Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Kanadehon Chūshingura

(tr Chūshingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers, 1971). Popular title Chūshingura. Kabuki play by Takeda Izumo II, Miyoshi Shōraku, and Namiki Senryū. Originally written as a puppet play that was first performed in 1748, Chūshingura is categorized as a jidai-mono (historical play). Based on the celebrated Forty-seven Ronin Incident of 1701-03, it recounts how the villainous Kō no Moronao humiliated En'ya Hangan, provoking him into drawing his sword in the shogunal palace of Kamakura -- an act for which Hangan was sentenced to commit suicide -- and how 47 retainers loyal to Hangan avenged their lord's death. This is one of the most popular stories in Japan's literary and theatrical traditions. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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