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Legend of the Fallen Samurai

Local lore dictates that the five or six families of Maruda are remnants of the Taira (Heike) clan and probably moved to Maruda to escape persecution about 800 years ago, immediately following their loss in the most famous Japanese battle - Taira (Heike) and Minamoto (Genji) Wars that were fought for control of Japan. Several branches of the Taira clan that somehow managed to escape the throngs of the Minamoto and one more renowned branch can be traced to Saga in Kyushu, where they too remained hidden in the mountains for many generations.

The last battle of which unfolded at Dan-no-ura (1175 AD), in the Straits of Shimonoseki, located just on the other side of the mountains northwest of Maruda but still within Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The wars are best described in the classic historical novel - The Tale of Genji.

Based upon circumstantial only, this suggests that all six Maruda families were Samurai descendants of the losing Heike side. The implication is that all those from Maruda were probably interrelated after 800 years in seclusion.

The neighboring woman Takishita indicated remembering hearing a story as a little girl about a big bon fire in the village. Apparently, the villagers were seeking to erase any connection to their feudal past, so included many Samurai swords (刀 - Katana) and armor.