ginjiro. “So true. You speak like you are truly Japanese.” “Dear, where I


come from we have a saying; Home is where the heart is.” With a deep breath, Lady


Kusaga looked into Ginjiro's eyes once more. “And where is your heart now?” she asked.


“It is with you and the people I love,” he replied. With a tear in her eye, Lady Kusaga


embraced Ginjiro and looked on when Sir Imagwa raced up from the Castle escape route.


“Ginjiro-Sama! We don't have much time,” he exclaimed. “Hai,” replied Ginjiro. 


“Imperial forces have overrun the outer gates and breached the inner compound. We must


leave now while we still can!” cried Sir Imagawa. “But where shall we go?” she asked.


“North to Ezo. And should we survive this Boshin War, we will build a new home,” he


promised. “If we survive, you and I shall build it together,” aspired Lady Kusaga.






            As the Loyalist armies suffered defeat after defeat. As the remnants of the


Shogun’s forces retreated Northwards to the northernmost point of Honshu, Ginjiro’s


remaining men comprising the rear guard at Sendai fought on in a losing battle so the


remaining Loyalist forces could escape to the north. Meanwhile, Sir Matsunaga now


fights as a Captain in the newly minted Imperial Army under the new name of Sakai


Nobumasa. He had transformed himself from a proud Samurai to that of a modern


military officer sporting shorter hair, mustache, and the dark navy blue uniform of the


Imperial Army never once forgetting his vendetta against his former clansmen and that of


the barbarian made Hatamoto that brought about his shame. A grudge he would not have


to wait too long to fulfill.


            Weeks later somewhere along the sands of Sendai, Ginjiro and Sir Imagawa


defend a small sand bagged uphill position with matchlock rifles comprising the rear


guard of the Northern Alliance in their retreat north to Ezo (present day Hokkaido) to


form a new Shogunate. They each wear the white Hachimaki headbands stating their


loyalties as the banners of the Tokugawa Clan and of the Northern Alliance fly in the


breeze. Smoke from gunfire envelops the sand bagged position making it difficult to




            “Ginjiro-Sama! We are surrounded! Our escape to Ezo has been cut off!” cried


Sir Imagawa. “Then it is here we shall make our stand,” declared Ginjiro. “Hai! We shall


stand together as brothers and fight so others may live!” proclaimed Sir Imagawa. As a


new column of Imperial Troops take position some 100 yards from them, Ginjiro raised


his arm with a pistol in hand and readied his command; “UTE! - FIRE!” The battered


remnants of the Asakaga Samurai fire a volley downhill to the Imperial Troops who in


turn fire back with greater velocity and deadlier aim. With each volley, more of Ginjiro’s


men are killed than those of the Imperial Troops below.


            The battle carried on into the night and up until dawn. Exhausted, Ginjiro opened


his brass spyglass to see the Imperial Troops prepare for their final assault on the last


Asakaga defensive position. And in that moment he spotted a familiar face commanding


troops in their field. “Oh no!” exclaimed Ginjiro. “What is it?” asked Sir Imagawa.


“Look into this spyglass and tell me what you see.”  Sir Imagawa peered into the


spyglass. “Nobutomo! He lives!” exclaimed Sir Imagawa. “This is not good,” remarked


Ginjiro. “Do you think he will...” “Oh most definitely!” replied Ginjiro.


            Ginjiro thought about his previous duel and of Lady Kusaga who was retreating


with her handmaidens under the escort of the Sendai Samurai retreating north while the


last of the Asakaga Samurai fight on. And just then a voice cried out: “I am Sakai


Nobumasa, Captain of His Highness's Imperial Army. I call out to you remaining


Asakaga holdouts to heed my words. I am seeking a man. A foreigner made Hatamoto by


the name of Ashikage Ginjiro. Surrender him and you may all live! Non-compliance will


earn you no quarter!”


            Nobutomo's offer weighed heavy with Ginjiro as he looked upon the battered


faces of what was left of his exhausted Samurai. Wounded, Ginjiro considered surrender. 


