The 47 Ronin Story

Topics: Samurai, Japan, Merchant Pages: 4 (1484 words) Published: June 16, 2013
The 47 Ronin Story Paper (#1)

The 47 Ronin Story takes place in 1701, approximately 100 years after the Tokugawa Shogunate was formed. The story displays much of the changes going on in Japanese society and culture. From the declining importance of the Samurai, to the rising influence of the merchant class, and finally to the inevitable changing of values that are all exacerbated by the long peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The changing of values were not just commonplace among the classes, it also reached into the high echelons of the court. The corruption of the court sparked the beginnings of a series of events that at it's conclusion would inspire a nation and ultimately define them.

The seventeenth century was a long era of peace for Japan and the Tokugawa Shogunate. To ensure the peace was upheld, the Shogun employed several tactics to control the power of the Daimyo and to prevent them from warring with the Shogunate. The Alternate Residence System, which forced the Daimyo to live in Edo every other year, proved to put a financial chokehold on the Daimyo, as the cost of maintaining two separate residences were expensive. The Shogun also controlled the Daimyo in other ways, by restricting their actions and stripping them of their power, the Shogun was able to ensure the long era of peace was sustained. With no war to fight and without power or financial stability, many of the underemployed Samurai flocked to the cities in search of idle pleasures, which provoked the deterioration of the moral code of Bushido. (the way of the warrior) A prime example of the declining of the Samurai is the reports that Oishi receives of the men in Kyoto. "He had even heard rumors that samurai had been seen in the Kabuki theaters of Kyoto, the city of pleasure as well as of temples, but these he found hard to believe." With the rising of the merchant class and the mindless indulgence of the changing samurai, many samurai often times turned to the merchants who...
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