Payin’ Some Respekt to The 47 Ronin

Some of you Japan freaks out there will sooner or later discover the amazing story of the 47 Ronin. You’ll probably even end up visiting their gravesite at Sengakuji. In fact, Hollywood and Keanu Reeves will soon be releasing a movie about this jaw-dropping samurai tale which will certainly bring floods of tourists to Sengakuji. Speaking of the movie, I bet that they will certainly fuck up the entire concept, upsetting the Japanese people, and thus perpetuating the Hollywoodifciation of Japanese culture (think Tom Cruise as the Last Samurai). Yeah, right.

Back to the 47 Ronin, here’s the gist of the story. Back in the early 1700s, these 47 bad-ass samurais get revenge for an injustice brought upon their master, Asano-san. Asano was a high-ranking samurai, and he was being bullied by some other higher-ranking samurai prick named Kira (don’t think this is some shortened version for “killer” or “killa”). Long story short, Asano tries to kill Kira for being a prick, he fails, and ends up brining shame to his family, himself and his crew and is forced to kill himself. Asano’s crew (including those 47 samurai) are left leaderless and PISSED off big time.

After laying low for a little over a year, the 47 samurai led by Oishi Kuranoske give Kira a proper ass-kicking, they bring his severed head to Sengakuji (where Asano-san is also buried), wash Kira’s head in a nearby well, and then put the head on Asano’s grave thus fulfilling some sweet revenge. The well and the original receipt for Kira’s head are still at the temple.

After the attack, the forty-six samurai (one dude was sent off as a messenger) turned themselves into the authorities because they knew that what they had done would eventually lead to some serious punishment which is exactly what happened. Six weeks later, the forty six samurai were ordered to commit “seppuku” or committing suicide by disembowelment. Yup. Killing yourself by taking a short sword and ripping up your intestines followed up with a major league beheading by a fellow samurai. Pretty ruthless shit, huh?

Kira was pretty much of a jerk and he had what was coming to him, so the 47 Ronin were regarded as heros for wasting the guy. And today, you can pay some “respekt” at their graves at Sengakuji which is a few minutes walk from Sengakuji Station.

If and when you visit their gravesite, you will just see their tombstones and smell burning incense. You aren’t going to see their pictures or Facebook profiles.

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So, as a service to all of you Japanophiles and samurai-ninja nerds, I busted my ass assembling the paintings of ALL of the 47 Ronin, so you can put a face to a name plus age at time of death. This is a long list, so be patient. Here’s the original list in Japanese here.

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1. OISHI KURANOSKE 45

2. OISHI CHIKARA 16

3. HARA SOEMON 56

4. KATAOKA GENGOEMON 37

5. HORIBE YAHEI 77

6. HORIBE YASUBEI 34

7. YOSHIDA CHUZAEMON 64

8. YOSHIDA SAWAEMON 29

9. CHIKAMATSU KANROKU 34

10. MASE KYUDAYU 63

11. MASE MAGOKURO 23

12. AKAGAKI GENZO 35

13. USHIODA MATANOJYO 35

14. TOMONORI MASAYORI 34

15. FUWA MASATANE 34

16. OKANO KANAHIDE 24

17. ONODERA JUNAI 61

18. ONODERA KOEMON 28

19. KIMURA OKAEMON 46

20. OKUDA MAGODAYU 57

21. OKUDA SADAEMON 26

22. HAYAMI TOZAEMON 40

23. YADA GOROEMON 29

24. OISHI SAZAEMON 27

25. ISOGAI JUROZAEMON 25

26. HAZAMA KIHEI 69

27. HAZAMA JUJIRO 26

28. HAZAMA SHINROKURO 24

29. NAKAMURA KANSUKE 46

30. SENBA SABUROBE 51

31. SUGAYA HANNOBYO 44

32. MURAMATSU KIHE 62

33. MURAMATSU SANDAYU 27

34. KURAHASHI DENSUKE 34

35. OKAJIMA YASOEMON 38

36. OTAKA GENGO32

37. YATO EMOSHICHI 18

38. KATSUTA SHINZAEMON 24

39. TAKEBAYASHI TADASHICHI 32

40. MAEBARA ISUKE 40

41. KAIGA YAZAEMON 54

42. SUGINO JUHEIJI 28

43. KANZAKI YOGORO 38

44. MINOMURA JIROZAEMON 37

45. YOKOKAWA KANPEI 37

46. KAYANO WASUKE 37

47. TERASAKA KICHIEMON 38 (NOT ORDERED TO COMMIT SEPPUKU). DIED AT AGE OF 83

The 46 Ronin were divided into four groups and commited seppuku six weeks later at these four locations: 1, 2, 3, 4. Again, no. 47 samurai, TERASAKA KICHIEMON was not present during the attack, so he was not ordered to commit seppuku. He died at age 83 and was later buried with his comrades. Another samurai, No. 48 wanted to take part in the Kira ass-kicking event, but his family opposed. As a result, he committed seppuku. He too is buried with his mates.

The story of the 47+1 samurais exemplifies a warrior code that truly amazes me. There is no way I can rip up myself up with a sword, but these guys did it. I don’t think they were nuts; they did it because they were truly loyal, brave, and did what they had to do because they were samurai.

Go to Sengakuji and pay some respekt.

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6 thoughts on “Payin’ Some Respekt to The 47 Ronin

  1. I really recommend “The revenge of the 47 ronin” by Stephen Turnbull, published in 2011. It is a great read in English on this subject.

    While referring to the romantic literature, it gives a whole lot of factual information and draws a line between historical facts, a fiction, and explains what remains unknown to this day.

    • John your comments reeindmd me of a favorite poem which I often recite when faced with ‘challenge’, this is the last passage:”I shall be telling this with a sigh;Somewhere ages and ages hence;Two roads diverged in a wood, and I; I took the one less traveled by;And that has made all the difference.”ROBERT FROST Tell Ronin that one day he will be telling this tale to his grandchildren, and you to your great grandchildren. The blog is a wonderful non intrusive way of keeping up with how he is recovering. Tell him I’ll come bearing baklava as soon as he is up to it! Love to you all, xx Pat Karnis

    • Jon Merz’s short and powerful manifesto on eBook marketing contains dozens of different strategies you haven’t already read a thousand times. While I was reading this book my heart started racing and my head spun. I kept thinking, “This is brilliant! How come no one else is talking about this stuff?” I was so excited to start implementing the techniques, it was all I could think about. First chance I got, I began following his instructions. Overnight I already have seen results. I’m not a best-seller or anything (not yet!), but I’ve already extended my marketing reach to people who are actually INTERESTED in what I have to offer. That is the primary beauty of these methods. No more “preaching-to-the-choir” circle of writers marketing to other writers (the glaring fault of a number of standard marketing techniques). This stuff gets your message out to READERS. Readers that are already predisposed to purchase eBooks. You know? The people actually looking for something good to read. If I start seeing a major sales increase, I’ll know just who to credit. I almost want to give this book a 1-star review so I can keep its secrets all to myself. But Merz deserves to have this one sail to the top of the Kindle charts. Thanks, Jon Merz, for offering a substantial plan to marketing my books.

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