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47 Rônin / Chüshingura
Film Festival


1836 painting by Hiroshige of the 47 ronin crossing a bridge             brief story
history of the films

books about the 47 Ronin

selected films
early films
Mizoguchi's "47 Rônin" [1941]
Inagaki's "Chüshingura" [1962]
RECENT movies & coming soon

stageplays, other media

links


"The story of the 47 Ronin is one of the most celebrated in the history of the samurai. This was perhaps
all the more so because it occurred at a time when the samurai class was struggling to maintain a sense
of itself – warriors with no war, a social class without a function."
— F.W. Seal

This ancient story has been brought to the screen more than 80 times in Japan, with the latest version
released in January 2011; this page was started in mid-2012.


The True Story

The word chüshingura means 'vengeance'.

          brief essay
          h e r e

The revenge of the 47 samurai occurred on 14 December 1702 (known as the Genroku year 15).


History of The Films


          brief essay
          h e r e

Chüshingura entry at Wikipedia
historical 47 Ronin entry at Wikipedia


Books About The 47 Ronin Story

Tales of Old Japan 1871 book by A.B. Mitford  "Tales of Old Japan: Folklore, Fairy Tales, Ghost Stories, and Legends of The Samurai" [1871] by Algernon Freeman-Mitford, Baron Redesdale [1837-1916]
Includes a widely popular retelling of the Akô story
Kindle Edition with original illustrations from Amazon Digital Services [2008?] for $1.99 {sic}
Kindle Edition from Neeland Media [6/2010] for $2.51 {sic}
Dover Publns 7¾x6 pb [3/2005] for $9.79
Qontro Classic Books 11x8½ pb [7/2010] for $9.99
Kessinger Publng 11x8½ hardcover [5/2010] for $39.70
book entry at Wikipedia
The 47 Ronin Story book by John Allyn  
"The 47 Ronin Story" [1970]
by John Allyn, Foreword by Stephen Turnbull

Charles Tuttle Publng 9½x5¼ pb [9/2006] for $11.04
Charles Tuttle Publng hardcover [1970] out of print/scarce
Tokaido Road historical novel by Lucia St. Clair Robson  "The Tokaido Road: A Novel of Feudal Japan" [1991] by Lucia St. Clair Robson
The story of a (fictional) daughter of Lord Asano, who was revenged by the 47 samurai. But Lord Kira is still alive, so she trains as a samurai and then travels the 300 miles from Edo to Kyoto. Along the way, she is pursued by agents of Kira and joined by an orphan girl and a ronin assigned to protect her.
Kindle Edition from Forge/Macmillan [2005 edition] for $9.99
Forge Books 9¼x5¾ pb [11/2005] for $16.49
Ballantine Books 8x5½ hardcover [1/91] out of print/100+ used
official book sitebook entry at Wikipedia

47 Ronin Story art book by Barry Till  "The 47 Ronin: A Story of Samurai Loyalty and Courage" [2005] by Barry Till
Author is a curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in B.C., Canada; the book includes many ukiyo-e woodblock prints from their Asian collection
Pomegranate Press hardcover [3/2005] for $17.51
47th Samurai book by Stephen Hunter  "The 47th Samurai: A Novel" [2007] by Stephen Hunter
The Muramasa Blade became a military sword in World War II, then was the source of a great adventure for character Bob Lee Swagger; thru a twist of fate, Bob Lee becomes the 47th samurai himself when he joins 45 soldiers (whose leader has been killed, too) and a C.I.A. woman to do battle in a snowy scene resembling the battle at Ajo.
Kindle Edition from Simon & Schuster Digital [2007 edition] for $9.99
Pocket Star mass pb [11/2008] for $9.99
Pocket Star mass pb [11/2008] out of print/used
Simon & Schuster 9¼x6½ deckle-edge hardcover [9/2007] out of print/200+ used
Revenge of the 47 Ronin book by Stephen Turnbull  "The Revenge of The 47 Ronin, Edo 1703" [2011]
by Stephen Turnbull

short but thorough historical account, with illustrations
Kindle Edition from Osprey Publng [8/2011] for $8.97
Osprey Publng 9¾x7¼ pb [8/2011] for $13.11
Ronin's Mistress historical mystery novel by Laura Joh Rowland  "The Ronin's Mistress: A Novel of Feudal Japan" historical mystery [9/2011]
by Laura Joh Rowland

