|"Ōishi Kuranosuke" leads the pack of Akō rōnin into Sengaku-ji.|
Anyway, people who know me and my views on this bump in the relative peaceful history of the mid-Edo Period, know that I am not a fan of the leader of this rōnin hit squad, Ōishi Kuranosuke, and I challenge the motives of what the group really wanted to accomplish through their 'feudal drive-by'. Popular myth, as first spread by bunraku puppet and kabuki plays, say the rōnin took their revenge out of a deep sense of 忠孝 (chūkō) or 忠義 (chūgi) to justify their actions. These are two words for 'loyalty' that are often associated with the loyal 47 rōnin story, and regardless of real history, the Japanese love the fictional account of the incident. But why?
|There goes Kira's head|
It used to annoy me. It really did. I just didn't understand why people don't challenge the myth and take a look at the hard facts surrounding the incident. Was this just another, older example of Japanese white-washing their history to glorify something that really shouldn't be glorified? I really have wondered and struggled with this. But as I stood within the precincts of Sengaku-ji, a lone non-believer adrift in a sea of Kool-Aid drinkers and listening to the cacophony of 'rōnin-talk', I think I finally understand "why".
|All they wanted were new jobs and stipends- probably not|
And, when the attack on Kira's mansion began, I can almost certainly guarantee that the rōnin were not counting on achieving immortality and becoming the embodiment of 忠孝 (chūkō) and 忠義 (chūgi) within Japanese culture, that's for sure.