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1.23 Katsuta Shinemon Taketaka (kabuki name)
True name: unknown, holding a lantern aloft, discovers a dog at his heels.
Takataka was a strong man, and fearless.
He scrambled like a monkey up a ladder to the roof at the rear gate and looked down at the Kono mansion, clear in the light of the full moon. It was as bright as midday, without a cloud in the sky. Under the fallen snow, the place shone like a mirror.
He didn’t watch long. Saying, ‘This is the time,’ he jumped to the ground inside. The gate, he saw, was securely locked, so he took steps to get it opened. ‘Sledge, sledge!’ he called, and the attackers outside bought out their 150 pound battering ram and broke the gate open. Then they severed the bar with an axe and rushed in.
Alarmed by the noise, a gatekeeper ran out, half dressed. Taketaka saw him and took appropriate action.
The shouts and crashes and the noises of entrance at the back gate fell like thunder in the house, and panic-stricken occupants ran about in their underclothes. A child and its nurse screamed. Some crawled under the verandah.
The attackers saw none of this but struck against those who opposed them. The air was filled with the sound of sword hilts striking. Thus Taketaka gained entrance to what seemed to be the room of Sahyoenosuke Moroyasu, Moronao’s son, a room with an armour chest and other furnishing, and bed clothes that looked like someone had left in a hurry.
A brush and inkstone lay on the table there, and Shinemon took up the brush and wrote a scornful note on a sliding door pane: ‘The Akao ronin paid a visit to their esteemed adversaries and were disappointed that milord Sahyoe was not here.’hen he entered Morono’s quarters.