SBP Blog

Prof. Allan Sosei Palmer blurbs on Hiroaki Sato's newest, 'The Forty-Seven Samurai'

Michael Palmer - Monday, September 09, 2019

Tea Master Allan Sosei Palmer, a student and teacher of the Urasenke school of Chanoyu for more than forty years contributes his thoughts on award winning writer and translator Hiroaki Sato's newest work. 

"Sato enlightens his readers, in English, on Japanese customs and culture relative to the incidents of the 47 Ronin with history, correspondence, and poetry, which may be unknown even to the Japanese people."

—Prof. Allan Sosei Palmer: Urasenke Chanoyu, Kyoto, Boston

Forty-Seven Samurai: A Tale of Vengeance and Death in Haiku and Letters is the newest book from Hiroaki Sato. It will be available for purchase November 19th, 2019.

To pre-order your copy head here:

Save the book to your Goodreads "want to read" list here:

About the book

A remarkable and true tale of loyalty, vengeance, and ritual suicide. . . . In the spring of 1701, the regional lord Asano Naganori wounded his supervising official, Kira Yoshinaka, during an important ceremony in the ruling shogunate's Edo Castle and was at once condemned to death. Within two years, in the dead of winter, a band of forty-seven of Asano's retainers avenged him by breaking into Yoshinaka’s mansion and killing him. Subsequently, all the men were sentenced to death but allowed to perform it honorably by seppuku.

This incident—often called the Ako Incident—became a symbol of samurai honor andat once prompted stage dramatization in kabuki and puppet theater. It has since has been told and retold in short and long stories, movies, TV dramas. The story has also attracted the attention of foreign writers and translators. The most recent retelling was the 2013 Hollywood film 47 Ronin, with Keanu Reeves, though it was wildly and willfully distorted.

What did actually happen and how has this famous vendetta resonated through history? Hiroaki Sato's examination is a close, comprehensive look at the Ako Incident through the context of its times, portraits of the main protagonists, and its literary legacy in the haiku ofthe avengers. Also included is Sato's new translation of Akutagawa Ryonosuke's short story about leader Oishi Kuranosuke as he awaited sentencing.




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