Chapter 13 The Initiates' Chapter (Events primarily of 1185 and 1186, though Kenreimon'in's death in 1191 is included)

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Overview --- Describes in detail the lonely life of Kenreimon'in after the end of the Gempei War. This chapter is different in style than the rest of the story in its construction of a strong atmosphere of "aware (ah-wah-ray)", a type of pathos. The only other significant individual in this chapter is Go-Shirakawa. As McCullough writes of this special section: "Treated as a secret text by the Ichikata-ryû, the Initiates' Chapter is believed to have originated in the late 13th century, after the Heike proper, . . ." (page 469).

13-[1] The Imperial Lady Becomes a Nun --- Kenreimon'in moves to the hills east of the Capital, staying at a lonely spiritual retreat belonging to a Nara monk. She becomes a nun on the 1st day of the 5th month of 1185. Her place is made more desolate from the damage it sustains in the 1185 earthquake.

Character notes

13-[2] The Imperial Lady Goes to Ôhara --- Kenreimon'in relocates by choice to the Jakkô-in which is farther from the Capital. She builds a hermitage next to it that is the same extremely small size at that of Kamo no Chômei as described in his An Account of his Ten-foot Square Hut (Hôjôki), that is, about 3-4 feet per side.

13-[3] The Imperial Journey to Ôhara --- Go-Shirakawa visits her in 1186.


13-[4] The Matter of the Six Paths --- The visit by Go-Shirakawa continues. Kenreimon'in tells the story of her life.

13-[5] The Death of the Imperial Lady --- After stating that the fall of the Taira was the fault of Kiyomori, the story tells us that "with the passing of time" Kenreimon'in becomes sick. She dies in 1191. However, various versions of the story differ widely as to what happens in the later years of her life.