external image ronin.jpgThe story begins with Oishi, the chief retainer or the Asano clan. Oishi is riding through Ako with his master's daughter. The two observe the poor conditions that can be blamed on the Shogun's Life Preservation Laws. Lord Asano, Oishi's Lord, is in Edo on business. While there, he has to be taught proper manners by the court Master of Ceremonies. The Master of Cermonies is Kira, and he is a man that will help a person as much as that person is willing to pay. Asano is not willing to pay, and Kira provokes him within the castle one day. Asano draws his sword and strikes Kira; the Shogun sentences Lord Asano to death and confiscates all of his posessions. Lord Asano's samurai soldiers become outraged when they discovered that Kira survived the attack. The samurai vow to avenge their Lord's death.

The rest of the novel is based on the stragegy that is used to achieve the revenge. All of the soldiers have to spilt up and go their separate ways. Oishi, the leader, moves to Yamashina, but the Uesugi clan has hired spies to watch Oishi's every move. Oishi continues to delay the attack on Kira and begins to ruin his reputation. Oishi forces his wife to divorce him, and then he goes to pleasure houses and gets drunk a lot. Lord Asano's other followers begin to question if Oishi has given up on revenge and plan to take action themselves. Before their plans can be made, Oishi's plan works; the Uesugi clan withdraws all their spies. Oishi is now convinced that an attack on Kira can be executed. He goes to the meeting of the remaining followers and begins planning the attack.

The followers begin returning to Ako, the town where Kira lives, a couple at a tim. Oishi is one of the last ones to arrive. Once in Ako, the men begin to make final preparations for the attack. The night finally comes, and the followers break into Kira's castle. They do not kill anyone who does not oppose them; the only person they want to kill is Kira. Oishi finally finds Kira hiding in a small wood storage hut. Oishi fights with Kira until Kira became exhausted and fell to the ground. Oishi beheads him, and the samurai take Kira's head to their master's grave. There the men wait until the officials come to arrest them. Their punishment is discussed for a long time, but the final descision is death. The men were allowed to disembowel themselves in the noble ceremony of seppuku. The 47 samurai that took part in the murder of Kira were buried at Sengaku-ji temple. The temple is adjacent to the tomb of their beloved master. Their story is famous throughout all of Japan.

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