10. Repaying an Old Debt to His Brother
On one New Year’s Eve, Izo’s brother Kumejiro came through with 5 ryo, four of which Izo used to pay off his year-end debts. Though different accounts do not agree on the year — some claim the year to be 1867 but it most likely was 1864 — Izo never forgot Kumejiro’s kindness.
Kumejiro passed away for rebirth at a young age, but whenever his children came to visit their uncle Izo after he became the Honseki, he gave them either 40 sen or 4 yen as spending money. They always wondered why the amount came in fours in this way. But they finally understood after discovering how their father helped their uncle years before. So even after he became the Honseki, Izo still was grateful to his brother many years later.
(Adapted from Honseki-sama by Okuya Bunchi, pp. 56–57 and Shinpan Izo Iburi den by Ueda Eizo, pp. 33–34)
- Next installment in this series: 11. Izo and Ikuzo, the Roof Tile Dealer
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.