The True Story Of The 47 Ronin And The Ako Incident

962 Words4 Pages
47 RONIN / AKO INCIDENT
Ellie Jungmann

There are very few stories from Japanese history that still resonate today in modern culture, as much as the true story of the 47 Ronin. Why would a story of samurai warriors avenging their daimyo still resonate in a world of accountants, businessmen and software engineers?

[translated into modern life]

The actions the samurai displayed were loyalty, honor, righteousness, and filial piety to their daimyo

Still, there have been debates arguing that they were not acting righteously, and there are questions of whether they had ulterior motives. It is important to know the reasoning behind their actions, because it is possible the Ako incident embodied a contradiction between the demands of morality and law; with it being possible for an action to be both a moral duty and a crime. The ethics exhibited by the 47 Ronin has caused the Ako incident to remain relevant in Japanese culture and entertainment after centuries because they exhibited values the people of Japan still find important.

The first value the 47 Ronin displayed was righteousness. When the 47 Ronin were charged and sentenced, it was their righteousness that permitted them the honor of committing suicide by seppuku. The Ako Incident showed the contradiction between morality and law, which is a central concept in Confucianism. (McMullen) Even though they were righteous, they were still guilty of committing a crime and they needed to “preserve the law of the realm”, and were held responsible for their actions and disobedience by the bakufu. (McMullen) “The action of the Ako samurai was based upon the moral principles of the samurai way of life; in spite of that, the men had to be sentenced to death.” (Vendetta)

The second value they displayed was honor. Honor was a motivating force for the participants of the Ako Incident, much like it was in Medieval Europe. (McMullen) One of the issues that was discussed in every text I read was the incompetence Lord Asano exhibited when he attacked Lord Kira, instead of killing him. As a warrior, he should have completed his attack and killed Lord Kira himself. The other side of the topic of sense of honor was on behalf of the ronin. Society was questioning their

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