grave set Kira’s head before it, thus declaring their Lord’s honour redeemed.
The Shogun was deeply impressed with the loyalty demonstrated by the 47 ronin. While sympathetic to their heroic act,
however, Tsunayoshi ordered Oishi and 45 of his men to execute themselves as honoured warriors, sparing the youngest of the ronin. Oishi and the other 45 ronin all committed seppuku simultaneously on February 4, 1703, dignifying themselves in their valiant sacrifice and were buried side by side next to their master at Sengaku-ji Temple.
In addition to a play in honour of the 47 ronin, each year thousands of Japanese visit the gravesite of the 46 ronin to pay
homage to the honor and loyalty of the 47 ronin and their dedication to the code of bushido.”
Given that karatedo was originally intended to defend oneself against an opponent (usually the samurai), bushido became incorporated in karatedo out of necessity. When fighting a samurai, a karateka needed to have the same mentality (that death could come at any moment), or he would be at a disadvantage.
Given the advanced state of humanitarianism and human development in the western world, defending one’s life on a daily basis is no longer a concern for most people. Despite this fact, bushido remains integral to the practice of karatedo and serves to incorporate the spiritual component of bushido. In addition to this, karatedo has adopted the ethical code of conduct that karatedo should be used for self-defense purposes only.
While not overtly prominent, entrenched in the ideal that karatedo it is used for self-defense purposes only are the values of virtue and morality. Like the medieval nights and Japanese samurai who adhered to such ideals as respect toward others, courage, politeness and not attacking unarmed opponents, so to are karateka expected to use their knowledge of self-defense in a similarly responsible manner.
Now I’ll tell you about one aspect of Japanese custom,”Bushido”. It developed during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). And it was influenced by Zen Buddism and Confucianism. It is the code of the Samurai. It stresses rectitude, justice, sacrifice, sence of obligation, feeling of distress, politeness, honor, loyalty, self-control, thriftness and character. It looks like chivalry but it is a little different. A knight needs courage to protect women at the risk of his life and worship them. But samurai do not do that.
These customs and attitudes of “Bushido”are illustrated in “The Tale of the 47 Ronin”, Japan’s most famous feudal story. It really happened in Edo period. It is the story that 47 Ronin revenged their lord to kill their enemy and they were arrested and ordered to cut the stomach by themselves to commit a suicide by the government. They were buried in Sengaku temple. It is in Tokyo. Even now many Japanese visit there and praise them, because they think that 47 Ronin die for honor and loyalty to their lord, so they are very brave, heroic and their death is glorious.
Bushido says Samurai shouldn’t fear death and they should expiate their crimes, apologize for errors, and escape digrace by cutting their stomach by themselves. This ceremonial suicide is called “Seppuku”or “Harakiri”. Because they believed the soul and feelings are in the stomach, so they cut the stomach by themselves to show their innocence.