back to top

8 Things You Need To Know About 47 Ronin

The legend about 47 Ronin is one of the most known stories in Japan. It's a great part of Japanese history and as many say it's a work of art. It's a story about 47 brave Japanese men who honored their names forever and brought hundred years of peace to Japan. Here are 8 things that might be interesting about this story.

Posted on

8. What Is Ronin?


Ronin is simply a Samurai without master. During the feudal period in Japan, Samurais were the elite warriors and protectors of an emperor. If they failed to protect their lord, they were being called Ronins, it wasn't just a name, they had to abandon their houses and families. If not, their name was dishonored forever and family killed, so being called a Ronin was not an easy thing and most of them were living in monastirs with monks. There are many stories in Japanese history and folklore about Ronins, but the most well known and famous one is the story about 47 Ronin.

7. 47 Ronin and Seppuku

Seppuku, or Honor suicide was a ritual invented in ancient Japan. It was originally made for Samurais and only they had right to use this ritual. During the seppuku, person would disembowel himself using small sword tanto, and sometimes there would be a second person with Katana to slice his head off and end his suffering quickly. Most commonly Ronins used this ritual, because they believed that their master died because of their failure and they deserved no life after that. Also not being able to protect a master was considered a big shame, so Seppuku was a good way to get honor and respect back. The most massive Seppuku ritual was performed in Japan, by 47 Ronin. Their lord was killed by emperor and they had no right for revenge, but it didn't stop them and they got there revenge by killing their lords killer. After that they went to court and after three months of consideration they were allowed to perform Seppuku ritual. All 47 men committed an honor suicide together, and as some of the writhers describe it, it was as beautiful as sakura during fall.

6. Movie About 47 Ronin

In 2013, movie about 47 Ronin came out in movie theaters. Keanu Reeves was playing the main role in this movie. It was pretty successful and accurate description of an actual story, except of Keanu Reeves being mixed blooded Ronin. In an actual story there is no mixed blooded Samurai. In an ancient Japan, mixed blooded people were not allowed to become a Samurai and so it was impossible for them to become a Ronin respectively. If we close eyes on that fact, and on some supernatural creatures and superpowers, this movie was good remake for this story.

5. Bushido, or way of the warrior

Bushido was the way of life of Samurai. It was something like a codex or creed. It was built on beliefs about honor and respect. Bushido code was one of the reasons why honor was more important for Samurais than life. In the story of 47 Ronin, everybody followed bushido code even after death. After they got revenge on their masters killer, they didn't run away even thought they could. Even in the court they asked Judges to allow them to perform Seppuku, because it was their way of life, their path which they completed with the great honor.

4. Behind every strong man stands a strong woman


Women play important role in our lives. So was during feudal era in Japan. Spine of every household was woman. In the story of 47 Ronin, they had strong backup from their wives, which played important role in their decisions. None of those Ronins were afraid that something could happen with their children, and they were sure that after death, their names would be protected by their wives. In a traditional Japanese family you could never tell that husband loved wife, because there were strict rules and great respect, but love was so big that couple Ronins wives after hearing that their husbands committed a suicide, killed themselves to be forever with their loved ones.

3. Role of religion

Religion was really important in Japan, during the feudal era. All the beliefs were built around it and it had a strong influence on people. As we already mentioned Seppuku was a ritual of honor suicide. It was influenced strongly by religion, people believed that by committing suicide they would go to heaven and be there with their loved ones forever. Being afraid to die could have been lethal in that times, so children from early age were being taught that death was the best thing in the world and they needed to accept it with smile. Same thing was happening in among Vikings. If we look through some historical books about them, we may thing that they even had a death wish, and were trying to die during every battle.

2. Honor Suicide or shameful suicide?

Many critics argue the fact of honor suicide among 47 Ronin and honor suicide entirely. We can see that from nation to nation, understanding of suicide varies. For example in christianity it's considered as the most shameful acts and is even believed that the person who committed a suicide can never go to heaven. Also in the story of 47 Ronin, Seppuku was something like a sentence even though it was requested by Ronins. Is it honor or not, suicide is still a suicide. Even though story of 47 Ronin is well known and appreciated, they kill themselves and it shouldn't be considered as act of bravery or honor. Yes it was what they believed in, but suicide should never be an option.

1. Story of 47 Ronin is also a love story


From all the information above, we understood that the story of 47 Ronin is mainly the story about heroism and honor of brave men, who gave their lives protecting the name of their masted. But there is one more detail in this story that might be interesting. One of those Ronins loved his masters daughter. It's not proven, but we can see some details about it even in the movie. Some legends say that the Ronin who loved masters daughter was the one who organized and planned the revenge. It was painful for him that he had to die, but only thing that gave him strength was his belief that they would meet again after life. In the end I will say that it's a strong story which in my opinion should know every person who has at least small amount of humanity inside.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!