50. Kosuke and Suma
Kiku Masui took her daughter, Masu (who later became Suma Murata) to visit Kiku’s parents for three days in March 1877 for the rendo* and returned home on the twentieth.
Masu was unable to get up the next morning because of a severe headache. Her mother scolded her in her effort to train her properly, so she finally got up. She still didn’t feel well the following morning, the twenty-second. So Masu wanted to return to the Residence. After receiving permission, she left her home in Izushichijo Village at eight o’clock in the morning, and reached the Residence at about ten o’clock. When Oyasama saw her, She said:
“Are you willing to marry into the Murata family in Senzai?”
Although this was totally unexpected, Masu answered Oyasama’s words with, “Yes, thank you.” Then Oyasama said:
“It is not good for you to decide by yourself. I would like to have your elder brother (Isaburo Masui) come.”
So Masu returned to her home in Izushichijo Village on the same day and told her brother about the proposal. By that time her headache had disappeared completely.
As this was God’s request, Isaburo decided to comply early the next morning. So he returned to the Residence on the morning of the following day, the twenty-third, and was received by Oyasama, who said:
“Will you give Omasu in marriage to Murata? If you agree, please come here together with Omasu on the twenty-sixth.”
Isaburo gratefully said, “Thank you very much,” and returned to Izushichijo Village.
When Iye Murata of Senzai returned to the Residence the next day, the twenty-fourth, Oyasama questioned her:
“Oiye, I have been waiting for your arrival. I wish to offer your family a bride. Do you want a bride for your son?”
Iye replied, “Thank you very much.” Then Oyasama told her:
“The Masui family will be here on the twenty-sixth with their daughter, so take her home.”
On the morning of the twenty-sixth, four members of the Masui family returned to the Residence. They were mother Kiku, elder brother and his wife, and Masu. They brought several dishes of dainty foods that were prepared and packed in a nest of boxes.
From Senzai, Kamematsu (who was twenty-six years old at that time) and his parents, Koyemon and Iye, his wife, returned to the Residence with sweet rice wine and several dishes in a nest of boxes.
In Oyasama’s room in the Nakaminami-Gatehouse, Oyasama first sipped the sweet rice wine, and then Kamematsu and Masu shared the rest of it from the same cup.
“You are going to Senzai only for a short while. You are to return here soon,”
Oyasama told Masu.
As Masu received the name “Suma” from Oyasama at that time, she was so renamed. Later, in 1879, Kamematsu received the name “Kosuke” from Oyasama and was thus also renamed.
* Rendo, also called renzo, is the farmers’ spring holiday. Although it was not observed on the same day in each village, the farmers made rice cakes and dumplings, and rested just before the busy season of planting and weeding. (Association for Folklore Research in Kinki District: Customs of Yamato. Institute for Folklore Study: A Glossary of Japanese Folk Customs).
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 43–44