The true incidents that led to the vendetta of the 47 masterless samurai are briefly given here. A provincial lord (daimyô) named Asano Naganori was entrusted with the reception of an imperial envoy. He sought guidance in this matter from a more senior lord named Kira Yoshinaka, but he failed to provide the ‘gifts’ that were expected in such a situation. Kira was therefore displeased with Asano and taunted him, making him draw his sword inside the shogun’s palace. The shogun was so outeaged by this act that he ordered Asano to commit seppuku and confiscated all his lands. His household was disbanded and his retainers were made rônin (masterless samurai). 47 of these men, however, includin their former chief Ôishi Kuranosuke, plotted to avenge their lord’s death by killing Kira. In the twelfth month of 1703 the 47 retainers successfully attacked Kira’s mansion in Edo and took his head. Taking it to Sengaku-ji, the Buddhist temple where lord Asano was buried, they presented it before their lord’s grave and then took their own lives by seppuku.
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