The Insulting Master of Etiquette Kôtsuké no Suké


The sixth villain in Borges’s Universal History of Infamy is Kôtsuké no Suké, an etiquette master whose arrogance causes the death of the lord of the castle of Akô. Many years later, the castle retainers seek vengeance and storm Kôtsuké no Suké’s own castle. Borges writes:

‘Every nook and cranny of the castle was searched for him. When the retainers began to despair of ever finding him, the councillor noticed that the quilts of the master’s bed were still warm. Renewing their search, they discovered a narrow window hidden under a bronze mirror. From down below in the gloomy little courtyard, a man dressed in white stared up at them. In his right hand, he held a trembling sword. When they climbed down, the man gave himself up without a struggle.’


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