Ataka no Seki is the site of a historical checkpoint located near the river mouth of the Kakehashi-gawa River in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Pref. It is said that the checkpoint was built by the provincial governor, Togashi clan. The checkpoint, however, is famous as the scene of the Noh play “Ataka” and the kabuki play “Kanjincho.” The story goes that Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who had defeated Heike clan in the sea battle at Dannoura, was on the run, escaping from his eldest brother, Yoritomo, who became jealous of Yoshitsune. Yoritomo ordered to set up checkpoints all over the country to capture Yoshitsune. In 1187, Yoshitsune and his followers were disguised as mountain priests and tried to pass the checkpoint of Ataka. Togashi Saemon, the head of the checkpoint was in suspicion and started to ask questions. Benkei told him that they had been sent to collect funds for the restoration of Todaiji Temple in Nara and began reading aloud Kanjincho (a list of contributors) out of a blank roll of paper. To dispel the suspicion that the porter in the party might be Yoshitune, Benkei pretended to be angry with him, saying that it was his fault to resemble Yoshitsune, and began to beat him harshly. Although Togashi was sure of their real identity, he was deeply moved by Benkei’s loyalty and let them go on with their journey.
- 140-4 Ataka-machi, Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture, 923-0003
- The Remains of Ataka no Seki