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The Story of the 47 Ronin
is one of the most celebrated and influential tales of the Samurai from
the Edo period. Lord Asano was a powerful Daimyo ordered by the Shogun
to entertain guests of the Imperial Family. The highest ranking master
of protocol, Kira, was given the task of teaching Asano, among others,
proper matters of etiquette in this task. Lord Asano and Kira quickly
grew to dislike each other and the teacher insulted his student at every
opportunity. No longer able to contain himself, Asano drew his sword
upon Kira, wounding him in the attack. This act led to Asano’s ordered
suicide (seppuku) and the confiscation of his property. On December 14,
1702, nearly one year after Asano’s death, 47 of Asano’s men (now
Ronin), descended upon the mansion of Kira to exact their revenge. After
a fierce battle, the Ronin demanded that Kira commit seppuku for his
transgressions against their former master. When he refused he was
beheaded. For their actions the Ronin were themselves sentenced to death
by seppuku. They are buried together at the Sengakuji, offering a true
testament to the loyalty inherent in the Samurai.
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All pictures on this site have been provided by photographer Roger Mitchell.
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