Samurai culture has long fascinated many across the globe and the story of 47 Ronin is often regarded as one of the most revered. Known in Japan as Chusingura, meaning tale of the loyal retainers, the story begins in the early 18th century at Ako castle, home to its Daimyo (lord) when Asano Naganori. This is a legendary story of loyalty, revenge and patience.
The Shogun’s castle in Edo (Tokyo) was preparing for the annual arrival of the European messengers, and Lord Asano was required to serve on the welcoming committee. In order to for Asano to perform these duties, he was required to learn certain etiquette so not to make any mistakes. The master of ceremonies, Lord Kira, was entrusted in teaching Asano these skills but over time the two of them struggled to cooperate. On the day of the ceremony, Asano lashed out a Kira after he mocked his awkwardness. Wounding Kira in the face, Asano had committed the crime of drawing his sword in the castle of a Shogun. The punishment was ritual suicide and Asano lost his life.
Messengers carried the news back to Ako castle and Asano’s chief steward, Oishi Kuranosuke, concerning the death of their lord. The situation worsened as Lord Asano’s land and holdings would soon be confiscated by government. Asano’s men were thus masterless samurais, also known as Ronin. The code of the Samurai suggests these masterless men commit suicide and should they choose not to, their lives as Ronin will be in shame. An attempt to make Lord Asano’s younger brother, Daisuke, take over his brother’s responsibilities failed and as a result 47 of the samurais made a secret pact to avenge the death of their master. Lord Kira was the target.
The men worked in secret, outlining plans and arming themselves to take on Lord Kira. Wary of a potential attack against him, Kira sent spies to watch them but the ronin ensured that any tactics were concealed. Protecting the revenge plans and his family, chief steward, Oishi diverted the attention of the spies by moving to Kyoto, allowing the revenge plans to continue secretly.
On a snowy night in December, after gathering information about Lord Kira’s castle, the ronin, including Oishi were ready to take finally take revenge. The siege began as the 47 men stormed the castle, they encountered some resistance but many of Kira’s men, including his son, ran away. With the knife that had killed Lord Asano, Oishi sliced off Kira’s head and the revenge was complete.
The 47 turned themselves into the authorities, knowing that the price of the attack would be their own lives. The ronin were admired across the region for their intricate and precise plan, as exemplary samurai and true followers of the code of bushido. Nevertheless, they had still broken the law and had to be punished. Every one of the 47 Ronin was sentenced to honourable form of death, to commit seppuku and were buried next to their Lord’s grave in the nearby temple.
The story of these courageous men spread through Japan and ever since, that snowy eve has been recounted to many every December. A story of loyalty, courage and precision, a tale carved into Japanese history.
47 RONIN will be available on Blu-ray with Ultraviolet & DVD, Limited Edition 2-Disc Lenticular 3d & 2D Blu-ray from May 12th. Click cover to pre-order:
Japanese legend comes to life when Keanu Reeves makes an explosive return in the epic action adventure 47 RONIN. An epic fantasy tale of revenge, with legendary heroes, shape- shifting witches, mythical beasts, told with incredible special effects.
A visually spectacular story of revenge, love and honour, 47 RONIN is based on the fictional story of the forty-seven Ronin, a real-life group of master-less samurai who in 18th-century Japan choose to avenge the murder of their master.
When a deceitful warlord manages to trick the Samurai’s master into his untilmely death his followers find themselves leaderless, dis-honoured and banished from their village. Upon realising their master was bewitched and part of an evil plot the Ronin vow to seek vengeance and restore honour to their people, however to do this they must seek the help of Kai — a half-breed who they once rejected.
Starring king of ‘The Matrix’ series Keanu Reeves (Speed, Chain Reaction) as the main protagonist Kai, the film also stars Hiroyuki Sanda (Wolverine, Sunshine) and Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim, The Brothers Bloom). 47 RONIN is the directorial debut for Carl Rinsch (The Gift), produced by Scott Stuber (Ted, Identity Thief), Pamela Abdy (Identity Thief, upcoming Endless Love) and Eric Mcleod (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Austin Powers series).
SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG
Find your local STARBURST stockist HERE, or buy direct from us HERE. For our digital edition (available to read on your iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows 8, Samsung and/or Huawei device - all for just £1.99), visit MAGZTER DIGITAL NEWSSTAND.
CLICK COVER TO GET YOUR DIGITAL COPY
FROM AROUND THE WEB: