Genpei Nunobiki no Taki (Genji and Heike at Nunobiki Falls)


Genpei Nunobiki no Taki


Kiso Yoshikata

Genji leader Yoshitomo’s younger brother, whose battlefield death at the hands of Taira Kiyomori gives the victory to the Heike clan. Yoshitaka surrenders to Kiyomori, but secretly wants to restore the Genji to power. The retired emperor entrusts him with the precious white flag of the Genji clan. When surrounded by the enemy, he fights single-handedly and meets a heroic death.

Orihei, actually Tada Yukitsuna

Heir to a key Genji line. He is determined to revive the Genji family even at the Heike’s peak power. He once unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Kiyomori, and has disguised himself as a retainer to Yoshikata. However, Yoshikata sees through the disguise.

Princess Matsuyoi

Daughter of Yoshikata and his first wife. She is in love with “Orihei” (unaware of his true identity) and becomes wildly jealous when Koman appears proclaiming to be his wife. When the house is surrounded by enemy troops, she escapes with Orihei on her father’s orders.

Aoi Gozen

Originally a lady-in-waiting serving Yoshikata’s first wife. She is now his second wife and pregnant with his child. She escapes from the Heike and gives birth to a boy at Kurosuke’s farmhouse. The boy will take the name Kiso Yoshinaka as an adult and drive the Heike out of Kyoto.


Kurosuke’s daughter. A strong woman whose name means “little ten thousand”, meaning superior to hundreds and thousands. She was once engaged to Yukitsuna, but he disappears before their son is born. She learns seven years later that Yukitsuna (under the alias Orihei) works in Yoshikata’s residence, and she visits him with her father and son. Unexpectedly she is asked by the dying Yoshikata to look after the white Genji flag, but is pursued by the enemy and dives into Lake Biwa.


An old farmer living by Lake Biwa in present-day Otsu City. He did not have a child of his own, but finds an abandoned girl and raises her as his daughter, naming her Koman. After visiting Yoshikata with his daughter, he escapes to his home with Aoi Gozen and hides her there.


Son of Koman and Yukitsuna. He fishes a human arm with a white flag from a lake, which proves a key event in the story. He is chosen to become a warrior and serves as the top retainer to Yoshinaka under the name Tezuka Mitsumori. Legend says that he killed Saito Sanemori of the Heike clan.

Osada Suemune

Son of Tadamune, who deceived and killed the fleeing Genji leader Yoshitomo after a major battle. He visits Yoshikata’s mansion along with Takahashi Hangan in search of the white Genji flag. He insists that Yoshikata step on the skull of Yoshitomo, Yoshikata’s brother, to prove his professed loyalty to the Heike clan. He is killed by the enraged Yoshikata. The historic character was named Osada Kagemune.

Saito Sanemori

A Heike warrior, but originally supported the Genji side and secretly wants them back in power. When he was visiting Lake Biwa with Taira Munemori, he cut off a woman’s arm holding the white Genji flag, allowing it to sink into the lake and preventing its capture by the Heike. He subsequently visited Kurosuke’s house with Seno under orders by Kiyomori and uses his wit to save Aoi Gozen’s unborn child.

Seno Kaneuji

A Heike retainer. He visits Kurosuke’s house with Sanemori in search of Aoi Gozen. In the past, he abandoned a daughter that he had with a servant, leaving identifying gifts behind. He later encounters his daughter and grandson under strange circumstances. He appears first as an enemy, but is later revealed to be a sympathetic character in a Kabuki technique called “modori”.


Kurosuke’s wife. She helps her husband hide Aoi Gozen. When Seno pushes, she pretends that Aoi Gozen gave birth not to a child but to an arm, presenting the human arm that Tarokichi fished from the lake.

Yabase Nisota

Kurosuke’s nephew. He will do anything for money. When he threatens to report the details of Sanemori’s actions to the Heike clan, he is killed by Sanemori.