Mitsunari, who turned down dried persimmons out of health concerns even at the point of death

Ishida Mitsunari (1560-1600)
Ishida Mitsunari was born in Oumi Province as the second son of Ishida Masatsugu. His childhood name was Sakichi.
He served Hideyoshi as a page. He served Hideyoshi as cheif commander during the campaign to attack Chuugoku. Since Hideyoshi become the shogun, Mitsunari too rose prominence as his close associate.
He was selected as one of the five commissioners. Excelling at dealing with paperwork, he worked hard as Hideyoshi’s right-hand man. After Hideyoshi’s death, he was the main actor countering against the influence of Tokugawa, but lost at the Battle of Sekigahara. He used a crest depicting “大吉大一大万”. It means, “One for all and all for one, then we shall have world peace.”

Picture Caption: The three cups of tea offered to Hideyoshi and the dried persimmons he declined to eat
Above: The three cups of tea of carefully considered warmth and thickness offered to Hideyoshi, that caused him to make Mitsunari an officer.
Below: Mitsunari was mistaken about the effect of dried persimmons.

After this, Mitsunari was sentenced to die in the Capital. While on the way to the execution grounds, feeling thirsty he said, “I’d like some hot water.” Since there was no hot water, it seems the guardman gave him some dried persimmons. Upon this, he refused them saying, “I cannot eat dried persimmons since they become poisonous phlegm.” Mitsunari worried over his own health unchangingly, even as the moment of death was upon him. The people around him laughed, “This is a man whose head is about to be severed. There’s no way such poison would have time to take effect.” But Mitsunari gave this refutation.
“For the hearts of the small men who criticize me that is quite right. However, those who embrace great ambitions hold their lives dear until the very moment their neck is severed. I think it is because they still desire to accomplish their dream somehow.”
About dried persimmons, Mitsunari’s understanding was mistaken. It was thought that phlegm was a disease of the respitory system such as asthma, and dried persimmons had an effect on that. Persimmons are high in Vitamin A and C and potassium, and thus have very high nutritional value. Also, the white powder that develops on the surface has an effect of easing coughing. None the less, we should follow the example of the indomitable spirit of Mitsunari, who was careful about what he ate until the moment of his death, refusing to give up on his great dream for the revival of the House of Toyotomi.

Recipe: Nira Rice
Ingredients: Garlic leeks (nira), Cold rice
Directions: Boil normal chopped nira in a broth of bonito and konbu. When the nira is cooked, add in miso and cold rice and boil.

死の間際まで体を気遣い干し柿を断った三成

秀吉をもてなした「3杯の茶」と食べるのを固辞した「干し柿」
熱さや濃さの なる「3杯の茶」で秀吉をもてなしたことが士官のきっかけとなる(上)。
三成は「干し柿」の効能を誤解していた(下)。

いしだ・みつなり
石田正継の次男として近江国に生まれる。幼名は左吉。
小姓として秀吉に仕える。秀吉が総司名官を務めた中国攻めに従軍。秀吉が天下人になると、三成も側近として次第に台頭。
五奉行に抜擢される。事務処理能力に優れ、秀吉の懐刀として活躍。秀吉の死後、反徳川勢力の中心となるが関ヶ原で敗れる。「大吉大一大万」と記された紋を用いた。「万民が一人のため、一人が万民のために尽せば太平の世が訪れる」という意味。
〈1560年~1600年〉

その後、三成は京で所刑されることになる。刑場に向かう途中、渇きをおぼえた彼は「湯がほしい」と申し出る。だが湯がなっかたため、警固の者は干し柿を与えようとした。すると、「干し柿は痰の毒になるから食わない」と断ったという。死が目前に迫っていたにもかかわらず、自らの体を気遣う三成。まわりの者は「これから首をはねられる人間が、毒忌みをしたところではじまるまい」と大笑いしたが、彼はこう反論した。
「なんじらのような小者の心には、もっともなことだ。しかし、大望を抱く者は、たとえ首をはねられる間際まで、命を惜しむのは、なんとかして本懐をとげたいと思うからなのだ」
干し柿について三成の認識には誤解がある。痰とは喘息など呼吸器の疾患だと思われるが、むしろ干し柿はそれらに効果があるからだ。柿はビタミンAやC、カリウムを多く含み、栄養価は非常に高い。また表面に発生する白い粉はマンニットという成分で、咳止めに効果がある。とはいえ、死の間際メシにこだわりながら豊臣家復興という大望を諦めようとはしなかった三成の不屈の精神は、見習うべきものがある。

レシピ:ニラ雑炊
材料:ニラ、冷や飯
作り方:カツオと昆布の合わせ出汁に適当に切ったニラを入れて煮る
ニラが煮えたら味噌と冷や飯を入れて煮る

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