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Forty-seven Ronin

Forty-seven Ronin, Jap. Chushingura, group of Japanese samurai who avenged the disgrace and seppuku (suicide) of their master, Lord Asano, in 1703 by assassinating Lord Kira, the official responsible for his death. After a year of debate at all levels of society, the ronin (masterless samurai) committed seppuku as they had been ordered. They have since been regarded as great cultural heroes who embody the virtue of loyalty and are celebrated in traditional tales and a number of works of art. These include a popular 18th-century drama by Chikamatsu Monzaemon; 19th-century Japanese prints; films by Kinugasa Teinosuke (1932), Mizoguchi Kenji (1942), and Hiroshi Inagaki (1962); modern stage and television plays; and, in the West, a dramatic adaptation ( The Faithful ) by John Masefield.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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