The 47 Ronin
Breaching the perimeter of the Edo Castle with a full armament and a flawless plan, the 47 ronin sought vengeance and honor. Seeking remittance in bloodshed, the 47 ronin remained loyal to Asano Takuminokami and avenged his death by killing their enemy, Lord Kira Kozukenosuke. The actions leading to this vendetta initiated during the receiving of the imperial delegation within the Edo Castle. When Kira continually discredits Asano’s efforts to prepare the Castle for the delegation, Asano unsheathed his short-sword and unleashed a fury of slashes towards Kira. Suppressed by Kajikawa Yosobe and unsuccessful in his attempt to kill Kira, Asano received the sentence of death. Although his death sentence was necessary the decision lay unequally balanced, Kira had not received the same penalty. Presently, I believe the decision of death should have also fallen upon Kira. Because he did not die, the Asano retainers were fully justified in their actions. Thus, the order to invade the Edo Castle was not a gesture against the government, but solely one against their Lord’s enemy. In contrast to Asano’s sentencing, Kira did not receive an immediate death. However, if the kenka ryoseibai principle held any importance, both men would have received a death sentence. I read a memorandum concerning the 47 ronin recently and its author, Okado Denpachiro agrees with the fact that the case went awry. Okado, an inspector-general in the Edo Castle, observed it would be a disservice if he did not call out a reinvestigation of the case. More over, Okado felt that offering [Kira] favorable treatment for his actions was too casual (Sato, 312). I agree with this sentiment, Kira did receive favorable judgment, to which only Lord Matsudaira observed. Concerned about Lord Matsudaira solely reviewing the case Okado requested that it reach the Shogun. However, since the case never reached the Shogun, I find it rather shameful because he would have established a more balanced...
Cited: Ikegami, Eiko. The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan. London: Harvard University Press, 1997.
Sato, Hiroaki Legends of the Samurai. New York: The Overlook Press, 1995.
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