Many have searched for the ruins of the Taka compound that existed 850 years ago in ancient O-Utsumi prefecture–the alleged site is shown in this photo. But there is no trace of the clan. Not even the footings of the giant estate houses that overlook Great Bay. No trace of the gardens and orchards where Yamabuki and Nakagawa walked when the girl of eleven decided to follow the warrior’s path.
No trace is left of the fruit trees–always difficult to maintain in the salty air. Climatetologists tell us that in 1167, the it was considerably colder and not the semi-tropics of today. Only untended trees now rule.
The view to the south is the same as what was once seen from the Great Audience Hall. The hill still looks out across the waters, the geography largely unchanged from that which was beheld on the vernal equinox when Yamabuki celebrated her mogi.
Walking along these lonely slopes, we can only sing and in memory recollect the glory that once was theirs, forever lost, the Tale of the Taka Clan
It is peaceful. Standing there with the ocean breeze and salt air, one wonders what great events took place on the hills the now sleep so quietly.
Katherine M. Lawrence is the author of the Sword of the Taka Samurai book series about a young woman samurai who lived in 12th-century Japan. Four of Katherine’s books—Cold Saké, Cold Blood, Cold Rain, and Cold Heart—are out in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats, and Cold Trail is available for pre-order.
To be notified of the latest news of Katherine’s releases, including discounts and special offers, sign up for her newsletter.