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1.28 Ushido Masanojo Takanori (kabuki name)
True name: Shiota Matanojyo Takanori, fastening his wrist strap.
Katana mei: Kunihisa, length, 2 shaku 4 sun
Wakizashi mei: Kunihisa, length, 1 shaku 6 sun.
Ushioda Takenori had been a retainer with the Yoshida family under the name of Ushioda Mondo. When that family went out of existence he became an Akao retainer and changed his given name to Takanori. He was talented with weapons, in particular the spear.
In the night attack he approached the back gate and threw the hooked rope, then launched himself like a bird over the wall and removed the bar. He was no laggard and once the gate was open, fought his way wondrously forward.
He moved into the garden in quest of Monaro’s apartment, when a man with a flashing sword leaped out and shouted. ‘Shimizu Ikkaku here!’ and swung it towards Takenori’s throat.
Takenori reacted quickly and slid to the left, then swung his spear around and countered. His aim was true, but Shimizu was quick and twisted his body safely about. With sword parrying and thrusting, and spear skilfully stabbing, only to be kicked aside, they went on endlessly, gasping for breath, fighting like tiger and dragon. Both were so agile, and the outcome was in doubt, when Miura Jirozaemon came running up, extended his lance and stabbed Shimizu in the side.
Still active even against so strong an enemy as Shimizu, Takanori thrust again, and this time caught his adversary in the throat, releasing a flood of blood. Shimizu died unable to utter a word.
The two men did not take a second look at the corpse as they hurried on into the centre of the house.