Ako incident (1/2)The revenge incident of the 47 Ako warriors that became the basis for the Chushingura

Ako incident

Ako incident

Article category
case file
Incident name
Ako Incident (1701-1703)
Tokyo/Hyogo Prefecture
Related castles
Edo castle

Edo castle

Chushingura is a TV drama that is popular during the year-end and New Year holidays. The story of the 47 warriors, including Kuranosuke Oishi, who rose to avenge their master's regrets, has been made into not only television, but also movies, novels, kabuki, and plays. The origin of ``Chushingura'' dates from the stabbing incident in the Matsu Corridor of Edo Castle on March 14, 1701, to December 14, 15, 1703 (January 30, 1703). The ``Ako Incident'' refers to the attack on Kira Uenosuke by 47 samurai. This time, I will explain the Ako incident in an easy-to-understand manner.

Ako Incident ① There was a stabbing in the Matsu Corridor of Edo Castle!

The Ako Incident began on March 14, 1701, when Asano Takukami, also known as Asano Takukami, slashed Kira Uenosuke, also known as Kira Yoshio, in the Matsuno Grand Corridor of Edo Castle. Incident”. The time is the era of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the fifth shogun of the Edo shogunate. On this day, Tsunayoshi greeted the imperial envoys and envoys from Kyoto, and preparations were made to entertain them.

Takumi Asano, 35 years old at the time, played the role of a treat for this imperial envoy. He served as the lord of the Ako domain (currently Ako City, Aioi City, and Kamigori Town, Hyogo Prefecture). On the other hand, Kira Koenosuke is 61 years old and holds a position called ``Takaie'' in charge of rituals and liturgy in the shogunate, and is one of the top ``Takaie Kimonsen.'' Uenosuke was the superior of Takumi no Kami and served as a guide for banquets.

The summary of the incident is as follows. While Uenosuke was talking with Kajikawa Yosobei in the pine hallway, Takumi no Kami came from behind and called out to him, saying, ``Do you remember my grudge?'' (or something like that) and slashed him with a small sword. . When he slashed Uenosuke's shoulder and tried to slash him again, Uenosuke turned around and the sword hit him above the eyebrow. Uenosuke was surprised and ran away, but Takumi Kami slashed him two more times.

Afterwards, Takumi Kami was tackled by Kajikawa Yosobei, and was also subdued by the people around him who noticed something strange. The line "I'm in the palace!" is famous in dramas and movies.

Ako Incident ② Why did Takumi Asano attack Kira Kounosuke?

Why did the Matsuno Corridor stabbing incident occur? According to Metsuke Tamon Denhachiro's ``Tamon Denhachiro Memorandum'' (*some say it lacks credibility), upon interrogation, Kira Kaminosuke said, ``I have no idea, it's probably Takumi Asano's madness.'' I'm answering. On the other hand, Takumi Asano said during interrogation that he was ``not mad,'' but explained that the cause was ``my grudge.'' ``It's very unfortunate that we lost the attack,'' he said.

During the interrogation, Takumi Kami did not say anything other than ``remorse'' as to why he had committed the incident. On the contrary, even if you look at the historical materials of the time, there is no clear reason given. Various theories have been proposed as to the cause of the incident. Here we will introduce the main theories.

Was Kira Uenosuke hated?

First, there is a theory that the cause was on Kira Koenosuke's side. Kira Koenosuke did not receive a bribe (or the amount was too small) from Asano Takumi no Kami, who had come to ask for instructions on banquets, so he got angry and hit the Uchikakumi harshly, and did not give sufficient instructions regarding banquets. ,something like. However, at that time, it was customary to offer a bribe when asking for advice, so if the master master did not give a bribe, it could be considered a mistake on the master master's side.

There is also a theory that, regardless of bribery, Uenosuke, who was stingy and had a bad personality, used power to harass Takumi no Kami. A samurai's diary written a few days after the incident describes Uenosuke as ``an arrogant and greedy person'', and it seems that he had problems as a human being. However, since he seems to have been respected as a great prince in his territory, it is undeniable that there was a bias in these descriptions, thinking that ``no ordinary person would suddenly be attacked.''

By the way, in ``Horibe Yahei Kanamaru's Personal Diary'' written by one of the 47 samurai before the raid, it is said that the reason for this was that ``I was criticized extremely badly for not standing up for Bushido.''

Was Takumi Asano sick?

The theory that the cause of Takumi Asano's head was due to stress is being whispered. The role of treating imperial envoys was an all-out effort involving the entire clan, and the entertainment expenses were taken out of the clan. Uenosuke gives detailed instructions regarding the details of the liturgy. What's more, Takumi Uchikami, who has always had a bad temper, suddenly explodes when the stress of his body and mind reaches his limit. The theory is that even though it was an important day to entertain an envoy from the imperial court, he became mad and suddenly attacked the enemy.

