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Samurai's Tale

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1.The Samurai's Tale

By: Harutomo Murakami

Houghton Mifflin Company

Copyright @ 1984

215 Park Avenue New York, New York

234 Pages

2. Harutomo Murakami (Taro)- The hero of the story, the son of a poor samurai who died in battle

Lord Akiyama Nobutomo- One of Lord Shingen's generals, Taro's master and friend.

Lord Akiyama Nobutora- Father of Lord Akiyama Nobutomo

Lord Oda Nobunaga- Lord Takeda Shingen's rival and enemy.

Lord Oda Nobutada- Son of Lord Oda Nobunaga

Lord Takeda Katsuyori- Son of Lord Shingen, also called the Wakatono, the prince

Lord Takeda Shingen- The Lord of Kai, a ruthless warlord whose ambition is to rule all of Japan.

Lord Takeda Yoshinobu- Son of Lord Shingen. He revolts against his father and is killed.

Togan- A lowly servant of Lord Akiyama. He befriends Taro as a child.

Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu- A warlord who supports Oda Nobunaga. Later, he becomes shogun and rules Japan.

Lord Uesugi Kenshin- Warlord and enemy of Lord Shingen Takeda.

Wada Kansuke- Samurai, master of the Konidatai.

Yoichi- Taro's servant.

Yoshitoki- A young samurai, Taro's friend.

Lord Zakoji- A retainer of Lord Akiyama, and father of Aki-hime.

Zakoji Aki-hime- A young girl of noble blood, whom Taro loves

3. Murakami is the son of a poor samurai who died in a battle against the might lord, Takeda Shingen. Only four years old at the time, Murakami was spared, while his mother and brothers were slaughtered. Renamed Taro, he became the servant of Lord Akiyama Nobutomo, one of Lord Shingen's generals. Taro's job was to assist Togan, a wise cook who treated him like a son, teaching him many important lessons about hard work, contentment, pride, and humility. One day an old soldier struck Taro, and killed Togan when he tried to protect the boy from the bully.

Eventually Taro was promoted from the kitchen to the stable. When Jiro struck one of the horses unnecessarily, Taro beat the bully. Two years later, Lord Akiyama showed his faith in 14-year-old Taro by ordering him to accompany Takeda Katsuyori, the son of Lord Shingen, to Toko-ji Temple. Only later did Taro learn that Katsuyori killed his brother, who had revolted against their father. A priest taught Taro how to write, and he practiced Zen Buddhism, as he wanted to prepare for being a samurai. Bullied by a couple of ronins one day, Taro ran away and told his master's father, who sent him to Iida castle with a message for his son (Lord Akiyama).

After delivering the message about the disloyal ronins who had harassed him, Taro became Akiyama's messenger and befriended Yoshitoki, a young samurai. At age 15, he was sent with Yoshitoki to carry a message to Tsutsujigasaki Castle. On the way, they escaped from two bandits disguised as monks. A strange old man invited them into his hut and predicted that neither Lord Oda Nobunaga nor Lord Takeda Shingen would rule Japan. On their return from the castle, Yoshitoki and Taro found the hut of the strange man empty and decided that the man had been a ghost. Lord Akiyama gave Taro back his family name- Murakami- and presented him with a sword.

Everyone anticipated a huge battle from which either Lord Takeda Shingen or Oda Nobunaga would emerge as ruler of Japan. When Murakami was 18, Lord Takeda decided to go to war and Murakami was disappointed to find himself appointed aide to the officer in charge of food supplies. When a thief tried to steal some rice, Murakami showed both firmness and compassion by beating him, but not killing him. Murakami won a sword fight with a ronin bandit loyal to Lord Obu, but refused to behead him.

Later, everyone

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