Behind the Story of Blood and Tears — The 47 Ronin

Behind the Story of Blood and Tears — The 47 Ronin

September 11, 2018 Behind the Story Blog Blood and Tears Graphic Design History Japan 0

Credit: sabakuINK CC BY-SA 4.0
Source: Museum of Fine Arts

In episode 6 of Blood and Tears, Usaburo received the gift of a small hand towel decorated with a print of contemporary actor Ichikawa Yaozo III. The print depicts him as the lead character from the traditional kabuki play, Treasury of Loyal Retainers (忠臣蔵 Chûshingura).

Although the play uses fictional names, the story is based on a historical event, commonly known as the Story of the 47 Ronin or Ako Incident, which occurred in the early 18th century. The 47 Ronin story is said to exemplify the ideals of samurai loyalty, honor and righteousness. It has been dramatized in many traditional arts:

It is still a popular subject in contemporary culture:

Professor Henry Smith at Columbia University has an excellent article tracing the deep influence this story had, and still has, on Japanese culture.

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