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1.18 Teraoka Hei-emon Nobuyuki (kabuki name)
True name: unknown, extinguishing the fire brazier.
Teraoka Hei-emon was the chief foot soldier of Yoshida Chuzaemon. His foster father, Hyo-emon, was a native of Gochoda village, in Hitachi province. One day, at the Chinju festival, Hyo-emon had come upon a child who was obviously abandoned and took him home and brought him up. The boy’s childhood name was Sutekichi, meaning “foundling.”
When he came of age the boy’s name was changed to Hei-emon. His heredity was undetermined, but he turned out to be a gentle young man, talented, nevertheless, in military pursuits.
When the lord’s family fell, and Akao was sundered, he wandered at first, in the company of a comrade named Yano Isuke. They went together to Oboshi and attempted to enlist in the conspiracy, but Oboshi rejected them. Isuke did not apply again.
Oboshi was spending much time in the pleasure quarters, and one day a spy of the Uesumi clan concealed himself in a doorway with the intention of assassinating him. Hei-emon saw the spy waiting, captured him and made him confess. Then he took him to Oboshi, who beheaded him. After this proof of Hei-emon’s loyalty, Oboshi described the plan to him and administered the oath.
On the night of the attack, Hei-emon’s fervent wishes were realised, but then Oboshi sent him to Geishu in order to save his life. After he carried out his mission there, however, he returned in great haste and petitioned the authorities to allow him to die with his comrades.
They, however, refused.
He was rewarded financially, and honoured for his loyalty, but he took the tonsure and devoted the rest of his life to prayer for the ronins’ salvation. He died well past his eightieth year.