47 Ronin. History of Japan. History channel documentary.


Early morning the 30th of January 1703 is disturbed by a sound of cracking wood. 47 ronin smash the door to Yoshinaka Kira’s mansion. Kills him, and cuts his head off, bringing it to the grave of their former master as the proof of avenging his death. The Edo period lasts for about a century now, along with the symbolic reign of the Japanese emperor in the capital city of Kyoto. the real power lies in the hands of the Shogun who is using fully centralized administration to control the entire Japan from the town of Edo. The country is under restrictive isolation – “Sakoku.” The society, divided into social classes, has different roles for each. Samurais are one of the classes. They do not fight in wars for about a century now, but their etiquette, bushido, evolves. Honor, loyalty, and service are glorified. To serve means to sacrifice your life for your master and because of this, samurais treated with respect, have it guaranteed by privileges. However, Japanese customs do not provide a role for those who lost their master. Along the loss, samurai loses his social standing and without it, eliminated from the society becomes a wandering warrior, wave man, a ronin. It is the eleventh day of the third month of the thirteenth year of Genroku the 21st of April 1701 The emperor sends an envoy to Edo to bring the new year’s wishes to Shogun. Three days later the celebrations are over, and to conclude, the “Chokutonogi” a gift giving ceremony is about to take place. Two young daimyos are selected to carry on the event. One of them is Nagaori Asano who serves his “Sankinkotai” a yearly stay at the Edo castle as a prisoner. Yoshiaka Kira, the master of ceremony is assigned to prepare the beginners for the event. He has the reputation of a greedy official, who often asks for bribes. Most probably, young Asano cannot afford the gift. Kira retaliates. Starts to humiliate him, doing anything to undermine his ceremony. Asano outwears this, but mockery and humiliation adds insult to the injury. In the hallway Asano hunts down Kira, grabs his dagger and screams “For the insults” slashing Kira in the face. The attack only injuries Kira, and the revenge is unsuccessful. Asano is captured. News of breaking the castle etiquette spread. At 1 pm Asano is sentenced to “Seppuku.” At 4 pm the sentence is delivered and at 6 pm the same day the sentence is executed. After the execution, Shogun strips the Asano family of privileges. Their land is ordered to be taken, and his samurais to become masterless. Soon the news arrives at the family castle. Initially, servants think their Lord is dead because he killed Kira. When they find out that Kira is alive, the sentence is unjust. 47 out of over 300 warriors pledge in secret to avenge their Lord by fulfilling his revenge. The fulfillment is Kira’s death. Kira surrounds mansion with warriors and cowardly hides behind the walls. The ronins decide to wait. Two years pass. Kira believes that people would have forgotten about the incident. he is no longer on guard. The ronin prepare a plan. Disguising themselves as ordinary folks, they are planning a surprise attack. It is early morning, the 14th day of the 12th month of the 15th year of Genroku. Surrounded by cold wind, in falling snow they gather in a secret place in Edo to renew their pledge. Their plan is: force Kira to commit seppuku and after fulfilling the revenge, turn themselves in. The Attack! The group of 47 furious ronin attacks the mansion of Yoshinaki Kira. To their surprise no neighbor is reacting, they despise Kira. Warriors smash through the main gate slashes and screams are disturbing the silence. Kira awakened by the sounds of fight panics. He knows that the sword of revenge has come to take his life. Kira hides away. The fighting stops. They only hear the crying and moans of the dying. None of the ronin is injured. But Kira is nowhere to be found. They search everywhere. Finally, they find a man hiding, saying he is only a servant. But the cut on his face exposes his lie. The man is Kira. According to their pledge, they hand the dagger that Asano cut him with, to him. He has a choice. He can commit suicide and keep his face. He, however, bribes, refuses. Kira is cut down. The revenge is fulfilled. Ronin bring his head to the graveyard of Lord Asano and turn themselves to the local guards who sentence 46 of them for seppuku. Each one of them commits ritual suicide. The revenge turns into legend, which leads to the creation of the most famous story about samurais.

Comments 39

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *