Thursday, May 28, 2009

Guest Blogger: David N

Patience pays off…The Loyal 47 Ronin (Chushingura)

The library just added this DVD to our collection. One of Japan’s most familiar stories, the Chushingura is based on actual events and has been the subject of approximately 200 film versions dating back to 1907. The story, in brief, is as follows:
In 1701, Japan’s ruling Shogun placed the young and morally upright Lord Asana in charge of a ceremonial reception of envoys from the Imperial Court in Kyoto.
To perform his duties, Lord Asano needs the help of Kira, the Shogun's Grand Master of Ceremonies. Kira is greedy and corrupt, and won’t help Lord Asano without being bribed.
Asano refuses to pay. Kira berates him mercilessly, humiliating him in public and finally goading Asano into drawing his sword in the palace – a capitol offense.
Asana is sentenced to commit seppuku, leaving his family and samurai retainers dishonored, while Kira walks away unpunished.
Asano’s retainers, led by Chamberlain Oishi, resolve to avenge their lord's death and restore honor to his house, biding their time until the opportunity presents itself. After two years of patience and secrecy, the 47 samurai who have remained faithful to their lord finally spring into action.
What makes this such a compelling story? Several reasons spring to mind. Its characters endure the unbearable, the disdain of their families and society, for years before achieving their goal. Also, their revenge is not based on personal grievance but is an expression of loyalty to a higher cause.

If the notions of fortitude and self sacrifice bear any attraction, you’ll find this film’s 166 minutes pass quickly by.

Check it out!

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