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The vengeful spirit of Sayuri at Jinzū River

A Samurai love story turns bloody and filled with curse…

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Jinzū River…

In the late 16th century, Toyama prefecture in Japan was ruled by a powerful samurai named Sassa Narimasa.

Back then, it was common for a Samurai to have multiple wives and mistresses.

One of his mistresses was a beautiful woman named Sayuri. Narimasa loved her more than any other women he had. And one day, Sayuri got pregnant with Narimasa’s baby.

Many women in his household, including the servants, mistresses and wives, were jealous of Sayuri. And the news that she got pregnant with Narimasa’s baby only increased their jealousy and hatred towards Sayuri.

When Narimasa was gone to another town for a while, they started a rumor that Sayuri’s baby was not Narimasa’s, that she had been having an affair with one of Narimasa’s own men, a young samurai called  Kinichiro Okajima. They fabricated an false evidence of the affair and planted it in Sayuri’s room.

When Narimasa came back, he learnt about the rumor. His servant who was a part of this conspiracy brought the fake evidence to Narimasa. He went into a jealous rage.

He grabbed Sayuri by her hair, and dragged her all the way to the bank of Jinzu river. He then hung her from a tall tree upside down, and proceeded to carve her body into pieces with his sword while she was still alive.

He then captured all Sayuri’s extended family members, 18  people including children, the elders and pregnant women, beheaded them and crucified their bodies for days for shame.

It is said that Sayuri was screaming her innocent the whole time Narimasa was cutting her.

But when death was inevitable, she said to Narimasa;

You cut up my body because you think I’m guilty. You don’t believe me that I’m innocent. From now, my soul will turn into an evil ogre. And within a few years I will kill all your kids.

And all your future descendents. I will make sure your family name go extinct and all your family members die.  Every last one of them.

When black lily blooms in Mount.Tate, Sasaki family will die out in misery.

She died cursing Narimasa…

Since then, tortured spirits of Sayuri and her family are seen on the riverbank of Jinzu river at night.

It is said that if you go down to the river at night of rainstorm and call out, “Sayuri, Sayuri!”, the floating, severed head of a woman will appear.

As for Narimasa, one record says that soon after Sayuri’s death, all of his trusted subordinate samurais betrayed him.

His right-hand subordinate teamed up with his enemy Maeda Toshiie and leaked Narimasa’s confidential plan to him. This resulted in Maeda sending a warning letter to Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who later dominate the entire Japan) that Narimasa was trying to kill him.

Upon this letter Hideyoshi decided to send a troop to Narimasa and kill him. Narimasa wasn’t expecting this and surrendered to Hideyoshi almost immediately. As a result, Narimasa merely escaped death penalty. Hideyoshi forgave him, but sent Narimasa all the way down to the remote island in the south of Japan. This was technically a social death penalty that Narimasa would not have any prominent role in the Hideyoshi’s government in the future.

 

Black lily rarely bloomed in Mount Tate. It was one of the rarest flowers in the area.

 

But after Sayuri’s death, black lily did really bloom in Mount. Tate.

 

Another record says that Narimasa sent this rare flower to one of Hideyoshi’s wives, Nene, as a gift. Hideyoshi’s fortune teller saw this and  told him that the black lily was a sign that Narimasa will betray him. And Hideyoshi ordered Narimasa to Seppuku.

 

Narimasa’s descendant said in an interview that his family has one rule to this day:

  Never bring lilys into the house

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