Watanabe no Tsuna

nihongo|Watanabe no Tsuna|渡辺綱| (953-1025) was a Japanese samurai, a retainer of Minamoto no Yorimitsu (also known as Raikō), one of the earliest samurai to be famed for his military exploits.

In Legend

Watanabe features in many of Yorimitsu's legendary adventures, and aids him in fighting many monsters, beasts and demons.

In one such tale, Tsuna accompanies Raikō to the hut of Yamamba, a man-eating hag. There they find a boy known as Kaidomaru, who had been brought up among animals and endowed with superhuman strength. The boy requests that Raikō allow him to become one of his retainers, and Raikō accepts, giving the boy the name Sakata no Kintoki, often shortened to Kintoki.

Some of Watanabe no Tsuna's other comrades in legend are Urabe no Suetake and Usui Sadamitsu. Together, the four are collectively known as the Four Guardian Kings, an allusion to the Buddhist "Shitennō".

Watanabe is also said to have assisted Raikō in slaying Shuten Doji, the demonic ground spider. His most famous feat is most likely the defeat of the demoness Ibaragi Oni, the principal follower of Shutendoji. He fought her single-handedly at the Rashomon gate at the southern end of Suzaku-oji, the central North-South street in the old capital Heian-kyo (now Kyoto).

At the end of the intense battle Watanabe no Tsuna cut off the demoness' arm before she fled. Tsuna imprisoned the demoness' arm within a holy talisman, which only he had the ability to release. The demoness later returned to claim the lost arm, and tricked Tsuna to release the arm from its binding. Later, Tsuna accompanied Raikō to Shuten Doji's lair. This legend is continued in a Japanese tale known as Ooeyama.

Tsuna and/against Ibaraki

The short epic and story is based on the legend of between Watanabe no Tsuna and Ibaraki (demon or oni).

According to legend, in late 10th century of the Heian Period of Japan, Ibaraki, a notorious Oni, resided at Rashomon Gate in Kyoto. Ibaraki harassed people who tried to pass through to Rashomon Gate. Finally, a heroic samurai named honor Watanabe no Tsuna, a loyal retainer of Minamoto no Raiko, went to the Rashomon Gate to subdue the cruel Ibaraki. When Tsuna arrived in Rashomon Gate he was attacked by Ibaraki. However, Tsuna was a strong and valiant swordsman who was able to defend himself against the ferocious attack by the oni Ibaraki. The battle raged on until Tsuna drew his sword or katana, and severed arm of demon. Screaming in pain Ibaraki ran away from Tsuna's attack, leaving his severed arm at the Rashomon Gate. Tsuna swept up Ibaraki's arm as a trophy. When he arrived home at his mansion he wrapped up the severed arm and locked it in a chest or drawers for safe keeping.

A few days later, an elderly woman appearing to be Tsuna's Aunt Mashiba, came to visit Tsuna. During the conversation, Tsuna's aunt asked her nephew to tell how he fought with the demon, and when Tsuna mentioned that he had the severed arm in his possession his aunt was curious and said "Let me see the demon's severed arm". Tsuna, suspecting nothing, brought out the chest with Ibaraki's arm inside and when he removed the arm from the chest, his aunt revealed herself as being Ibaraki in disguise, grabbed the arm and escaped from Tsuna's mansion. Tsuna was astonished that Ibaraki had posed as his Elderly Aunt Mashiba and did not give chase. However, even after retrieving his arm, Ibaraki never returned to dwell at Rashomon Gate again.

In Popular Culture

*Watanabe no Tsuna, is a character in the anime "Otogi Zoshi".

*Watanabe, along with Raikō, Usui Sadamitsu, Sakata no Kintoki, Urabe no Suetake, Abe no Seimei, and several other well known figures in Japanese history, is featured in the Xbox video game, . In the game, he has a wolf-like appearance and wields a dual-sided curved sword.

External links

* [http://park.org/Japan/Hitachi/nippon/oni/e/t_shutendoji.html Legend and History of Shutendoji]


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