Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
For God's Sakè
A Passage from The Diary of Alessandro Valignano
(1) For God’s Sake’
Date: June – 1582
Road from Kashima, province of Portuguese Nagasaki.
Letters came from all corners of Japan at the same speed which Alexander pursued Darius through Asia centuries ago. Even the horses seemed to sigh every time a peasant ran towards our company screaming ‘Nanban! Nanban[ Nanban = Southern Barbarian (A troupe containing a foreign person).]!’
The most recent messenger came running, fanning himself vigorously, at the top of his voice he expelled, ‘Oda Nobunaga – the great unifier and Daimyo of all of Honshu has died!’. My trusted samurai – Muso Gonnosuke drew his katana as the peasant started to pray, he had just noticed my attendance. A speck of blood sprinkled onto the bowl of rice that I was to consume, and the peasant lay headless on the sun-soaked land. I shouted at Gonnosuke, I implored that he may be a ronin, but a serving samurai who must adhere to orders and so I questioned his actions.
He began as he always does ‘Forgiveness Padre…’ Gonnosuke’s voice was stern but inherited a respectful tone. In confidence, the young samurai declared that the peasant should be honoured to die from a clean sweep under the sharp steel of his katana as he had disrespected both himself and me. Gonnosuke understood that the peasant had no formal education, but he cannot fan himself with a sensu[ A fan that rich people use.] embellished with a golden handle. At most, he is to use a full wooden sensu or uchiwa[ A fan that poor people use.].
I offered the bowl of rice to Gonnosuke who proudly refused, and I thought about the land. Daimyo controlled the region and the Shogunate controlled the Emperor whom thought they controlled the Daimyo. I called it pagan barbarism when I set foot on this soil but how different are they to priests, the bank and the Roman church. One thinking it controls the other. I can’t utter such words. I will be hanged.
June 22nd 1582,
It is true, Oda Nobunaga is dead. In retaliation, Hideyoshi and Nobunaga’s third born: Oda Nobutaka ride out to Kyoto bloodthirsty for traitor Mitsuhide’s bloodline. On this long road to Nagasaki, the sea breeze sends droplets in the direction of my trusted samurai; they don’t seem to enjoy a salty mouth. We move passed Kashima, two letters arrived.
One from Rome, the church insists that Portuguese Nagasaki is not to be utilised for economic advantages. How else would I fund the conversion of Shinto priests to Men of the Church? How would I feed the practicing Padre? How do I print posters spreading the word of Christ? Who commissions the building of idols, churches and accommodation for the Portuguese? I threw the notice on the ground.
The other from Nagasaki, The Woman in Red demands my attendance. How dare she demand anything from me. I own Nagasaki. Gonnosuke reminded me who she was, I had seen her once, some years ago. She is not someone to lock-horns with; I guess I must see her straight away.
I don’t care for feudal barbarism or women of the Indus. I look over towards billowing smoke from this little village by the sea – my mind goes to Izaque. Oda is dead, but what of the servant? The boy. The boy I helped raise.
Massacre of some Goats
It is not a lie that I have seen my own son be cast off a cliff by Imperial soldiers. The mass grave of infants by the rocks below had been washed with tears and blood but there were no clothes as they were stripped beforehand. Xian had asked for nothing from the soldiers, just a bowl of rice.
What am I to tell to his mother?
His mother who's conscience were too pleasant for this world. Its..Hell. I would feed my wife the scraps that my son would not want as she slipped into a sweaty, rambling fit. And so, in a damp and hazy night like this; there would be nothing for me to eat.
In a previous life, before all of this I was a graduate in agriculture at the only university around here, the one at the base of mountains. Before the druggy withdrawn animals roamed the streets, they were my friends. We had been flooded with mystifying agents by the West, men frenzied for violence, food and sex as flames itched their glass pipes. I saw the worth it still had. The rich men were able to transport their families overseas in the presence of a multitude of melons. The export trucks followed The Silk Road as to not stray.
Just before that the educated were sent to farms as to promote equality; it was our beloved Chairman's idea.
We; me, Chi and Xian were once happy in our family bubble.
My village was a tired settlement sleeping at the edge of a sharp cliff face. As the sun peeked over the one long road which passed through farmyards and small huts, one would awaken to the humbling cliff face etched with bright green vegetation looking over at the goat and drug fields across the street. My home was the plantation first from the right, I had also rented my properties to good families nearby, my monthly payments would come running down the road. We lived in comfort but to the state I was merely a rich peasant.
Around the time when produce from the wheat farmers was to be sold only to the state, our countries population was urged to kill sparrows and flies as the creatures had been a pest to the sacred harvests. So when all the food was sent to the cities, I asked the arriving cadrè what we were to eat, for this I received ten lashes.
Over the coming months, the laughter of children and symphonies of bustling businesses had ceased. People at home would hear tractors and the grunts of iron women tending to molten steel by their backyard furnaces.
'In 15 years our economy needs to be as powerful as the US', proclaimed our Chairman.
