Jomyo-Yama: Gion Matsuri!, a set on Flickr.
This float derives its name from the “Hashi-gassen” (literally “Bridge Combat”) chapter of “The Tale of the Heike” (“Heike Monogatari”), a noted military epic written in the early 13th century. During the fighting in 1180 between the Heike and Genji clans Jomyo Tsutsui, a Genji military monk, stood on a beam of the half-broken bridge of the Uji River while fighting against the Heike warriors. Another member of the Genji clan, Ichirai-hoshi, came and said, “Pardon my bad manners”, and then proceeded to jump over Jomyo Tsutsui and successfully cross the river. The two holy dolls on the float vividly portray this famous episode, and arrows stuck on the black-lacquered bridge girder eloquently illustrate the fierce combat. This float was nicknamed the “Pardon-my-bad-manners float” for some time, quoting the words of the warrior monk Ichirai-hoshi.
Tsutsui no Jōmyō Meishū was a warrior monk, or sōhei, from Mii-dera, who fought alongside Minamoto no Yorimasa and his fellow monks at the Battle of Uji in 1180, defending the Byōdō-in and Prince Mochihito from the Taira clan.
Later in the same account Gochin no Tajima is replaced on the bridge by his comrade Tsutsui. Standing upon the broken bridge of Uji, Tsutsui fought off the Taira clan samurai with bow and arrow, naginata, sword, and dagger.
According to the Heike Monogatari:
“And loosing off his twenty-four arrows like lightning flashes he slew twelve of the Heike soldiers and wounded eleven more. One arrow yet remained in his quiver, but flinging away his bow he stripped off his quiver and threw that after it, cast off his footwear and springing barefoot on to the beams of the bridge he strode across.” … “With his naginata he mows down five of the enemy, but with the sixth the naginata snaps asunder in the midst, and flinging it away, he draws his tachi, wielding it in the zig-zag style, the interlacing, cross, reversed dragonfly, waterwheel and eight-sides-at-once styles of swordfighting, thus cutting down eight men; but as he brought down the ninth with an exceedingly mighty blow on the helmet the blade snapped at the hilt and fell with a splash into the water beneath. Then, seizing his tantō, which was the only weapon he had left, he plied it as one in a death fury.”
It is said that Tsutsui counted 63 arrows sticking out of his armor at the end of his stand, which is not unlikely considering the structure and material composition of samurai armor.