Final Statement of the 47 Ronin

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Final Statement of the 47 Ronin
translated by
Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford

DOCUMENT 1--- is the receipt given by the retainers of Kôtsuké no Suké's son in return for the head of their lord's father, which the priests restored to the family, and runs as follows:—




The above articles are acknowledged to have been received.

Signed, {SAYADA MAGOBELI.(Loc. sigill.)

{ SAITÔ KUNAI.(Loc. sigill.)

"To the priests deputed from the Temple Sengakuji,

His Reverence SEKISHI,

His Reverence ICHIDON."

DOCUMENT 2-- is a document explanatory of their conduct, a copy of which was found on the person of each of the forty-seven men:—

"Last year, in the third month, Asano Takumi no Kami, upon the occasion of the entertainment of the Imperial ambassador, was driven, by the force of circumstances, to attack and wound my Lord Kôtsuké no Suké in the castle, in order to avenge an insult offered to him. Having done this without considering the dignity of the place, and having thus disregarded all rules of propriety, he was condemned to hara-kiri, and his property and castle of Akô were forfeited to the State, and were delivered up by his retainers to the officers deputed by the Shogun to receive them. After this his followers were all dispersed. At the time of the quarrel the high officials present prevented Asano Takumi no Kami from carrying out his intention of killing his enemy, my Lord Kôtsuké no Suké. So Asano Takumi no Kami died without having avenged himself, and this was more than his retainers could endure. It is impossible to remain under the same heaven with the enemy of lord or father; for this reason we have dared to declare enmity against a personage of so exalted rank. This day we shall attack Kira Kôtsuké no Suké, in order to finish the deed of vengeance which was begun by our dead lord. If any honourable person should find our bodies after death, he is respectfully requested to open and read this document.

"15th year of Genroku. 12th month.

"Signed, OISHI KURANOSUKÉ, Retainer of Asano Takumi no Kami, and forty-six others."6

DOCUMENT 3-- is a paper which the Forty-seven Rônins laid upon the tomb of their master, together with the head of Kira Kôtsuké no Suké:—

"The 15th year of Genroku, the 12th month, and 15th day. We have come this day to do homage here, forty-seven men in all, from Oishi Kuranosuké down to the foot-soldier, Terasaka Kichiyémon, all cheerfully about to lay down our lives on your behalf. We reverently announce this to the honoured spirit of our dead master. On the 14th day of the third month of last year [pg 18] our honoured master was pleased to attack Kira Kôtsuké no Suké, for what reason we know not. Our honoured master put an end to his own life, but Kira Kôtsuké no Suké lived. Although we fear that after the decree issued by the Government this plot of ours will be displeasing to our honoured master, still we, who have eaten of your food, could not without blushing repeat the verse, 'Thou shalt not live under the same heaven nor tread the same earth with the enemy of thy father or lord,' nor could we have dared to leave hell and present ourselves before you in paradise, unless we had carried out the vengeance which you began. Every day that we waited seemed as three autumns to us. Verily, we have trodden the snow for one day, nay, for two days, and have tasted food but once. The old and decrepit, the sick and ailing, have come forth gladly to lay down their lives. Men might laugh at us, as at grasshoppers trusting in the strength of their arms, and thus shame our honoured lord; but we could not halt in our deed of vengeance. Having taken counsel together last night, we have escorted my Lord Kôtsuké no Suké hither to your tomb. This dirk,7 by which our honoured lord set great store last year, and entrusted to our care, we now bring back. If your noble spirit be now present before this tomb, we pray you, as a sign, to take the dirk, and, striking the head of your enemy with it a second time, to dispel your hatred for ever. This is the respectful statement of forty-seven men."

DOCUMENT 4 --Final Statement of Oishi Chikara, son of Chief Retainer Oishi Kuranosuke “I humbly thank your lordship for what you have been pleased to say. My father warned me from the first that our crime was so great that, even were we to be pardoned by a gracious judgment upon one count, I must not forget that there would be a hundred million counts against us for which we must commit suicide: and that if I disregarded his words his hatred would pursue me after death. My father impressed this upon me at the temple called Sengakuji, and again when I was separated from him to be taken to the palace of Prince Sengoku. Now my father and myself have been condemned to perform hara-kiri, according to the wish of our hearts. Still I cannot forget to think of my mother. When we parted at Kiyoto, she told me that our separation would be for long, and she bade me not to play the coward when I thought of her. As I took a long leave of her then, I have no message to send to her now.”

-Oishi Chikara's final statement before committing seppuku at the residence of Matsudaira Oki no Kami. Lord Matsudaira had offered to deliver a message to Chikara's mother, but he politely declined. Oishi Chikara was 16 years old.

"The day has come. I think the revenge will be complete within 3 days from today. For the last 2 years, we did our best and now we face the act of vengeance. I think our wish is fulfilled and all who will participate are excited. Kira is prepared for our attack, so whether we win or lose will depend on luck. "As I said before I won't think it unpleasant or reproachful whatever punishment is given to us by Kogi. Even if my dead body is shown, I think my duty will be fulfilled because my dead body will demonstrate Samurai loyalty to the entire country and it will strengthen their resolve." -Onodera Junai's final letter to his wife in Kyoto.

"Some people live all their lives without knowing which path is right. They're buffeted by this wind or that and never really know where they're going. That's largely the fate of the commoners--those who have no choice over their destiny. For those of us born as samurai, life is something else. We know the path of duty and we follow it without question."

-Oishi Kuranosuke gives his 16 year old son the choice of taking care of his mother and siblings or joining the assault on Lord Kira's residence.

"I have lived my entire life for this moment. One's life weighs lightly against duty."

- Oishi Chikara's reply to his father.

"We, the ronin serving Asano Takumi no Kami, this night will break into the mansion of Kira Kotzuke no Suke to avenge our master. Please be assured that we are neither robbers nor ruffians and no harm will befall the neighboring property."

-Placard the 47 ronin posted the night they avenged the death of their lord.

"No man shall live under the same heavens nor tread the same earth as the enemy of lord or father."

-(Confucious, ca 550 B.C.) This line was quoted by the 47 Ronin in their final statement as being the reason for their vendetta.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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