Anecdotes of the Honseki Izo Iburi 65

65. The Honseki’s Playful Side

The Honseki was fond of anything that was joyous. He also went to see local plays from time to time, especially during his later years. He also loved to tell jokes and make people laugh. He liked to pass the time playing Japanese chess and go.

The Honseki loved music, so he often enjoyed having followers who were musically talented to perform for him. He also took koto lessons from a blind master from the Ikuta school and played the shakuhachi.

The Honseki would practice with Otojiro Matsuda and made shakuhachi flutes for him. There were times when the Honseki would dress up as a mendicant monk and play the shakuhachi in front of his gate. Sometimes Otojiro joined him and they would play together as they made their way incognito to a follower’s home in nearby Senzai Village where they took off their straw basket hats and have a hearty laugh while partaking of tea.

(Adapted from Senjin no omokage by Takekazu Matsutani pp. 103–104 and Shinpan Izo Iburi den pp. 131)

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.