Side Stories of the Uprising  

1.    Enkiriishi (The Divorce Rock)

Early on the morning of October 14, Kasuke and others were about to set out on the  deadly mission of handing in the appeal of five articles at the magistratefs office in Matsumoto.  Appeals were forbidden at the time, and whether an appeal be granted or not, the appellant was put to death.  Kasuke, like other men, had handed his wife a letter of divorce, but she wouldnft accept it.  Otami, the wife, insisted, gIf you die, I die.h  She followed her husband as far as Hirase, Shimauchi[1], and once again implored Kasuke to let her die with him.  The loving husband had to reason with his wife, gListen, I am honored by your words.  But I cannot let you die with me, because if I do, other menfs wives will follow.  And that means more lives will be lost.  So please, divorce me for the sake of others.h  Reluctantly Otami accepted to divorce Kasuke.  There was a rock where the couple stood, and the rock has been called Enkiriishi (The Divorce Rock) ever since.


2.    Matsumoto castle leaned.

The place where Kasuke and others were executed was called Seitaka, and it was on a hill overlooking Matsumoto castle.  Even after being tied to the pole, waiting to be killed, Kasuke shouted out over and over, gRemember, rice tax is 2.5, 2.5 to!h  His heroic death was rumored to have caused the castle to lean. 

But the truth is, in the Meiji period when Kasukefs story was made into a play during the Freedom and Peoplefs Rights Movement(Jiyuhminken-undou)[2], his final moments were probably dramatized into such an episode.  The castle was dilapidated and leaning to one side in the early Meiji period, but it was because of neglect and age.


3.  The Samurai Who Tried to Save Kasuke and Others: Suzuki Iori

The executives and the magistrates of the Matsumoto domain who had to handle the incident while the domain lord was away in Edo, were so much upset that they wouldnft inform the lord of the truth.  So the domain lord did not know that the taxes had been raised, or that the removal of beard had been imposed on the farmers.  Therefore he decided to give his permission to punish the farmers severely.

But not all the samurais approved of their lordfs decision.  One of them, a samurai named Suzuki Iori who was stationed in Edo, had always desired a government for the people.  Apparently he had compassion for farmers.  After the messenger bearing the lordfs permit for execution left for Matsumoto, Iori successfully persuaded the lord to reverse his decision.  Without delay, Iori started for Matsumoto on horseback, chasing after the messenger.  But Iorifs horse collapsed on crossing the Matsumoto city limits[3].  Iori lost consciousness with fatigue, and he couldnft save the lives of Kasuke and other farmers.

Suzuki Iorifs final resting place is in 4-chome, Chuhou, Matsumoto city.  To this day, many people have continued to visit his grave with flowers. 

[1] almost three-quarters of a distance from their village to Matsumoto castle

[2] about two hundred years later

[3] The distance between Edo and Matsumoto is almost 250 km.

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