Ishikawa Goemon and Nakamura Jirokichi (popularly known as Nezumi Kozo) are the most famous outlaws in the Japanese history. The popular culture of the Edo period tended to magnify and romanticize their real life exploits, and they are now immortalized through popular songs and Kabuki plays.
It is said that Ishikawa Goemon stole only from the rich and that he shared his loot with the poor… And it is also said that he tried to assassinate the famous warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi. However, despite his ninja training, he was captured and condemned to death, and (and this seems to be the cruel truth), he was boiled alive, in public, along with his son.
The attack against Hideyoshi may have been true, but in time the stories diversified, and one of them, played on the stage of Toei Uzumasa Eigamura in Kyoto, photographed here, tells the story of Ishikawa Goemon trying to kill another famous samurai warlord, Oda Nobunaga…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: