Yoshioka Seijūrō Naotsuna

Both the Bushū denraiki and the Bukōden agree that the first member of the Yoshioka clan to duel with Musashi on the grounds of the Jōbon Rendai temple in Kyoto was Yoshioka Seijūrō.

The Bushū denraiki claims that:


When the day came Musashi excused himself as he was ill in bed. Seijūrō now sent round messengers several times, strongly urging Musashi that he should fight. And thus Musashi mounted a palanquin and arrived at the appointed place wrapped in a futon.

It is widely assumed that Musashi’s tardiness was not so much induced by any serious illness, but part of his strategy to unsettle his opponent. Yet according to the Koro usawa:


When asked by his attendant Musashi replied: “I am trying to think by what strategy I can gain victory, but I am not yet satisfied. I’ll go presently.” 

The Bukōden claims that:


Seijūrō fought with a shinken. Musashi was armed with a bokutō, and struck out once. Seijūrō collapsed and lost consciousness. He was saved in that they had agreed only to attack once. The Yoshioka deshi placed him on a stretcher and took him home where they nursed him back to health.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this version of events is contradicted by the Yoshioka-den, which claims that:


Naotsuna was the first to step forward and match his skill with Musashi. Both men exerted their mental powers agains each other, but already shortly into the bout Musashi was hit on the forehead and lost a lot of blood. When Naotsuna stepped back the crowd cried out that it had been Natsuna’s victory. Yet others said that it had been a draw. Angered, Naotsuna said: “In that case, let us men again in contest to make clear who is the winner.” At this Musashi said: “My contest with Naotsuna is done. Now I want to fight with Mataichi Naoshige.”

Though the Honchō bugei shoden does not mention the Yoshioka swordsman by name, it does give an interesting, more evenhanded, account of the duel:


During his duel with the Yoshioka Musashi wore a crimson hand cloth as hachimaki. The Yoshioka swordsman wore a hachimaki from a white hand cloth. Yoshioka hit Musashi on the brow with his tachi. And when Musashi, too, struck Yoshioka on the forehead, it was immediately visible, as he was wearing a white hachimaki, whereas on Musashi, because his hachimaki was crimson, it took some time before the blood on his forehead could be seen. Now Yoshioka struck musashi with a long bokutō. Musashi parried the blow, but his hachimaki was torn and fell to the ground. Musashi now advanced on Yoshioka and cut through the leather hakama the latter was wearing. Thus Yoshioka cut through Musashi’s hachimaki, and Musashi did the same with Yoshioka’s hakama. It was a sight to behold, both dazzling to the eye and to the ear, and it was hard to say which of the two adepts had come out on top.

The Kokura hibun, finally, sheds more light on the exact place where the duel took place: the Rendaino, an arid plain just north of the Jōbon Rendai temple:


Musashi first fought with the Yoshioka clan leader by the name of Seijūrō on the grounds of the Rendai temple. Musashi floored Seijūrō with a single blow of his bokutō, causing the latter to pass out. And because it was agreed beforehand that they would only exchange a single blow Musashi did not take Seijūrō's life. The latter’s deshi came to his aid, lifted him on a stretcher, and took him home. There he was given various medical treatments and eventually recovered. In the end, he abandoned the martial life and took the tonsure.

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