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Another ”Ako Roshi” (Revenge) incident

I joined the company at the height of the bubble economy, and there were various banquets held every day, and one of the songs sung at Juhachiban(favorite stunt) at that time was the famous song, Ninjo Matsu no Corridor (by Ichiro Mayama). If you take off your suit, remove your tie, turn your leather shoes upside down, place them on your head, and tie them together with a tie, you will look like an eboshi style (Samurai style), after drinking too much.

It's almost the season for the famous revenge incident this year, but while the world is praising the Ako Roshi, the victims, the Kira family, are not paying much attention.

At the beginning, the song begins, ``The imperial envoy heads down to Haru Yayoi (Spring March)...'' On March 14th, 1701, Naganori Asano attacked Kozukenosuke Kira and was deeply in his head inflicted injury.

As you all know, this case consists of the attempted murder case in the first part and the murder case 1 year and 9 months later. Naturally, no punishment was given to the victim.

However, in the latter stage of the attack, it was natural that the ronin and others (the assailants) committed seppuku, and even though Kozukenosuke's son, Yoshimasa, who fought to save his father while he was at home, was the victim with serious injuries. He was punished to be placed under house arrest in the Takashima clan and died three years later. Although he fought, he was cut down and found unconscious, and the rationale was that he lacked training as a samurai.The punishment was full of far-fetched explanations.

It seems that sympathy for the Ronin of Ako clan, including public opinion at the time, greatly influenced the decisions of the shogunate (Shogun Tsunayoshi). Although it was illegal, vengeance was legal as long as one chose the place and method, so it was probably a fair punishment for Confucian scholars who wanted to respect the loyalty of samurai and ordinary people who were hungry for the moral punishment of good and evil.


The Kira clan is one of the most prestigious families in the Ashikaga clan, and it started as the eldest son of Yoshiuji, the third generation of the Ashikaga clan, in the Kamakura period.The Kira clan has been indigenous to Mikawa since being appointed as land chief at Mikawa Kira manor. He had a deep relationship with the Matsudaira(Tokugawa) clan and was treated respectfully by the Tokugawa shogunate as prestigious vassal(Koke - hatamoto). When the Uesugi family (Yonezawa domain) heir problem arose (the sudden death of the 4th generation Tsunakatsu), Kira Kosukenosuke's son (Tsunanori) was adopted. Tsunanori's mother was the daughter of Sadakatsu Uesugi (the third lord of the domain), and the Uesugi clan continues through the maternal lineage. Originally, without a successor, the Yonezawa domain would have collapsed, but Tsunakatsu's father-in-law, Masayuki Hoshina (Aizu domain), worked hard to ensure the continued existence of the domain by reducing the fief from 300,000 koku to 150,000 koku. However, since Kozukenosuke also needed to secure an adopted child, Tsunanori's second son, Yoshimasa, was given to the Kira family, and he became involved in the Ako Incident mentioned above.  

There are quite a lot of books related to the Ako Ronin Incident, and opinions regarding Kira Kounosuke's humanity are divided. Judging from several surviving diaries from the time, it appears that the story was as malicious as rumor has it, but the additional fact is that the financial support from the Uesugi family to the Kira family was large, because the Uesugi has a kind of guilty to compensate for the adoption, otherwise it couldn't keep its family name. It seems that the Uesugi family's finances were further pushed into a tight financial situation. When Yoshimasa passed away, the Kira family became extinct, but the Yonezawa clan may have been relieved.  

Yoshimasa's younger sister, Toyohime, married into the Kuroda family (Chikuzen Fukuoka domain's branch domain), and her daughter married into the Akizuki family (Hyuga Obi domain), from whom Harunori Uesugi (Yozan) was adopted and inherited the Uesugi family. When Yozan took over his adoptive family, the Yonezawa clan was in debt of 200,000 ryo, which was six times the annual income of the clan, but he paid it off in about 60 years before his death.

100 years after the Ako Incident, can we say that Yozan has brilliantly laid down the shame of his ancestors?



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