47 Ronin - Chushingura

47 Ronin - Chushingura

Spirit of the Samurai

Zen Buddhism Musashi Miyamoto
Discover the Tale of the 47 Ronin.
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Understanding Bushido

The story of the 47 Ronin, known as Chushingura ('tale of the loyal retainers') in Japanese, is one of the most popular Samurai tales in Japan. The fact that it is a true story, plays a major role in its long lasting appeal.

The story of the 47 Ronin, also known as 'Chushingura', comes from the name of a kabuki play created 50 years after the actual 'Ako incident'.

Described by Japanese historians as a  'National Legend', the revenge of the 47 Ronin took place in Japan and is the ultimate expression of the samurai code of honor, Bushido.

The story began on april 21st 1701, when lord Asano Naganori, the Daimyo of the Ako Domain was forced to commit ritual suicide for attacking Kira Yoshinaka in Edo Castle, a rude and arrogant Master of Ceremony under the Tokugawa Shogunate.

The loyal 47 Ronin took over a year to planned their raid on Kira's mansion. On a snowy December night, they strike on Kira’s home, taking everyone by surprise.

After killing Kira, they went to their Master's Grave, and turned themselves in to the authorities. For committing such a vendetta, the 47 Ronin were requested by the Shogun to commit seppuku, ritual self-disembowelment.

During the Meiji era, the rapid modernization of Japan forces people to return to their cultural roots and values, giving tremendous popularity of the 47 Ronin's tale.

Today in Japan, the 47 Ronin and samurai like Musashi Miyamoto are regarded by the Japanese people as 'Cultural Heroes' and they are honored in traditional holidays and a in countless kabuki plays, movies, novels and manga.

Every year, the Gishisai Festival takes place on December 14th in Ako city in Hyogo prefecture, in memory of the 47 Ronin. On that day, schools and business are close and the streets are decorated with banners and colored lanterns.

Additionally, each year, at Sengakuji Temple in Tokyo, thousands of tourists visits the resting place of the 47 Ronin and pay homage to their dedication to Bushido.