During the Tokugawa era in Japanese history, the country was ruled by the shogun, or highest military official, in the name of the emperor. Under him were a number of regional lords, the daimyo, each of whom employed a contingent of samurai warriors. All of these military elites were expected to follow the code of bushido - the "way of the warrior." Among the demands of bushido were loyalty to one's master, and fearlessness in the face of death.
The story known as "Chushingura" is based on a real historical incident that took place in 1701, in which forty-seven loyal samurai revenged the death of their lord. The story has become famous in Japan through countless plays, movies, and novels. Ronin' (a ronin - literally "wave man") - is a masterless samurai.
The Tale of the 47 Ronin:
In 1701, the emperor Higashiyama sent imperial envoys from his seat at Kyoto to the shogun's court at Edo (Tokyo). A high shogunate official, Kira Yoshinaka, served as master of ceremonies for the visit. Two young daimyo, Asano Naganori of Ako and Kamei Sama of Tsumano, were in the capital performing their alternate attendance duties, so the shogunate gave them the task of looking after the emperor's envoys. Kira was assigned to train the daimyo in court etiquette. Asano and Kamei offered gifts to Kira, but the official considered them totally inadequate and was furious. He began to treat the two daimyo with contempt.
Kamei was so angry about the humiliating treatment he wanted to kill Kira, but Asano preached patience. Fearful for their lord, Kamei's retainers secretly paid Kira a large sum of money, and the official began to treat Kamei better. He continued to torment Asano, however, until the young daimyo could not endure it. When Kira called Asano a "country bumpkin without manners" in the main hall, Asano drew his sword and attacked the official. Kira suffered only a shallow wound to his head, but shogunate law strictly forbade anyone