Originally, Takumi Kami had a chronic disease called ``tsukae,'' which caused him to feel a strong feeling of pressure in his chest and other areas, and a samurai doctor had prescribed him medicine three days before the incident. According to analysis by modern psychiatrists, there is a theory that Takumi Kami may have suffered from schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. On the other hand, there is a counterargument that it is unreasonable to treat it as a mental illness because it is a disease related to the liver and digestive system, and this counterargument currently prevails. In addition, there is a theory that Asano Takumi no Kami's uncle was involved in a stabbing incident at Shiba Zojoji Temple due to madness, so there is a theory that this is the kind of ``bloodline''.

Ako Incident ③Takumi Asano commits seppuku, Ako clan commits kaieki

Now, what happened to the Shogunate in response to the Matsu no Corridor stabbing incident? Takumi Asano was fired from his post as a banquet official, ordered to commit seppuku on the same day, and by the evening of the incident, the lord of Mutsu Ichinoseki, who had been taken into custody, was fired. He committed seppuku in Takeaki Tamura's garden. It is unusual for a daimyo to commit seppuku on the same day.

At that time, Tsunayoshi was strengthening his relationship with the imperial court in order to obtain an official rank for his mother, Keishoin, and on the day of the incident, he entertained an imperial envoy for that purpose. Tsunayoshi felt that not only himself but his beloved mother's face had been smeared, and he may have been unable to suppress his anger towards Takumi no Kami.

When Takumi no Kami was told that he had to commit seppuku, he expressed his gratitude for not having to beheaded, which was a humiliating process, and then committed seppuku. His body was taken over by retainers of the Asano family and buried quietly at his family temple, Sengakuji (Minato Ward, Tokyo).

Furthermore, the shogunate abolished the Ako domain. The samurai who served the Asano family ended up on the streets. The feudal retainers withdrew from the Edo domain residence, and early palanquins were also sent to Ako Castle in Ako, Banshu (Ako City, Hyogo Prefecture), and on March 19th, the vassals of Ako Castle were informed of Takumi no Kami's seppuku and kaiki. .

The head of the family, Kuranosuke Oishi (Yoshio Oishi), is organizing his remaining affairs while the family debates what to do about handing over the castle. Should he surrender the castle, besiege himself in it to express his protest, or rather commit seppuku in front of the castle and die as a master master? As a result of a heated debate, the castle was peacefully surrendered on April 19th due to the fact that the lord's younger brother Daigaku Asano (Nagahiro Asano) was still alive and there was a possibility of the family being restored.

Ako Incident ④ Kira Kaminosuke also moved “without blame”

Kira Uenosuke, on the other hand, had no particular complaints. Not only that, but on the day of the incident, Tsunayoshi Tokugawa sent his condolences. Takumi Asano's side was not satisfied with this. ``Shouldn't there be some kind of punishment for Koenosuke if the fight is successful?''

However, this ``fighting, success, failure'' means that when both sides draw their swords and get into a scuffle, both parties are punished. The shogunate completely regarded Koenosuke as a victim because he did not draw his sword and ran away without resisting Takumi no Kami.

However, public opinion is not so easily convinced. When someone whispers to him, ``Maybe I did something bad enough to get slashed during an important ceremony,'' Koenosuke feels depressed. Moreover, since he was picked on for a fight and fled without fighting, some people may have criticized him as ``disgracing the samurai.'' It seems that there were also voices hoping for revenge.

Because of this, Uenosuke retired from Takaie Kimonsen. The shogunate ordered him to change his residence, or move, to a mansion in Honjo (Sumida Ward, Tokyo). The reason is not clear, but there was a rumor in Edo that the shogunate had moved Kounosuke to the suburbs in order to take revenge.

In addition, Koenosuke retired in December and allowed his adopted heir Kira Sahei (Yoshichuka) to inherit the headship of the family. If you retire, there is no problem even if you are not in Edo, and you can hide. Uenosuke must have been wary of revenge.

Ako Incident ⑤ To raid or not? Kuranosuke Oishi's sufferings

On the other hand, the Asano family was divided into two groups: the Edo radical faction and the Kamigata gradualist faction. The radicals who advocated revenge were Yasubei Horibe and others who lived in the Edo mansion, and they seemed to think that although there was a principle of winning and losing in a fight, the master was dead but the other was still alive, and it would be a shame for the samurai to leave this as it was. .

The article on the Ako incident continues.

Naoko Kurimoto
Writer(Writer)I am a former travel industry magazine reporter. I have loved history, both Japanese and world history, since I was a child. I usually enjoy visiting temples and shrines, especially shrines, and often do ``pilgrimages to sacred places'' themed around historical figures. My favorite military commander is Ishida Mitsunari, my favorite castle is Kumamoto Castle, and my favorite castle ruins is Hagi Castle. My heart flutters when I see the ruins of battle castles and the stone walls of castle ruins.
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