Demoted from Chamberlain to Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People, Sano Ichiro now has mere days to solve the mystery of the 47 samurai who waited two years to avenge their employer's death.
Kindle Edition from Minotaur Books [9/2011] for $12.99
Minotaur Books 8¼x5½ pb [9/2012] for $13.98
Minotaur Books 9¼x6 hardcover [9/2011] for $17.85


Selected Films
{ in chronological order }

character credits for 'Chamberlain Kuranosuke Oishi' at Internet Movie Database
character credits for 'Kazuemon Fuwa' at Internet Movie Database
character credits for 'Genzô Akagaki' at Internet Movie Database
character credits for 'Asano Takuminokami' at Internet Movie Database
character credits for 'Riku Oishi' at Internet Movie Database

jump to NEW movies, coming soon

'Chushingura'  (Tale of The 47 Rônin)  silent films
The earliest film version starred Matsunosuke Onoe [1875-1926] possibly in 1910 (release date uncertain); Onoe acted
in over 1,000 silent films, including at least a dozen more "Chûshingura" short & feature films thru 1926

"Chûshingura Godanme" silent short [Yokota Shokai March 1910] /tt0891296/ starring Matsunosuke Onoe

"Chûshingura" short [1913] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0965180/fullcredits

"Chûshingura" short [1914] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1020787/fullcredits

"Chûshingura Zohô" short [1915] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1043444/

"Chûshingura" silent feature [April 1916] /tt1066427/
starring Matsunosuke Onoe; believed to be the oldest still-existing feature film, although the print is incomplete (missing four scenes)

"Junji Chûshingura" feature [1917] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092594/

"Kana Tehon Chûsinghura" feature [1917] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1089695/

"Chûshingura" feature [1921] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223570/

"Jitsuroku Chûshingura" feature [1922] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1158882/

"Chûshingura" feature [1926] with narration & sound http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0877604/

"Chûshingura: Ten no Maki" feature [Japan April 1926] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0996369/

"Chûshingura: Hito no Maki" feature [Japan April 1926] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0996368/

"Chûshingura: Chi no Maki" feature [Japan April 1926] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1032162/

"Dai Chûshingura" [1932] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1226750/

"Shijû-hachi-nin Me" sound feature [Japan July 1936] /tt0265014/

"The 47 Rônin" [1941]
In 1941, the Japanese military commissioned director Kenji Mizoguchi ("Ugetsu") to make a version of the '47 Ronin' story. Mizoguchi chose for his source "Mayama Chüshingura", a cerebral play. "The 47 Ronin" movie was a commercial failure, since it was released in Japan one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The studio and Mizoguchi both regarded the project as so important that 'Part Two' was put into production and released in February 1942. The two-part "The 47 Ronin" wasn't shown in America until 1979.
www.imdb.com/title/tt0033654/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_47_Ronin

"Akôjô" [1952] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1942796/

"A Matter of Valor" aka "Dai Chûshingura" [1957] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0165168/

"The Loyal 47 Ronin" [1958] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0198371/

"Chushingura  -  Hana  no  maki  yuki  no  maki"
aka "47 Rônin"
  [Toho Japan Nov 1962]
Chushingura samurai movie  This is the version most familiar to Western audiences. Out of loyalty to a wrongfully-disgraced lord, 47 samurai attack his enemies, knowing that they are courting certain death. Directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, starring Koshiro Matsumoto, Yuzo Kayama, Tatsuya Mihashi, Akira Takarada, Yosuke Natsuki, Makoto Satô, Chûsha Ichikawa, Toshirô Mifune, Eisei Amamoto, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kenji Sahara, Tadao Takashima, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Takeshi Shimura, Yuriko Hoshi, Kumi Mizuno, Yumi Shirakawa & Mie Ham
Image Ent. widescreen b&w DVD [2/2001] for $26.09
Home Vision b&w VHS [7/97] 2 tapes for $49.95
Image Ent. b&w widescreen VHS [2/2001] 2 tapes for $29.98
full credits from IMDb1962 movie entry at Wikipedia

