There are several version of Ako 47 Gishi, which is translated as 47 Ronin. Generally speaking, if you watch American remake acted by American actors who do not know anything about Japanese languages and Bushi-do, you are likely to have wrong understanding. It is like watching Shakespeare plays acted by non-English speakers who never know anything about Great Britain and its medieval culture. I think the other viewer said very well, this version, as much as other version made in Japan are similar story line. I recommend this version, howbeit the translation is not perfect (like if you do not know British English in archaic form, it is not possible to translate it into good modern foreign language), the Raizo Ichikawa is one of the top actors who could play Samurai very well. Story is well known. The corrupted Tokugawa shogunate government gave unfair judgement to Lord Asano. His house was eliminated, adn many samurai became jobless, which is Ronin means. In the beginning, there are hundreds of Asano's subjects who vowed revenge against Lord Kira. But one by one, they renege and disappeared. Finally, only 47 seven loyal samurai remained to execute the long conceived plan of revenge. Kuranosuke Oishi, who was the chief minister under Lord Asano was the key to success. Oishi was called as the lamp in the day, meaning useless, as he always hid his ability. UNlike modern era which people want to flaunt their worthless talents and cheap possessions, there were times, both in the west and the east, when real men and women who were gems but did not show their talents, rather staying in the shadow. Just like real yogi-s who remain deep in the forest of India, never come out. (what you hear today as yogi and swami who travel developed world are nothing but merchant of their own sects). Oishi acted as if he were faithless debauch, for three years, he drank, frequented Geisha-establishment. Until almost everybody including the wife of Lord Asano despised Osihi. But in reality, Oishi was doing brilliant job to deceive the spies of Tokugawa Secret Police and others. For 46 faithful samurai who never doubted Oishi, the long 3 years of wait comes to brilliant master piece of surprise attack in Tokyo (Edo at that time) at Lord Kira's residence. In the deep winter of December, in the midnight, 47 gallant men attack well protected Lord Kira's residence. Without one of their own being killed, 47 magnificent samurai finds out Kira, get his head, and march to Sengaku temple where Lord Asano's ashes was buried. After that, 46 of them surrender to Tokugawa goverbment (one was ordered to report the success to Lord Asano's hometown Ako, today's Hyogo prefecture). Oishi' son at the age of 15 also was ordered to die by Seppuku (commonly wrongly called as Harakiri). Even today, Sengaku Temple is shrine for all Japanese and foreigners alike who admire 46 men whose ashes are buried there. If you ever visit Japan, you need to visit Sengaku Temple, near Mita in central Tokyo where these pillars of Bushi-do are enshrined,
This is a good film which is not too dissimilar to Kon Ichikawa's version. In fact I would say that Kon Ichikawa's film is a slightly improved remake this. This film follows the standard storyline of the good and honest Lord Asano making a moral stand against corruption in the bakufu personified in Kozukenosuke Kira and the division between good and evil is clearly defined throughout the film. Kon Ichikawa's film is slightly more ambiguous about the vertue of the 47 which is slightly more appealing owing to the fact that the truth of what actually happened between these two men, other than the assault, is not known. The sword play isn't exceptional but the acting is first rate. This is a good version of the 47 Ronin story which any fan of classic samurai films would be happy to have in their collection.
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