October 29, 2015
Mel's International Department Outing Experience
During test week the International department visited the Imperial Palace (皇居) and Yasukuni shrine (靖国神社) with the purpose of learning about Japanese culture and history.
The part of the trip that interested me the most was the story of the 47 ronin. The story starts a Lord named Asano, who was continuously taunted by a corrupt Lord named Kira. Eventually Asano could no longer take Kira's teasing and insults and swung his dagger at him on imperial soil; the penalty for doing so being death.
In 1701 after Lord Asano was ordered to commit seppuku (ritual suicide), his servants and samurai now had no master. 47 of these samurai decided to hatch a plot of revenge on Kira for the sake of their master In order to avoid Kira's spies the men lived new lives, with the leader Oishi constantly drinking and spending his time with Geisha in order to make Kira believe the samurai had given up on any idea of revenge.
Oishi's plan worked and Kira relaxed his guard, allowing the samurai to enter the palace grounds and kill him. Of course like their master Lord Asano the punishment for this crime was seppuku and yet they had killed Kira knowing the punishment they faced. The story was extremely popular in Tokyo in Kabuki theatres due to the 'bushido honour' of the loyalty the samurai showed for their master.
Peter told us this story whilst we stood in front of the place where Kira’s murder took place and so it had a very powerful effect [Actually, it was the corridor where the inital fateful attack by Asano on Kira happened - PW]. I had heard of the story before, but hearing it in more detail was an interesting experience.