The 47 Ronin..truth vs legend.

Discussion in 'Japanese Culture and History' started by Tgace, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    I recently wrote a post about the 47 Ronin:

    http://tgace.com/2013/12/15/47-ronin/

    In a nutshell. Some scholars believe tuch of the "Legend" as we know it now is based on Meiji Era propaganda vs "the truth". While I don't know if anyone has all of the facts behind the "Ako Incident". I find some of the discussion and criticism attributed to the Samurai of the day kind of interesting.

    While many people think that this was a classic example of “Bushido”, the Samurai of the day and even modern scholars of Japanese history are not so sure. One scholar succinctly puts the historic quandary like this:

    The even greater ambiguity lies in the motivation and action of the ronin. They justified the attack as a vendetta (katakiuchi) on behalf of their lord, but in no way did the case fit either the legal or the customary definition of katakiuchi. Kira, after all, was not their master’s murderer: on the contrary, Asano had tried to murder Kira. Nor was there any justification for avenging the death of one’s lord, only that of a family member: the ronin even had to call on a Confucian scholar to come up with a textual basis for their action. Legalities aside, what was the underlying spirit of their act? Was it indeed personal loyalty to their lord, as the mainstream of the Chûshingura tradition would have it? Or was it a protest against the bakufu’s lenient treatment of Kira for his involvement in the incident? Or was it a simple matter of personal honor to carry out their master’s unfinished task? Or, as one school of interpretation would have it, were they impoverished samurai desperate for a new job and trying to prove their credentials?


     
  2. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    The sad part is the two lords originally had been friends and did tea ceremony together. This is how they knew Kira would be at home at a Sohen Ryu ceremony.
     
  3. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    I never heard that before....what source are you basing that on?
     
  4. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    I'm not really sure how that would fit in. I thought a central point to the events were that the ronin went forward as ordinary people for the following 2 years or so, they gained information by working as ordinary townspeople as Kira slowly put his guard down. Unless I'm misunderstanding?
     
  5. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I wish the new movie coming out was closer to reality then what it is. Monsters and white surfer dudes just killed a good story
     
  6. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Although it is probably safe to say there were no monsters or surfer dudes, The Truth is a pretty murky subject anyway. Nobody really knows for sure what the reality was.
     
  7. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I ment closer to reality then bill or ted and monsters running around.
     
  8. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Agreed. This movie is a disgraceful twisting of the story...no matter what the truth may have been.

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    ThTE=Tgace;1615133]I never heard that before....what source are you basing that on?[/QUOTE]

    Sorry to respond so late. Fact. I used to do embu (sword demonstrations) for the Ryu every year. The purpose was to lament what happened and try to show that being friends in tea is the better option.

    Two trains of thought in drawing the sword from seiza is it educates one to use the hips to cut. The second is that even sitting drinking tea one is still able to attack.
     
  10. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Sorry to respond so late. Fact. I used to do embu (sword demonstrations) for the Ryu every year. The purpose was to lament what happened and try to show that being friends in tea is the better option.

    Two trains of thought in drawing the sword from seiza is it educates one to use the hips to cut. The second is that even sitting drinking tea one is still able to attack.[/QUOTE]

    Ummm....ok.

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
     
  11. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Interesting! I wasn't aware that the Kage Ryu had such a direct connection to the story of Chushingura.

    On your comment, it would be remiss to not also mention systems such as Araki Ryu (and a number of others I know of that have similar waza) who teach a method of serving tea, with rather a dramatic, uh, flavour to it!



    Tgace, what Hyoho is saying is that his information comes directly from a ryu (system) that is intimately involved in the story, and indeed has a number of aspects which relate specifically to it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I've seen like three movie versions, and read the wiki page... Soo... I'm like an expert.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  13. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Are you trying to say something, Steve?
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just trying to keep it light, Chris. My impression is that this story is very simmilar to some of Americas stories about the revolution. The crossing of the Delaware, or the midnight ride of Paul revere. Or King Arthur or Robin Hood. While the kernel of truth is there, based on some actual event, the "truth" of the story is pretty much lost.

    Like other stories of its kind, this is a story that embodies many of the virtues that the Japanese value. And the historical truth of it is secondary.

    My favorite version so far is the 1962 movie.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  15. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think if you just go to enjoy and watch this movie for fun that it could be good!
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I'm going to see it in the theater. For sure. Even if I have to go alone. :)
     
  17. Spinedoc

    Spinedoc Brown Belt

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    Saw it yesterday. It was a good film. Won't post spoilers, but it was worth the ticket price.
     
  18. Mauthos

    Mauthos 2nd Black Belt

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    I have also seen this now with a good friend and we both agreed that it was a good film and quite a fitting tribute with a great deal of respect paid toward the true story that inspired the film.
     
  19. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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  20. Mauthos

    Mauthos 2nd Black Belt

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    That is an interesting article and has made me look at the film in a different light. However, I didn't think it was boring or derivitive, like 300, it was fun to watch and I still enjoyed it.
     

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