EP6 Lord of Rice


Show Notes for EP6 of our Podcast – Lord of Rice.

Story Notes

Lord of Rice

Fujiwara Hidesato, also known as Tawara Toda, wished for adventure and so one day set out.

Reaching Seta-no-Karashi Bridge on Lake Biwa he finds a serpent-dragon sleeping across it. Undeterred he walks over the Dragon, afterwards, the Dragon changes into a man, revealing himself to be The Dragon King.

The Dragon King beseeches Tawara for his help, telling him that The Giant Centipede Seta is plaguing his people from Mount Mikami after the creature discovered the King’s home.

The centipede, The King says, comes every night and takes away members of his family. He needs a hero to kill The Centipede. Tawara agrees, the Dragon King taking him to his Palace to await the hour the centipede descends from the mountain. When the centipede finally appears Fujiwara asks for his bow and arrow.

Having only three arrows the first two hit the centre of its head but only bounce off, causing no harm. Finally, Fujiwara remembers that human saliva was deadly to centipedes. And so placing the tip of his final arrow in his mouth, wetting it, he fires once more.

The arrow hits the mark, killing the centipede, its dead body floating in the lake. Afterwards, in thanks, the King throws a feast and asks Fujiwara to stay in his Palace but he declines.

So in thanks, Fujiwara is gifted with several items:

  • A large bronze bell.
  • A bag of rice.
  • A roll of silk.
  • A cooking pot.
  • A bell.

In the end, the bell he donates to Mii-dera Temple. The bag of rice never grew empty. The roll of silk never grew shorter. The cooking pot, no matter what was put in cooked delicious food, and so Fujiwara grew very wealthy as a result.

Poem Notes

Lord of Rice
Matsuo Bashō

Today’s Poem was inspired from the Ghibli film, My Neighbor the Yamada’s as this film cites several of Matsuo Bashō’s poetry. This film was aired in 1999 as sadly was not as popular as other Ghibli films. The movie was animated differently, and was the first time they created animation in a water color style by ‘drawing’ them directly onto a computer.

Matsuo Bashō was born in 1644 during the Edo Period and is known as the ‘Greatest Master of Haiku,’ a poetic form in 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables.


Natsu kakete
meigetsu atsuki
suzumi kana

Translation 1:
Past Summer
The full moon is still so hot
I feel summer clothes

Translation 2:
Still summer
The harvest moon too hot
To enjoy the coolness

Feature Image: Fujiwara and the Centipede from Illustramble.

You can listen to the full episode over on Anchor here: Japan Archives, or wherever you listen to Podcasts.

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Lord of Rice