Translated by yours truly. (Source)
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I just received your unexpected letter and pledge of love. Truly I feel embarrassed, and whatever I can think to say seems foolish. What could I have said to you last night while we were drinking? I’m really troubled by the fact that I can’t remember. Besides, if I doubted your feelings, I could easily get Denzō or one of the inspectors (yokome) to get you to give up, but it doesn’t seem like that’s possible. I don’t feel like I said anything, but what could I have possibly told you last night over drinks? I’m really stumped and can’t recall.
A while back, one of the attendants who serves me at mealtime dropped a note, and it looks like he’d fallen for you. I have no idea what happened to this attendant, though, so I can’t help you any further on whether or not it’s true.
I asked myself, and it’s not that. It’s that I know you almost too well, and so I could hardly contain myself in wanting to be certain of your feelings. So driven by drunkenness I must’ve slipped up and said something that I hadn’t meant to say.
You must feel angry at me, since I’m saying that this was all because of drink. I don’t blame you feeling this way. To think you slit your arms to seal a pledge of love to me in blood. I keenly, keenly feel your emotion.
If I’d been there, I would’ve stopped you with my sidearm…
I thought about simply slitting my finger and not my arms or my thighs, but that would hardly be a worthy response to what you’ve already done to pledge your love to me. Anyway, I’ve already grown old enough to have children and grandchildren.
People don’t know how to keep their mouths shut, and when I bathe, these scars would be visible to my pages, who would certainly gossip among themselves, saying “Still doing things like this at an age when he should know better.”
If this were to happen, I feel it’d be an embarrassment to my children, so instead, I only live hot-bloodedly by emotion.
As you know, when I was young I slit my arms and thighs when sharing drink, to offer blood for pledges of manly love. This much ought to be plainly obvious about me. But with the world as it is today, it’d make me a laughing matter, so I must refrain.
I swear to the myriad gods of Japan, this is because I detest marring my arms and my thighs further. It is not in the least a matter of shying away from you.
You know my arms and my thighs, do you not? There are few places upon them that are unscarred. Though that is proof of my onetime pride in the way of manly affection, I can’t help the changing times.
You must certainly be feeling like this might be unreliable news, so I am writing this letter and sealing it in blood, as Denzō watches.
Please forgive me, and leave it at this. If you could please understand my feelings, and if I could have your compassion, then my gratitude to you would be deeper than the ocean and higher than the mountains.
Furthermore, I’ve told Denzō to relay my feelings on this.
1st Month, 9th Day
I am truly, truly embarrassed. Please understand my feelings.