“Nobumasa! There is another way so we can all live,” creid Ginjiro. “You are an Imperial


Rebel! The only way is for you to accept my challenge and then maybe your men can


live,” countered Nobumasa. Ginjiro looked to his Retainer for advice. “Ginjirosan, you


can not surrender to him,” reasoned Sir Imagawa. “No, but perhaps he will accept my


counter offer,” suggested Ginjiro. Just then Ginjiro stood atop their small dug out


redoubt. An Imperial soldier had Ginjiro in his sights and prepared to shoot when


Lieutenant Kogoro pushed down the soldier rifle preventing the soldier from interfering.


“Nobumasa, I propose a counter offer,” proposed Ginjiro. “Oh?” asked Captain Sakai.


“We finish our duel and you let my men go,” offered Ginjiro. “A most enticing offer


Barbarian! Your offer is accepted” declared Nobumasa. Just then Sir Imagawa took


notice of Captain Sakai's western saber sword at his waist favored by officers of the new


Imperial Army. “Ginjiro, you cannot beat him with a Samurai Sword. But you are skilled


with a saber. Fight him with the Saber. Then you both will be equally matched,” advised


Sir Imagawa. “Good thinking Shigeharusan!” said Ginjiro. Just then, Ginjiro baited his


opponent with a new ploy. “Only one caveat Nobumasa,” proposed Ginjiro. “Oh?”  “We


fight with sabers! Ne?” “Agreed!” replied Captain Sakai.




            Captain Sakai had agreed to Ginjiro's terms and asked Kogoro for his saber sword


to offer his opponent to use. As Ginjiro and Sir Imagawa stepped forward onto the beach,


Kogoro's men kept their rifles trained on the remaining Asakaga Samurai. “Karma has


indeed played its hand,” remarked Sir Imagawa. “Well I am not done playing yet,”


declared Ginjiro as he handed his katana and pistol to Sir Imagawa. Captain Sakai threw


his pistol to down onto the sand as Lieutenant Kogoro tossed his saber to Ginjiro. “You


still think because the Tokugawa made you Hatamoto you think you are Samurai?”


taunted Nobumasa. “Nay, I'm just a soldier who fights for the Samurai,” replied Ginjiro.


            With a firm grip, Ginjiro yielded the familiar saber sword with confidence that he


had gained in the Mexican-American War. “And now I challenge you to the duel we


never had!” taunted Ginjiro. Captain Sakai Nobumasa gripped his saber and put forth his


one leg stance with one arm sword drawn. Ginjiro mirrored his every move as they


postured along the water's edge. Then with a half lunge or two from both men, steel


clashed and sparks flew! Captain Sakai, while quite skilled at the katana was at a clear


disadvantage with the saber as Ginjiro repeatedly hit his sword driving him knee deep


into the water before easing back.


            Captain Sakai thrust forth missing Ginjiro while taking a cut to his arm. And


then again coming within a breath of Ginjiro's blade before taking three steps back to


catch his breath and assess the severity of his saber inflicted wounds.“You fight well!”


complimented Captain Sakai. “I have used sabers in battle,” replied Ginjiro. “But can you


match me with a Katana?” baited Nobumasa. “Ginjiro No!” cried out Sir Imagawa as


Ginjiro threw down his saber and drew his Katana. With a smile, Captain Sakai took a


Katana from Lieutenant Kogoro and assumed a new stance holding the sword with two


hands. “Now you fight on my terms. Prepare yourself to fight on Samurai terms!” he




            Though wounded, Captain Sakai leaped into the air to strike Ginjiro but his strike


was deflected. A moment later, Nobumasa charged again for Ginjiro's abdomen lightly


slicing through his clothes. Ginjiro momentarily looked down and could see blood


running down his leg as Captain Sakai bent over dripping blood from another cut he did


not feel in his charge. “Don't you know when you are already dead yet?” asked Captain


Sakai. “I was about to ask you the same thing. With all things being equal and the specter


of death being all around us, I have never felt more alive!” replied Ginjiro.


