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The Incredible (true) Story of the 47 Ronin

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The infamous story of the 47 ronin, also referred to as the “Ako” incident from the Edo period (late 16 th to early 17th century) took place in Feudal Japan.

Most samurai (read about the history of the samurai here) served a master. If a samurai lost their master, they would usually seek a new master. Samurai that went out on their own became the ronin. A ronin is simply a masterless samurai.

The story of the 47 Ronin is a true, authentic historical event. Its honorable brutality illustrates the values of the samurai – loyalty and honor above all else.

Lord Asano Naganori was assigned by the Shogun to entertain the royal families and and Kira Yoshinaka (the highest ranking master of protocol) was sent to instruct Asanao on the matters of proper court etiquette.

Asano and Kira had many disagreements and Kira (who was higher-ranking) took every opportunity to humiliate and embarrass Asano. After enduring the insults for many months, Asano finally succumbed to the frustration and attacked Kira, striking him in the face. The shogun allowe4d Asano the honorable end of seppuku (suicide committed by a samurai, cutting into his belly with a knife or short sword to spill his guts). Asano obliged this offer and committed seppuku.

Asano and Kira

Asano was master to 47 samurai, back at his castle. After his crimes, the 47 (now ronin) decided to surrender the castle peacefully and plot their revenge. Kira was a shrewd man and spared no expense bolstering his personal guard as he feared retaliation from Asano’s ronin. For 2 years, the 47 ronin put on an act. They appeared drunk in public, took on menial jobs and presented a face that they had forgotten about the incident.

Eventually, Kira let his guard down and the ronin wasted no time in striking. Kira’s castle was raided.After a long-fought battle in which none of the 47 ronin was injured, Kilo was finally found cowering in an outhouse. He claimed to be a servant but was recognized by several of the ronin as Kira because of the scar on his face from Asano’s attack 2 years prior.

Kira was given the chance to commit seppuku with Asano’s weapon. Kira disgraced himself by attempting to bribe his way out of the situation. Oishi (one of the ronin) used Asano’s blade to decapitate Kira.

One of the ronin (referred to as the 47th ronin) was sent back to Ako to bring the good news of Asano’s long-overdue revenge. The other 46 ronin turned themselves in to local authorities and were sentenced to death. All 46 ronin followed through with seppuku. Their bodies were cremated and eventually joined with the 47 th ronin in death, their graves now lay by the Asano’s family temple, “Sengaku-Ji” in Tokyo.

Paul Chen Hanwei created the Ronin Katana in memory of the 47 ronin's story and sacrifice.  

Ronin Katana


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