Toshiro Mifune appeared as ?ishi in the 52-part television series "Daich?shingura" [1971]

Toshiro Mifune appeared as Lord Tsuchiya in the epic "Swords of Vengeance", aka Ako-Jo Danzetsu [1978]

"Der Sommer des Samurai" [Germany June 1986]
Summer of The Samurai 1986 movie from Germany  After some Germans desecrate a Japanese shrine, a modern samurai travels to Germany to recover the stolen katana sword, which was forged by Muramasa for Oishi Yoshio. Not really related to the Chushingura tale (except for the 'macguffin' sword) and besides, the DVD is not available for any region. Co-written & directed by Hans-Christoph Blumenberg; starring Hans Peter Hallwachs, Cornelia Froboess, Wojciech Pszoniak, Nadja Tiller, Peter Kraus, Hannelore Hoger, Matthias Fuchs, Anton Diffring & Karl-Heinz von Hassel
DVD/Blu-ray not available • full credits at IMDb

"47 Ronin" aka "Shijûshichinin no Shikaku" [1994]
directed by Kon Ichikawa /tt0111170/

"Genroku Ryoran" [NHK-TV Taiga 1999]
49-episode TV series of the Ch?shingura starring Matsudaira Ken

"Chushingura" 9-episode mini-series [2004]
directed by Saito Mitsumasa, starring Matsudaira Ken

"Hana Yori mo Naho" [2006] directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
The event of the 47 ronin was used as a backdrop in the story, one of the ronin being a neighbour of the protagonists.

"47 Rônin"  in 3-D  [Universal Pictures Xmas 2013?]  
poster for '47 Rônin' 2013 film in 3-D starring Keanu Reeves  Long in development, official details announced March 2011: added 8/2012: bumped again, for Xmas Day 2013 release; based on the new trailer, the original story has been enhanced with leaping wizards and samurai armies and terrible dragons. Directed by Carl Erik Rinsch; script by Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini & co-producer Walter Hamada; starring Keanu Reeves, with Hiroyuki Sanada {as clan chief Oishi}, Tadanobu Asano {as Lord Kora}, Rinko Kikuchi {as mysterious Lady Mizuki}, and Kou Shibasaki {as Reeves's love interest}
DVD/Blu-ray not yet available
full credits at IMDbofficial movie sitewatch 7/2013 official trailer [2:34] at YouTube

"The Last Knights"  [2014?]  
Announced 11/2012: They don't actually say that the story is based on "Chushingura", but it is close enough: a band of warriors seek to avenge
the death of their master by hunting down a corrupt emperor and his forces; Michael Konyves wrote the script, which will star
Clive Owen & Morgan Freeman • not yet listed at IMDb


Ukiyo-e, Stageplays, Other Media
http://www.hiroshige.org.uk/hiroshige/historical_subjects/historical_subjects.htm
http://www.yoshitoshi.net/series/47ronin.html

The most successful of the stageplays was a 1748 bunraku puppet play called "Kanadehon Chüshingura", now generally called "Chüshingura, or Treasury of
Loyal Retainers"; it was written by Takeda Izumo and two associates, and was later adapted into a kabuki play, which is still one of Japan's most popular.

The story was adapted as the opera "Chüshingura" by Shigeaki Saegusa in 1997.


L i n k s
http://www.hiroshige.org.uk/hiroshige/historical_subjects/chushingura_1836/chushingura_1836.htm
http://victorian.fortunecity.com/duchamp/410/47ronin.html
'47 Rônin' entry at Wikipedia
historical website at Ako High School in Japan
'Chushingura' plot summary at University of Kansas
JNC's history of 'Chushingura'
http://users.exis.net/~jnc/nontech/prints/47ronin.html
http://www.columbia.edu/~hds2/47ronin/47ronin_rev.htm
http://forums.samurai-archives.com/viewtopic.php?t=3680&sid=d95a8584c6e7169cd6fbbda7589f652c
http://www.majiroxnews.com/2011/12/13/japan-celebrates-its-47-brave-samurai/
http://www.japancollection.com/japanese_art_exhibitions.php


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