- Samurai (Ancient Japanese Warriors)
- A brief story of Chushingura
- The story of Chushingura has been interpreted in various ways
Samurai (Ancient Japanese Warriors)
Samurai appeared around 1000 years ago in Japanese history. They pledged their loyalty and provided military force for their masters, much like knights in medieval European society. In return, they were given part of the land and guaranteed income for living expenses from their master. For ages, The Samurai had been an army force. However, during the middle Edo period (one of the most peaceful times in Japanese history), they barely worked as warriors and were committed to the feudal government as civil servants.
A brief story of Chushingura
The Chushingura event was a historical event that happened during the samurai age. Edo Bakufu (the central feudal government) strictly prohibited fights inside the capital castle to keep the country tranquil. However, a feudal lord from the Ako region attacked a prominent figure with a sword in a corridor of the castle. Even though the victim, Kira, survived, the Shogun (Top Samurai of Edo Bakufu) was very furious and ordered the Ako feudal lord to commit suicide by disembowelment (hara-kiri). The 47 samurai who were loyal to the Ako lord decided to avenge his death. They secretly prepared for almost 2 years and succeeded in cutting off the head of Kira. They gained support from the public, but were not allowed by the government and committed suicide like their lord did.
The story of Chushingura has been interpreted in various ways
Chushingura has been popular for stage performances since the Edo period, and more than 100 movies and TV dramas about it still exist. Some are historically accurate and others are parodies. At least one Chushingura film is presented every December on Japanese TV, because the 47 samurai attacked their enemy in December.
Last Knights is a Hollywood movie inspired by the Chushingura legend. The story is about a fallen warrior who rises against a corrupt and sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master.  It was directed by Japan’s Kazuaki Kiriya and written by two Canadians. It has a diverse cast in a fictitious European kingdom, and you can see similar elements from the story of Chushingura in this movie.
Enjoy watching “Last Knights”, and another Hollywood movie called “Saigo no Chushingura” during the end of the year and into the New Year holiday. If you want to watch the story of Chushingura portrayed in a Samurai drama, try this and see brave samurai dressed in ancient Japanese armor.