Act 12, from the series 12 Acts of New Treasury of Loyal Retainers

Ichiryusai Kuniteru

Edo period (1615-1868), 1854

The Chushingura is a tale set in the Edo period (1615-1868). It was written about 1748 for the puppet theater but is now most famous as a Kabuki play. It recalls an incident that took place on the night of January 30, 1703, in which the retainers of the disgraced Lord Asano Naganori broke into the mansion of their archenemy Lord Kira Yoshinaka and murdered him. The vendetta completed on their lord’s false accuser, the forty-seven ronin (masterless samurai) were arrested and sentenced to death. Because of their sense of duty to their lord, the Shogun permitted the brave warriors the honor of death by harakiri (ritual suicide).