The story of Umewaka at the Sumida River
According to legend 12-year-old Umewaka was separated from his family during the civil wars of medieval Japan.
The boy wandered to the Sumida River and died after composing a poem addressed to the seagulls. He was buried by the river and a temple sprang from his tomb.
In this version Umewaka, a brilliant student ran away after failing in competition with another youth. On the shores of Lake Biwa, he was seized by a slave trader, who led him to the Sumida River where the boy died.
The white petals of cherry blossoms, which last for only a short time and symbolise the brevity of life, are falling in a stream on Umewaka, who is dressed in the clothes of a temple page.