Tag Archives: 泉岳寺

47 Ronin

25 Mar

浪人 (Rōnin) means “masterless Samurai“.

When a (Samurai) lost his leader or master because of death or any other reason, he would either commit 切腹 (ritual suicide) or become a 浪人 (Rōnin).

There’s a famous story of the 四十七士 (forty-seven Rōnin).

The tale of the 四十七士 (forty-seven Rōnin) is a true story (probably embellished over the years).

Basically the story is of a Samurai who unintentionally insults a higher-ranking Samurai.
One thing led to another and finally the slighted, higher Samurai accuses the other of attempted murder…and he’s found guilty and forced to commit 切腹 (ritual suicide).

The higher ranking Samurai knew that the other had 47 Samurai who served him (who were now 浪人 (Rōnin)) that would surely try to avenge their master…so he surrounded himself with extra bodyguards to protect himself from their attack.

The 四十七士 (forty-seven Rōnin) knew that they couldn’t kill the other Samurai with so many guards protecting him…so they did nothing for months.

The whole town lost respect for them and mocked them as cowards.

It was all a part of the 四十七士 (forty-seven Rōnin)’s plan…once the higher Samurai let his guard down because he no longer felt any threat from the “coward” 浪人 (Rōnin)—that’s when they struck!

After they killed the man responsible for their master’s death, they all committed 切腹 (ritual suicide) to retain their honor.

The graves of the 四十七士 (forty-seven Rōnin) is at the 泉岳寺 (Sengakuji Temple) in Tokyo.

I went to the graves of the 四十七士 (forty-seven Rōnin) and took some photos. It was raining a bit today…I think the overcast, rainy weather added to the atmosphere.

Here are the photos I took today:

Not 泉岳寺...but outside the subway station.

Not 泉岳寺...but outside the subway station.

Entrance to 泉岳寺 (Sengakuji Temple).

Entrance to 泉岳寺 (Sengakuji Temple).

Shop selling souvenirs...including 「四十七士提灯」 ("47 Ronin paper lanterns")

Shop selling souvenirs...including 「四十七士提灯」 ("47 Ronin paper lanterns")





Some of the 47 Ronin's graves

Some of the 47 Ronin's graves

Some more of their graves

Some more of their graves

And more...

And more...


By the way, did you know that the American actor Keanu Reeves will star in the upcoming Hollywood movie to be titled “47 Rōnin” about this tale?

Also, in modern Japan, the term 浪人 (Rōnin) is sometimes used to describe someone who’s failed their high school or college extrance exam and must wait a year to try again.

Japanese movies

13 Dec

Hollywood has made remakes of many Japanese movies (and French, Korean, German etc ones as well. Did you know “Three Men And A Baby” was a French movie first? “We’re No Angels” was too. “The Lake House” and “The Departed” were originally Korean movies.).

Recently, I’ve heard that Hollywood will be making live-action movies based on the Japanese アニメ (cartoons) 「ルパン三世」 (“Lupin The 3rd“) and 「ドラゴンボール」 (“Dragon-ball“).


The fairly recent American movie “Speed Racer” is another live-action movie based on the Japanese アニメ (cartoon) 「マッハゴゴゴ」 (“Mach Go-Go-Go“).

And Keanu Reeves will star in a remake of 元禄忠臣蔵 (“47 Ronin“).
The original is a classic Japanese movie from the early 1940’s. It’s based on the true story of the forty-seven 浪人 (ronin*), (*浪人 (ronin) are samurai with no master), who seek the revenge of their master’s death.
The graves of the real 47 ronin are at 泉岳寺 (Sengakuji Temple) in 東京都港区 (Minato Ward, Tokyo).

Robert DeNiro has also starred in a movie titled “Ronin“.

Do you know the famous Japanese movie 「用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“)?
用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“) means “bodyguard”. It’s another movie about a 浪人 (ronin).
It’s about a 浪人 (ronin) who goes to a town where competing crime gangs are trying to take over the town. He “joins” each gang to help them eliminate the other…with the intention of having them kill off each other and thus saving the town.
He remains wild and mysterious to everyone in the town and never gives his real name.

用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“) was originally remade as the cowboy movie “A Fistful Of Dollars” starring Clint Eastwood as the “man with no name”, and again as the American gangster movie “Last Man Standing” starring Bruce Willis.
It was also given a nod in the movie “The Bodyguard” when Kevin Costner’s character takes Whitney Houston’s character to the movies on a date and they watched 「用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“).

Similarly to “A Fistful Of Dollars” cowboy version of the Japanese Samurai movie 「用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“), the American movie “The Magnificent Seven” is a remake of the Japanese movie 「七人の侍」 (“The Seven Samurai“) with cowboy gunfighters instead of samurai.

The Japanese horror movies 「リング」, 「呪怨」, and 「仄暗い水の底から」 have been remade as “The Ring“, “Grudge“, and “Dark Water“, respectively.

Of course, when Hollywood made “Godzilla” everyone knew that was based on the iconic Japanese 「ゴジラ」…but did you know that the American movie “Shall We Dance?” (starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez) is a remake of the Japanese movie 「Shall We ダンス?」?

And then there are the American movies that aren’t remakes of Japanese movies, but Japan-inspired…such as: “Mr. Baseball“, “Gung-Ho“, “Lost In Translation“, “The Last Samurai“, “Memoirs Of A Geisha“, “Black Rain“, and “Blade Runner“.

I’m sure there are more that I’ve forgotten about…

On a different note…
An English charity called “Save The Children” voted Japan the world’s leader for children’s health, safety, nutrition and education!
I’ve always known that Japan is a good place to raise kids!