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Origin

522px-Benkei

Benkei by Kikuchi Yosai.

Musashibō Benkei, popularly called Benkei, was a Japanese warrior monk (sōhei) who served Minamoto no Yoshitsune. He is commonly depicted as a man of great strength and loyalty, and a popular subject of Japanese folklore. It is Benkei's loyalty and honour which makes him most attractive in Japanese folklore. One kabuki play places Benkei in a moral dilemma, caught between lying and protecting his lord in order to cross a bridge. The critical moment of the drama is its climax, where the monk realises his situation and vows to do what he must. In another play, Benkei even slays his own child to save the daughter of a lord. In the Noh play Ataka, Benkei must beat his own master (disguised as a porter) in order to avoid breaking his disguise.

Even when Yoshitsune is to commit seppuku, Benkei still fought on the bridge to protect Yoshitsune till the end. His death was known as "Standing Death of Benkei" where he still stood up straight even though he is dead. 

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