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47: The True Story of the Vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Akô
47: The True Story of the Vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Akô

47: The True Story of the Vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Akô

HISTORY

992 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $29.95 (US $29.95) (CA $39.95)

Publication Date: October 2019

ISBN 9780918172778

Rights: US & CA

Leete's Island Books (Oct 2019)

Price: $29.95
 
 

Overview

An in-depth Samurai's tale of justice, honor, politics, and the law of equal punishment

This is the story of a few men who valued justice more than life. They were members of the large Corps of Samurai in the feudal domain of Akô in western Japan. But when their lord committed the crime of drawing his sword within the castle of the Shogun, the law decreed that he should be sentenced to death, that his heir would not inherit the domain, and all of his vassals would become ronin, dismissed from employment, evicted from their homes, and deprived of their income. All 308 samurai in Akô knew the law and accepted it. And if their lord had succeeded in killing the man he attacked in the castle that would have been the tragic end of this episode. But their lord was subdued and failed to kill his enemy; which meant that yet another law came into play: the Principle of Equal Punishment. 47: The True Story of the Vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Akô tells the harrowing tale of how all this was argued, what was decided, what the results were, and what ultimately became of those 47 men who remained. 47 Ronin tells the tale in immense detail—with maps, graphics and gorgeous illustrations. It provides a richer and more in-depth picture of the Samurai than readers will find in any other medium, offering a comprehensive picture of a tale of justice, honor, politics, and the law of equal punishment.

Author Biography

Thomas Harper is retired from the Centre for Japanese and Korean Studies at the University of Leiden, where his academic specialty was The Tale of Genji and its readers. In 2015 he and his co-compiler Haruo Shirane published Reading The Tale of Genji: Sources from the First Millennium (Columbia University Press), prior to which he had written several scholarly articles on this subject. He is also the translator of Tanizaki Jun'ichirô's In Praise of Shadows, published by Leete's Island Books. For the past thirty years, however, he has also maintained a deep interest in a very different corner of Japan, the vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Akô (1702). As it happens, this famous event is one of the best documented episodes in Japanese history. Harper has spent years, first collecting these materials, and then writing the story as they tell it, rather than as legend tells it. This book is the culmination of that work, and the first time all of these documents have been used to tell the complete story of the Akô vendetta in English.