In a Grove


All analyses proceed from these premises:

  • Takehiro is dead.
  • Tajōmaru raped Masago.
  • Tajōmaru stole Takehiro's bow and quiver, as well as the woman's horse.
  • In each of the accounts, Masago wishes Takehiro dead, although the details vary.
  • Masago and Tajōmaru did not leave together.

The differences between the characters' stories range from the trivial to the fundamental. What follows is a list of discrepancies between the characters' testimonies.

  • The comb mentioned by the woodcutter is not mentioned by any of the other characters.
  • The "violent struggle" that trampled the leaves, mentioned by the woodcutter, seems to occur only in Tajōmaru's version of the story—the sword fight.
  • The woodcutter also claims that the man was killed by a single sword slash across the chest, but in both Masago's and Takehiro's versions of the story, he was killed by a dagger thrust to the chest.
  • The woodcutter claims that Takehiro was wearing a Kyōto-style hat called a "sabi-eboshi", however Masago's mother says that he was not from Kyōto. We know that the author wanted to draw significance to this fact, because he specifically had the police investigator ask her if Takehiro was from Kyōto.
  • The traveling priest says that he "clearly remember[s] that there were more than 20 arrows" in the man's quiver. The bounty hunter says that there were only 17.
  • Tajōmaru does not mention how Masago's dagger disappeared from the crime scene.
  • In Tajōmaru's and Takehiro's accounts, Masago and Tajōmaru have a long conversation after the rape, after which, she is willing to leave with Tajōmaru, so long as her husband is dead. Masago's account omits this completely.
  • Masago says that Takehiro was repulsed by her after the rape. This is not true according to the other accounts. From Takehiro's story, it is clear that he is furious at her, but he claims that this is because she asked Tajōmaru to kill him. In Tajōmaru's version, he still loves her so much that he is willing to fight to the death for her.
  • Takehiro introduces a new and unlikely character: the person who stole the dagger from his chest, conveniently, mere seconds before his death. (The film Rashomon explains this by having the Woodcutter later admit to stealing the dagger, but this confession is not present in the original story. This actually isn't what the woodcutter's testimony shows, because he mentioned that all the blood had dried up and Takehiro claims that as the small sword was retrieved from his chest, "more blood flowed into my mouth".)
  • Masago and Takehiro claim that Tajōmaru violently kicked her after the rape. Tajōmaru says that his desire to make Masago his wife forced him to battle Takehiro instead of kicking the woman off and running away.

In short, every character says at least one thing that is refuted by another.

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