            As both wounded combatants raised their swords, Ginjiro looked back to his


Retainer. “Give my love to Lady Kusaga. Tell her she must live on. Japan must live on!”


cried Ginjiro. “Hai!” acknowledged Sir Imagawa. “Shigeharusan is right. I can't win this


fight. But for Japan's future, my men as well as yours must live,” said Ginjiro. “And what


say you of men like us?” asked Nobumasa. “If we cannot work for peace then we must


die so those who do may live,” declared Ginjiro. “So be it!” replied Sakai. “If I must die,


then I will die a Samurai,” declared Ginjiro.




            The two combatants stood six feet from each other with their feet at the waters


edge. Blood dripped from each other’s hands as the two simultaneously raised their


swords. Ginjiro ignored Sir Imagawa's pleas as he prepared for one last strike. Sir


Imagawa in turn gave one final tearful smile to Ginjiro before facing his destiny as both


Kogoro's men and Asakaga Samurai watched with trepidation and suspense. “Ready?”


asked Nobumasa. “Hai! We shouldn't keep the men waiting any longer,” replied Ginjiro.


“Prepare to die,” said Nobumasa. “No, we shall die together,” said Ginjiro. “And why is


that?” asked Nobumasa. “Because I am Ashikaga Ginjiro – Hatamoto!”


            With a roaring cry the two men rushed each other and stopped three feet past each


other gripping their blood stained swords. A moment later, both men dropped to their


knees. Captain Sakai looked down and discovered the mortal wound Ginjiro had cut


across his abdomen. “Ginjirosan! This is most unexpected! A brilliant swift attack


worthy of the Samurai you have become!” complimented Nobumasa. Ginjiro painfully


looked across the sword cut he sustained from his opponent. “Arigatou' Nobumasasan,”


thanked Ginjiro. The two former enemies looked each other in the eyes and nod their


heads in agreement before falling face forward into the sand. It was there along the  


shores of Sendai that Nobutomo gave Ginjiro the earned respect in death he could not


give him in life and with it, a lasting peace the two could not have ever known.


            “No!” cried Sir Imagawa as he rushed to Ginjiro's side as Kogoro’s men took aim


to fire on the Asakaga Samurai. “Nobody fire!” ordered Lieutenant Kogoro. “But Sir!”


protested one soldier. “That's an order!” reiterated Kogoro. Then out of nowhere, a subtle


white mist came off the water enveloping the shoreline where the deadly duel had just


concluded. “Ginjiro was right,” Kogoro muttered to himself. “Shigeharusan, please take


your clansmen and go!” ordered Kogoro. Sir Imagwa accepted Kogoro's leave as both


groups of men carried away their fallen leaders. “Kogorosan?” asked Shigeharu. “Hai,”


replied Kogoro.  “Is there any hope for our people?” asked Shigeharu. Lieutenant Kogoro


sighed as he looked out to the sea. He then reached down and picked up his saber sword


off the blood stained sand and re-sheathed it into its scabbard before looking up to reply


to his former clansmen. “If we learn the lessons of these men, there will always be hope.”





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terated Kogoro. Then out of nowhere, a subtle


white mist came off the water enveloping the shoreline where the deadly duel had just


concluded. “Ginjiro was right,” Kogoro muttered to himself. “Shigeharusan, please take


your clansmen and go!” ordered Kogoro. Sir Imagwa accepted Kogoro's leave as both


groups of men carried away their fallen leaders. “Kogorosan?” asked Shigeharu. “Hai,”


replied Kogoro.  “Is there any hope for our people?” asked Shigeharu. Lieutenant Kogoro


sighed as he looked out to the sea. He then reached down and picked up his saber sword


off the blood stained sand and re-sheathed it into its scabbard before looking up to reply


to his former clansmen. “If we learn the lessons of these men, there will always be hope.”





4860 Word Count