“The Scene of the Pilgrim’s Song”
Embroiled in the turmoil of the struggle for dominance within the Tokushima domain, Awa no Jurobei and his wife Oyumi change their names and go undercover to become thieves and live in Tamatsukuri in Osaka with the aim of recovering the stolen heirloom sword that belongs to the lord of their domain.
Now several years later, their nine-year-old daughter Otsuru, clad as a pilgrim on the Saikoku circuit of Buddhist temples dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy Kannon, whom the parents had left behind in her grandmother’s care as an infant, calls on the house unaware that it is her parents’ home. Oyumi realizes that that girl is her own child, but does not reveal her identity to her daughter for fear that the now-brewing legal troubles that she and her husband will soon face could bring disaster upon the girl as well. Stifling her tears, Oyumi sends the girl on her way, but as she listens to the departing girl singing a pilgrim’s song about the love of parent and child, the distraught mother cannot keep herself from following after the girl to bring her back. The scene ends with the heart-rending sight of Oyumi, unable to suppress her motherly compassion.]