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History of Japan ~ CHŪSHINGURA 忠臣蔵
The Significance of the 47 Rōnin
Unlike in the cinema version that you watched, the actual story of the 47 rōnin when stripped of its mythological elements seems a much shadier affair: run largely by one man; supported by a few others who may have dragged their subordinate relatives into it. Motives were probably mixed: economic, family, peer pressure, despair, adventure, love, and perhaps even personal commitment to one’s lord. It was financed by unethical withholding of the return of a dowry, killed many innocent people, including arguably Kira (after all Asano had been the aggressor), who in any event seems to have been a competent and humane daimyō.

Answer the following questions about the
film (Links to an external site.)

  1. In what ways does this depiction glorify or romanticize the actions of the rōnin?
  2. What do the incident and the drama tell us about the values of Tokugawa society?
  3. What role do those not of the samurai class (not the rōnin, but servants, etc.) play in the drama?
  4. What role do women play in the drama?
  5. What is to be learned from the depiction of the actions of the rōnin and their punishment?

Sample Solution

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