The tale of Soga (曽我物語)
The tale of Soga is a war chronicle based on 'Revenge of Soga Brothers.'
The author is unknown and there are many alternative versions, among which the tale of Soga mana-bon (a book written with the Chinese characters) is the oldest and often comes on. This section does not describe the story line because it is described in detail in the section 'Revenge of Soga Brothers,' but a female is deeply involved in formation of this story.
Historical facts and fictions
Azuma Kagami' (The Mirror of the East) is the only document that officially describes this incident that occurred at Fuji no Makigari (Hunting session at Mt. Fuji) on July 5, 1193. Description in 'Azuma Kagami' is considered to have been made nearly 100 years after the incident, so it not a real time record and they say there are similarities with description of the tale of Soga mana-bon. However, because it is described in 'Azuma Kagami,' it is not a total fiction. Although this is off the intention of this section, it has been revealed that there is an evidence that Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) intentionally tried to hide this shocking incident that occurred under shogun's nose, and it is spurring a torrent of speculation now.
Formation of the Tale of Soga
It is said that Tora Gozen, or Torajo, who is in the story, popularized the hidden historical fact as a story. The story was passed by word of mouth from her to others to gradually spread, and was handed down since the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan) until the Muromachi period and the Sengoku period (period of warring states). Historic sites and traditions related to the Soga Brothers and Torajo are seen in various areas spreading from Fukushima Prefecture in the north to Kagoshima Prefecture in the south, and you can verify the process in how this story became popular by word of mouth. It is said that oral transfer was mainly done by females such as miko (shrine maidens) and Goze (blind female musicians).
Eventually, it came to be performed as noh or Bunraku (Japanese puppet theater), which was made into Kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors) in the Edo period and became popular as a program 'Soga mono.'
Especially, in February 1676, Danjuro ICHIKAWA (the first) premiered "Kotobuki Soga no Taimen" (The Tale of the Soga Brothers) and SOGA no Goro performed by him was became a big hit. After that, this program became a necessity for show enterprise at new year.
Major alternative versions
The tale of Soga mana-bon
The tale of Soga Omosu-bon
The tale of Soga Oyama-dera Temple bon