The 47 Ronin for 47 Years

Ronin Gallery is excited to celebrate our 47th anniversary with the story of the 47 Ronin. This exhibition brings this classic tale of loyalty and revenge to life through the woodblock prints of ukiyo-e masters such as Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, and Utamaro, as well as the contemporary paintings of OZ Keisuke Yamaguchi. In addition, The 47 Ronin for 47 Years features two complete albums by Kuniyoshi–Biographies of the Loyal Retainers (c.1847) and Mirror of the True Loyalty of Each of the Faithful Retainers (c.1857).

 

The tale of the 47 Ronin stems from the historical event known as the Ako Incident (1701-1703). The play Kanadehon Chushingura (1748) propelled this historical tale and its 47 heroes to popularity, inspiring audiences of the time, ukiyo-e artists of the 19th century, as well as contemporary artists today.Versions of the story vary, but the historical tale goes as follows:

 

While in the service of the shogun, Kira Yoshinaka, a powerful government official, offends the young provincial lord Asano Naganori. Asano draws his sword, striking Kira. Though Kira’s injury is minor, Asano’s acts–both drawing a sword in the shogun’s palace and striking a member of the government–are fatal crimes. Asano is sentenced to seppuku (self-disembowelment). His principal retainer and 46 of his other now masterless retainers, or ronin, vow to avenge this injustice. After more than a year of careful planning, these ronin stage a night attack on Kira’s mansion. Victorious, they march through Edo and present Kira’s head to their avenged master’s grave. With their loyal quest at an end, they turn themselves in. They are sentenced to seppuku, yet their act of revenge so embodies the samurai code of bushido–loyalty and honor–that the ronin are enshrined at Sengaku-ji Temple beside their beloved master. Their grave continues to be visited and revered to this day.

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Takebayashi Sadashichi Takashige

Kuniyoshi

Takebayashi Sadashichi Takashige

JPR-208659

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Oboshi Rikiya Yoshikane

Kuniyoshi

Oboshi Rikiya Yoshikane

JPR-208658

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Oboshi Yuranosuke Yoshio

Kuniyoshi

Oboshi Yuranosuke Yoshio

JPR-208657

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Oribe Yahei Kanamaru

Kuniyoshi

Oribe Yahei Kanamaru

JPR-208655

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Kataoka Dengoemon Takafusa

Kuniyoshi

Kataoka Dengoemon Takafusa

JPR-208654

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Hayami Sozaemon Mitsutaka

Kuniyoshi

Hayami Sozaemon Mitsutaka

JPR-208653

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Miura Jiroemon Kanetsune

Kuniyoshi

Miura Jiroemon Kanetsune

JPR-208652

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Kaida Yadaemon Tomonobu

Kuniyoshi

Kaida Yadaemon Tomonobu

JPR-208651

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Okashima Yasoemon Tsunetatsu

Kuniyoshi

Okashima Yasoemon Tsunetatsu

JPR-208137

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Yuranosuke

Toyokuni III

Yuranosuke

JPR1-71056

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Kiura Okaemon Sadayuki

Kuniyoshi

Kiura Okaemon Sadayuki

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Scene I from Act XI: The Night Attack

Hiroshige

Scene I from Act XI: The Night Attack

JP-103702

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Loyal Retainers, Their Task Accomplished, Retire to Takanawa

Kuniyoshi

Loyal Retainers, Their Task Accomplished, Retire to Takanawa

JPR-109792

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Act II: The Palace

Utamaro

Act II: The Palace

JPR-103795

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Act X

Hokusai

Act X

JP1-68167

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Yokogawa Sanpei Munenori

Yoshitsuya

Yokogawa Sanpei Munenori

JP5717

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Uramatsu Sandayu Takanao

Yoshitsuya

Uramatsu Sandayu Takanao

JP5702

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Oboshi Yuranosuke Yoshio

Yamaguchi, Keisuke (OZ)

Oboshi Yuranosuke Yoshio

JP-108587

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Yoshida Sawaemon Kanesada

Yamaguchi, Keisuke (OZ)

Yoshida Sawaemon Kanesada

JP-108607

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Muramatsu Sandayu Takanao

Yamaguchi, Keisuke (OZ)

Muramatsu Sandayu Takanao

JP-108606

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Ushioda Matanojo Takanori

Yamaguchi, Keisuke (OZ)

Ushioda Matanojo Takanori

JP-108598

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Tominomori Sukeemon Masakata

Yamaguchi, Keisuke (OZ)

Tominomori Sukeemon Masakata

JP-108594

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Yokokawa Kanpei Munetoshi

Yamaguchi, Keisuke (OZ)

Yokokawa Kanpei Munetoshi

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Yanada Gorozaemon Suketake

Yamaguchi, Keisuke (OZ)

Yanada Gorozaemon Suketake

JP-108588

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