Ako incident (2/2)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

It was Kuranosuke Oishi and the Kamigata Gradual Progressive faction who continued to stop this radical faction. The reason for this was that there was a possibility of the Asano family being revived by Asano University. Although the shogunate closed the university's doors, blocking the gates and windows and forbidding students from leaving their homes, they maintained their status as hatamoto. For this reason, there was a possibility that the house could be rebuilt if the gates were closed.

The turning point came on July 18, 1702. Asano University was left in the custody of the Asano family, the original Hiroshima domain, and it became virtually impossible to rebuild the family. At this point, Kuranosuke turned into an aggressive raider. Although he originally supported the raid, did he continue to look for a possibility to protect his home until the end?

After that, Kuranosuke took the Shinbun (written oath) from those who agreed to take revenge and returned it to the person saying, "I will stop taking revenge," and carried out the "Shinbun Gaeshi," in which those who resisted became members of the raid. . As a result of selecting those with strong aspirations, the 120-plus members were reduced to just 50. Three more people disappeared three days before the raid, leaving 47 comrades.

More than a year has passed since the incident, and with their living funds beginning to run out, the Ako Ronins have no time to spare. If we don't decide on the raid date quickly... Then we receive information that Kira Kaminosuke will hold a tea party on December 14th. The day I was sure to stay home for the tea party was decided as the day of revenge.

Ako Incident ⑥ Invasion of the Kira residence!

On December 14, 15th year of Genroku, the raid finally began. The group departed from their base around 3 or 4 a.m. and split into two units to raid the Kira mansion. By the way, according to the current calendar, it is already December 15th, but at that time it was still the 14th because the date changed at sunrise.

The front gate unit led by Kuranosuke Oishi and the back gate unit led by Kuranosuke's son, Chikara Oishi (Ryokin) attack the Kira residence all at once. Approximately 100 retainers were on guard at the Kira residence for fear of a raid (some say they were unguarded), but the roni engaged in a diversionary tactic to disrupt the scene by shouting ``Fire!'' He closes down the tenement house where his servants live, lowering his military strength, and searches for his nemesis, Kira Kaminosuke.

He was nearby because the futon in his bedroom was still warm. Thinking so, the ronin and his friends searched the mansion and found an old man wearing white kosodes hiding in a room behind the kitchen. Jujiro Ma stabbed him with a spear, and Yuishichi Takebayashi slashed him with a sword, killing him. This old man was Kira Koenosuke himself. The raid ended in about 2 to 3 hours. The 47 samurai successfully completed their revenge.

After completing the raid, the roni moved to Sengakuji Temple, where Takumi Asano's grave is located, around 6 p.m. He prepared Kira's head in front of his master's grave and reported his revenge. The head was later returned to the Kira family via Sengakuji Temple.

Please note that not all of the 47 people went to Sengakuji Temple. Yoshida Chuzaemon and Tomimori Sukeemon left the group midway and went to report their revenge to the shogunate's Ometsuke. Also, Kichiemon Terasaka disappeared before he knew it. It is not clear why he disappeared, but it is said that he had received a secret order to report to the Asano head family in Hiroshima, or that he had fled just before the raid.

Ako Incident ⑦What happens to the Ronin after the raid?

The shogunate, which was informed of the raid by the Ometsuke, entrusted the roni to four major families: the Hosokawa family of the Kumamoto domain, the Mizuno family of the Mikawa Okazaki domain, the Matsudaira family of the Iyo Matsuyama domain, and the Mori family of the Nagato Chofu domain until a decision was made. I did. The treatment of patriots varied considerably depending on the daimyo family, and the Hosokawa family, where Kuranosuke Oishi and 17 others were entrusted, treated the patriots with hospitality and even petitioned for their lives to be spared. On the other hand, the other three families were treated as criminals, and it seems that they were criticized by the common people of Edo.

After that, the shogunate carefully considered how to treat the Ako samurai. The citizens of Edo welcomed the vengeance, and the samurai also praised him, but should he be acquitted, or should he be treated with a strict distinction between loyalty and violation of the law?

After more than two months of deliberation, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi decided to punish the Ronin. Since the military action was planned in response to the punishment prescribed by law, Tsunayoshi, who was a proponent of ``civil rule,'' seemed to think that he should be punished for violating the law.

In the end, the shogunate told Ako Roshi and others that ``his act of forming a clique and invading Kira's residence, alleging that he was taking revenge for his master, and killing Kira Koenosuke was extremely disrespectful to the shogunate.'' I ordered seppuku. Then, on February 4th, each of the roni committed seppuku at the daimyo mansion where they had been entrusted. His body was buried at Sengakuji Temple, the same place as his master.

After the Ako Incident

Kira Sahei, who succeeded Kira Uenosuke, was the one who was shocked by the Ako Incident. Although he fought hard during the raid and was seriously injured, the shogunate later confiscated his territory for the unclear reason that the response to the raid was ineffective, and the lord of the Takashima domain in Shinshu It was entrusted to Tadatora Suwa.

After being imprisoned in Suwa Takashima Castle, he died at the young age of 21 in 1706. It is very unfortunate that the Shogunate, pressured by public opinion, has now decided to take a ``fight-win-win'' approach and enshrine Sahei as a scapegoat.

On the other hand, Asano University was granted a general amnesty on August 20, 1709, following the death of Shogun Tsunayoshi, and in September of the following year, it was given territory of 500 koku in two counties in Awa Province (southern Chiba Prefecture). He returned to Hatamoto. In this way, the Ako Asano family was able to rebuild their family.

Reread the article on the Ako incident

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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