So to accelerate metal work across our Great Nation, these furnaces were quickly erected with clay. The iron scraps were sold to cadre in exchange for rice but how will peasants eat when their pots and pans have been smelted.
Then one day on the Year of the Dog, trucks carrying bulldozers peeked over the long road. They parked up in a single column formation in direct view of the cliffs face. Houses were levelled, all of my properties. Gone. Any peasant that was brave enough to scream or scold the cadrè were beaten to the bone. After tending to the beaten, I walked passed the rubble for my last cigarette, I could hear the crackling of a great fire. I lit it by the fire of my burning Opium field as the villagers screamed in pain and sorrow. I just stood and watched the painting, strokes of bright orange and black blemished the moon soaked fields. In the distance, a single dove tree unable to flee is forced to watch the evil of man.
My village was once a beautiful place, now it cries in the smoke of the furnaces. Some would say the cliff would smile when drenched in the monsoon season, now it listens to the ramblings of withdrawn peasants and dying mothers. Bodies littered the side of our long road covered in bits of soot. The community house fed grains to peasants that hadn't succumb to the black fumes but the goats behind the house were for the cities.
I stopped caring and started eating, a dead tenant of mine had once said to me:
'My mother suffered in the Revolution of 1911, she said that bark or clay can be roasted on a fire and that it can be eaten. If trees are stripped, scrapings of coal also suffice'.
From the death of sparrows and absence of flies grew the number of locusts whom ruined wheat crops across the nation. Cadre grew more violent as the food for the cities depleted, peasants were buried alive, injected with salt water and had their tender bones crushed. It was then, when the scraped coal had taken my fingernails, that my loving wife gathered the women of the village into the community house. By dawn, a dozen women and children hung from the ceiling in a brave act of self destruction.
Ash blew itself across the land, tens of millions of the darkest souls floated into the next realm.
Now I sit by the community building, my son, a bloody mess of guts and muscle. My wife, hanging from the sad cliff face in the nude. Cadre refused to bury deserters. I'm hungry. Where do I go from here? The end cannot be worse than what I have suffered, yet; I dont know what the end is. A thousand gods have pondered and agreed to bestow this intensity of suffering onto man. Why? Theres my story for you fuckers. I'm going to sleep.
The faceless man had concluded his rambling and the line of dying peasants laughed in response to his tale, all seemed to have lost their way. Before his dying breath was ready, he held back. He had questions and so with his thin stature and the blackness of coal smudged across his teeth and mouth, he grabbed a sharp shoulder blade lying next to him and marched to the goats.
The first goat he killed was too small, blood splattered across his left eye and hands as he worked hard to hold down the squealing creature. The other few goats could not be used either. From the pregnant one he had learnt to cut around the neck until he felt a crunch. This was when he was to rotate the shoulder blade, the head popped off clean. The final goat was a dream, its head lay on the ground, spitting dark red blood.
This man, with a face of blood, ash and soot fit the decapitated head onto his own after pulling out its brain and parts of its skull. Sharp cuts of bone sliced the mans neck as the head took its place on his thin face. Blood gushed down his face, the creatures blood mixed with his own and flowed down his face. He was suffocating.
The blood started to clot, it was almost solid. It webbed, crossing itself over through the dark abyss, the red plasma pulsated. It lived.
He walked carefully only over the plasma as he did not want to fall to his death, however he had failed to notice the hole at the centre of the complex. Falling through shadowy growths of blood vine, the colours brightened as he fell further from his starting point. Bright blood pushed him through the new realm and he found himself lying on the face of a black pyramid plummeting to eternity.
Purple lights flashed in the dark of the black abyss, it started to rain. The pyramid of blackness in the expanse of colourful blood rain, colonised by the faceless hybridized being; continued to fall. The eye of the goat manages a blink.
Sitting opposite him, a bearded man, browned by his climate. The rain continued, it flushed down the body of a palm tree that the bearded man sat under.
"God hates us. Why? In infinite suffering, even death may die. Why would he kill my happiness?".
In response to his questions the bearded man smiles. He opens his eyes slowly, his legs remain crossed.
"What happens at the end? I'm standing at the edge of my world, what's the meaning?".
Frustration was growing.
Not resting his smile, the bearded man answers:
Malnourished villagers found several dead goats behind the community house. That night they ate meat for the first time in years. The mans old tenant tucked into thin cuts of his landlord and goats cheek. This was when Yasukè opened his eyes with a stern look.
Sometime in 1580 - Japan.
Yasukè removes his trusted katana from the tachikake. He slides the cold steel from the hardened wooden koshirae. He stands by the open sliding door with the loose sleeve of his kimono dancing with the wind. His sword glistened amongst the dawning sun. Etched into the opening of the doorway Yasukè contemplated his dream as his talkative dwarf servant swept himself through the withering wheat fields to shout:
'Yasukè, taste battle for once. In the night as we slept, men ravaged our farmyards. Behold Yasukè, beyond the that tree stump lies thirty decapitated goats'.
Yasukè ran softly in short steps towards the sleepy cold sun. Passing the cold bark of the cut Maple tree, he lay his concerned eyes upon the massacre of some goats.