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Posted: 7/2/2001 4:53:12 PM EDT
While the liberal elite grew up reading stories of magical places that never existed and ficticious people who did wonderful benevolent things, I grew up learning tales of TRUE supermen who did incredible things and grew to appreciate the values that motivated them. Since some of you may have been deprived of these true tales of REAL heros, I will offer you one for the benefit of you and your children so you don't end up like some uncultured liberal basing his beliefs on fairy tales. I offer you a TRUE story of duty, loyalty, revenge, honor and justice. I give you the story of THE 47 RONIN OF AKO. PART I There once was a country(read: backwoods, redneck, etc.)Samurai Lord who was head of the brave but rural Asano Clan. Lord Asano was head of a fierce clan that the Shogun enjoyed having at his disposal but also feared. It was the practice of the Tokugawa Shogun to "host" members of the remote clans to keep them in line, in other words key family members were required to live with the Shogun on a rotating basis to ensure the control over these clans that could threaten the Shoguns position of power. In addition, it was Japanes custom to hold the entire clan responsible and accountable for the acts of individual members. As a result clans did a fairly effective job of policing their own members to prevent the entire clan from being destroyed. In the spring of 1701 Lord Asano was "invited" to Edo(modern day Tokyo)Castle to serve on the reception committee. He was placed under the tutelage of the Master of Ceremonies Lord Kira. Lord Kira was a metropolitan Lord who enjoyed the finer things and liked receiving gifts and favors in return for doing his job. He was the Samurai equivalent to todays politicians who see their station as a means to advance themselves. It was Kiras duty to educate Asano in proper protocal to recieve Imperial Messangers. It soon became evident to Asano that Kira expected gifts and bribes in exchange for his instruction. Asano knew this was contrary to law, and more importantly to the Samurai codes of conduct and honor. Despite less than subtle demands from Kira and advice from others, Asano refused to bribe the official on moral and ethical grounds. When it became evident that Asano would not pay Kira to do his "duty" Kira took every opportunity to insult Asano and publicly embarrass him for any infraction. Asano tried to remain silent, learn the things required of him and fufil his duty to the Shogun.
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 5:00:06 PM EDT
Is this the one from "Ronin"?
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 5:14:21 PM EDT
Part II: The Incident During the procedures Lord Kira publicly and loudly embarrassed Asano for a minor offense of protocal(due to Kiras limited instruction)and Asano, his integrity and reputation attacked, broke and drew his short sword and attacked Kira. He landed two blows, one across the head and a slash to the back. Asano was quickly restrained and Kira tended to. The problem was, Asano had spilled blood on Imperial ground, a capital offense. Imperial investigator questioned Asanos' motivation but he replied only that he broke the law for selfish reasons and should be punished accordingly. Asanos only expression of regret was failing to kill Kira. Kira on the other hand claimed complete innocence and declared Asano a backwoods uncultured madman. Kira would survive his wounds and Asano was put to death. Attention and speculation now turned to the Asano Clan itself. Everyone knew the Asano clan would avenge their lord and assassinate Kira at the first opportunity. Kira knowing the firce reputation of the Asano clan employed the best bodyguard available in Japan. The Shogun put the Asano clan under formal watch. The Asano clan met and discussed the situation. They determined that any move they made would be monitored and intercepted. They also knew they would be killed in their attempt and Kira would survive leaving NO ONE to avenge Lord Asano. So they abandoned the clan. They sold their weapons, became drunks and took up in brothels. They made complete disgraces of themselves and were held up as the worst example of the modern Samurai in Japan who had lost all sense of loyalty, duty and honor. They were univerally despised and were treated with contempt. The Asano widow was especially wounded by their abandonment and betrayal and she cursed them to a man. This went on for over a year and the Shogun allowed the clan to remain in name due to the abandonment of it's source of power. This meant that Lady Asano would not be deprived of her home, clan property and official stipend. The government considered the situation resolved and Kira relaxed his guard somewhat.
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 5:15:13 PM EDT
agg. the suspense is killing me. finish the story... The first part is so exciting. [):)] NSF
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 5:28:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/2/2001 5:34:52 PM EDT by SteyrAUG]
Part III: Retaliation Just prior to the second anniversary of Lord Asanos execution the clan came together again in secret. They found 47 of the origianl members had kept their secret promise to return. They had publically humilated themselves(a most diffiuclt thing for a Samurai to do)in a country that valued honor even above one's own life. They knew this was the only way to have a chance at truly avenging their lord by killing Kira. They felt to die in an attempt was not worthy of the respect due to the head of their clan. They aquired their secret stash of weapons and supplies obtained with "misappropriated" funds and left an accounting for the Asano widow before they set out for Kiras mansion. In the early dawn of the anniversary they raided the mansion and engaged Kiras bodyguard contingent. The Asano clan wreaked a terrible vengance on anyone who tired to resist them or protect Kira. A fierce battle between the Asano clan and Kira's bodyguard ensued. Asano archers took out Kiras' spearmen who protected the thresholds and Asano swordsmen stormed the halls. Only the wounded and Kira's concubines were spared. Many tried to escape or hide behind the women and were killed for their cowardice. Sometime later Kira was finally removed from one of the secret passages he had built into the mansion for protection. The Asano's had previously learned where ALL the secret roooms and passages were. Kira was taken outside and presented with a sword so that he may take his own life. Kira refused and was summarily beheaded. Kiras head was then taken to and placed before Asanos grave and ALL 47 members of the clan committed suppuku(ritual suicide) having fulfilled their tasks and served the purpose of their existence. The Asano widow was stunned by the actions of the 47 and ashamed of her treatment of them. The government officially decried their actions but showed their approval by having no reprisals placed against the clan(an unprecedented situation). They were officially buried with "honors" next to their clan Lord. Public opinion now held them up as the highest standard of Samurai loyalty and despised Kira for his actions. The tale of the 47 remains one of the most popular in Japan today.
