Heike and the Isle of Women, aka Shunkan


Heike Nyogo no Shima



The head monk of a famous temple built by an emperor and one of the advisors to the retired emperor. He attempts a coup against the ruler, but is caught and exiled to a distant island along with two others. The ruler particularly dislikes him. He endures a tough life as he longs to reunite with his wife back in Kyoto.

Naritsune, Major General of Tanba

Son of the coup’s mastermind. While in exile, he falls in love with a diver and exchanges marriage vows. When the diver is refused entry to the ship, he pledges to stay behind with her.

Yasuyori, Chief Inspector

Chief inspector but not a part of the Taira clan. He was a servant of the ruler’s nephew, then become a valet to the retired emperor, and rose to the position of the city’s chief inspector, taking the honorific name hangan (chief inspector). He was exiled for his participation in the attempted coup.


A female diver who collects shells and seaweed for a living. She falls in love with Naritsune and celebrates in a makeshift ceremony with the other exiles. Upon the news of her husband’s pardon, she tries to board with him but is turned back by the messenger.

Seno Taro Kaneyasu

Messenger charged with delivering the amnesty to the exiles. A cold and cruel official, he refuses to allow the diver to board the ship because her name is not on the list. Similarly, he delights in telling Shunkan that his wife is dead.

Tan Saemonnojo Motoyasu

Messenger charged with delivering the amnesty to Shunkan. This is a special compassionate gesture from the ruler’s oldest son and nephew and is sent separately from the other messenger. He is compassionate and tries his best to help Shunkan and his fellow exiles.

Taira Kiyomori

Does not appear in this scene. He is the supreme ruler and a tyrannical presence. He shows no mercy in punishing those who plotted against him.


Does not appear in this scene. Shunkan’s wife. She was captured after her husband’s exile, but having refused the advances of Kiyomori, she was forced to kill herself and was beheaded.