Yamada Yoshihiro 山田芳裕's Hyouge-mono is populated mostly by historical figures, but some are more historical than others. One of the oddest is a tea-hermit (as Lafcadio Hearn would have put it given the chance), who apparently really existed, named "Hechikan."

Information on Hechikan in English is scarce. There's this version of the well-known but probably apocryphal account of the time he punk'd Sen no Riykū (whose position was that he totally saw it coming). There's also a chapter about Hechikan in W. Puck Brecher's translation of Hōsa kyōshaden 蓬左狂者伝 ("Biographies of Nagoya Madmen"), which includes this proto-Catskills quasi-gag:

A friend once admonished him, saying: "You'll need someone to take care of you when you get old; why not take a wife?" He replied, "True. And that'd be fine if she helped me, but if she fell ill what a burden she would be." He was single throughout his life, and his words and deeds were always commendable. Regrettably, I have forgotten them so can't recount them here.

(Worst biographer ever.)

In Japanese, there's the Wikipedia page, which includes outrageous claims like "he invented setta." And there's more here, including lots of sweet, sweet quotations from old books. Here's one glossing his name:


The upshot is that Imaōji "Christian" Dōsan 今大路道三 suggested that Hechikan change the spelling of his name from 丿貫 to 丿桓, because 桓 is also pronounced /kan/ and its strokes can be rearranged into 日本一, "greatest in Japan." The 丿, on the other hand, is to be interpreted as half a 人 ("person"), so the new name in full would mean "Half a man, greatest in Japan," which I am totally stealing for my next guest verse. (Note, though, that the English pages linked above claim that 丿 conveys the meaning of "skewed [to the left]", while 丿 as a character doesn't have an intrinsic meaning at all as far as I can tell — it's self-referential, it means "the 丿 radical," as seen in 乃 and so on.)

Popularity factor: 2


Aside from just being in in awe of whoever decided to put 医師古道三と無二 together... yeah, nothing.

... Well, okay. Character analysis/divination/magic can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn chronicles, if I have that right. It's mystical and Chinese. But it's not onmyodo (to Susan Klein's book) and not Daoism. But that's an argument with someone else.


"his words and deeds were always commendable. Regrettably, I have forgotten them so can't recount them here."

I have discovered a truly remarkable biography which this notes field is too small to contain.

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