February 4, 2015

February 4, 1703: 47 Ronin Commit Suicide

The Loyal 47 Ronin, a modern-ish retelling
of the tale. Available at Amazon.com.
The tale of the 47 Ronin is a popular Japanese legend, but it appears to have been based in actual events. And, it reaffirms what I have always believed about Party Planning -- it can be a nightmare.

This is the story in brief:

Two Japanese nobles were charged with arranging a reception for the Emperor, and a court official was assigned to them to teach them the finer points of court etiquette. He didn't do his job and was rude and arrogant to them, possibly because they weren't bribing him properly. Finally, one of the nobles lost his temper and assaulted him. The official's injuries were minor, but the offense had been committed in an area where any kind of violence was taboo. The hot-tempered fellow was ordered to commit seppuku (ritual suicide.)

All of his goods were confiscated, of course, and his family was ruined. His 300 or so retainers were all now ronin, or masterless.

47 of them decided to avenge their master. After a long and complicated plan was carried out, they were finally successful. They killed the official and hauled themselves off to the authorities.

Now, the ronin had been expressly prohibited from seeking revenge in this matter, so they were in a lot of trouble. On the other hand, they were abiding by the Samurai Code in taking their revenge. There was also a whole lot of public support for their actions. What to do, what to do?

The shogun finally resolved the affair in a manner that was satisfactory to all. The ronin were notexecuted as criminals, but they were allowed to commit seppuku. There you go, happy ending for all.

Oh, and the other 253 ronin were employable again.

Pictured above: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PCNZJU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001PCNZJU&linkCode=as2&tag=selshps-20">The Loyal 47 Ronin</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=selshps-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001PCNZJU" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

No comments: