Yoshitsune incurred the displeasure of his elder brother Yoritomo, who was then the reigning Shogun, and to evade apprehension was journeying to north-eastern provinces with a number of his retainers. The party who have attired themselves in the guise of mendicant friars come upon Ataka Barrier where all travelers are to be examined. There was a porter temporarily hired in the party. The porter does not know that it was Yoshitsune and his followers that engaged him, but as the party nears the barrier he gets aware of the fact and grows nervous, since it was known that Yoshitsune was being sought by Shogunate authorities. The party on their part consider that the presence of such a stranger might cause their secret to be disclosed and thereupon think of killing him. But Benkei who is the closest follower of Yoshitsune pities the porter and lets him go away.
This timid and good-natured porter, when freed, gets uneasy about the fate of Yoshitsune’s party and wants to see them pass the barrier without trouble. So he follows them.
The party is stopped at the barrier and examined. The head of the barrier guards, Togashi, casts a suspecting glance at Yoshitsune. Noticing this, Yoshitsune’s closest follower Benkei beats his master, taking him to task for his awkward demeanor to which he attributes the official’s suspicion. This dispels the suspicion of the officials and they pass the barrier without further trouble.
As they have passed the barrier, one of the officials calls aloud to halt him. They get alarmed, but it turns out that the officials are making them a present of a barrel of sake as a blessing for their safe journey. They are overjoyed and hold a feast, in which the porter joins. He gets drunk and falls asleep. When he awakes, he sees nobody around. Wondering if it was not a dream, he disappears from the scene.
- Akira Kurosawa
- Akira Kurosawa
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