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 5:42:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/2/2001 5:50:10 PM EDT by SteyrAUG]
If anyone has to "see the movie", the best version is Chushingura(The Loyal 47) starring Toshiro Mifune, Toho Pictures 1962 subitiled in English. This can be special ordered at most video stores. I strongly recommend it.
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 6:42:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 6:52:51 PM EDT
[sleep]
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 6:53:35 PM EDT
SA thanks for the movie title of the Japanese film. I could not rememeber the film's title. I know that this story was used in Ronin to foreshadow the events latter in that film.
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 7:18:52 PM EDT
Thanks for the education, but any story that includes suicide as the solution to a problem doesn't hold much water in Western culture. I certainly wouldn't offer that to my children as being the honorable thing to do.
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 7:24:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/2/2001 7:22:21 PM EDT by critter_FR]
I grew up watching John Wayne. He did things the right way, fought to the death. There's no honor in mass suicide. [:)]
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 8:29:43 PM EDT
In regard to the suicide part please remember context. The word "samurai" means "to serve" and their life was not considered their own but the property of the lord they served. When the lord no longer remained they served no purpose. This is a traditional Japanese and very unAmerican mindset. The lesson learned or the one that should be imparted is not "they killed themselves" but they did the "right thing" at all costs even at their own expense. They had already destroyed their lives long before the raid. But they did it in order to correct a wrong. Teach your children THAT. Also it was important that I learned the values of other cultures at a young age. How different might have WW2 been had we understood the Japanese mindset from the start? And sepcifically to mattja suicide was not the solution. It was the end result of having served their purpose. I don't defend this idea that they were now useless, it is just what happened. And critter, the honor was in their correcting the situation. The seppuku was after the fact. Remember it was also voluntary. It was considered an honor to join a deceased lord. In fact, laws had to be passed in early feudal Japan to prevent everyone in a clan from doing this when someone notable died.
Link Posted: 7/2/2001 8:35:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sweep: Excellent story SA! I heard that awhile back when I was stationed in Okinawa Japan. I'd forgoten all about it. Thanks for reminding me of it. Unfortunately, apply that to modern day American society and the 47 would be labled evil gun toting, hell bent on war militants!
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I actually see the potential for a great adaptation for a new film. A US special forces unit leader is "setup and maligned and sold out" by a opportunistic politician. Said unit leader is court martialed and possibly executed. Core members of the SF group plot accordingly, go underground and later raid said politicians cozy house full of bodyguards. They of course find evidence to clear the name of their leader and are excused for their actions. Not likely to happen in the real world today but we have seen dumber movies.
Link Posted: 7/3/2001 4:19:45 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/3/2001 5:27:39 AM EDT
During the procedures Lord Kira publicly and loudly embarrassed Asano for a minor offense of protocal(due to Kiras limited instruction)and Asano, his integrity and reputation attacked, broke and drew his short sword and attacked Kira.
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"Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me." [0:)]
Link Posted: 7/3/2001 8:16:03 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Matt VDW:
During the procedures Lord Kira publicly and loudly embarrassed Asano for a minor offense of protocal(due to Kiras limited instruction)and Asano, his integrity and reputation attacked, broke and drew his short sword and attacked Kira.
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"Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me." [0:)]
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How about the words "The BATF has declared this firearm unsuitable for importation."
Link Posted: 7/3/2001 8:21:39 AM EDT
I would rather have a Miss Magnum bedtime story.
Link Posted: 7/6/2001 9:23:06 PM EDT
Revenge is best served cold. Good story. [:)(]
Link Posted: 7/7/2001 4:52:41 AM EDT
Thanks SteyrAug That's good reading. I will read that to my little ones, when they come back from visiting the inlaws in FL.
Link Posted: 7/7/2001 7:45:13 AM EDT
StyerAUG I too have long known and enjoyed that historical tale. It is one of my favorites as an example of duty, loyalty and "doing the right thing". I don't find the seppuku as wrong, because it was the "right" thing to do in their time and culture. In addition to the movies, it is also modified and used in the opening of David Morrell's book "The Fifth Profession", as an example of true bodyguard loyalty and dedication to an ideal. Thanks for sharing it with the readers of this forum.
Link Posted: 7/7/2001 9:24:00 AM EDT
Originally Posted By kpel308: [b][u]WWJWD[/u][/b] What Would John Wayne Do? [img]http://m3.easyspace.com/atgpat/waynejimaphot.GIF[/img] Semper Fi! Ken Little
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AMEN!!!!
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