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the face of perseverance

Ōishi Yoshio (大石良雄, Ōishi Yoshio ? 1659 - March 20, 1703) was the karō of the Akō han in Harima Province (now Hyōgo Prefecture), Japan (1679 - 1701). He is known as the leader of the Forty-seven Ronin in their 1702 vendetta and thus the hero of the Chūshingura. He is often referred to by his title, Ōishi Kuranosuke (大石内蔵助, Ōishi Kuranosuke?).


He served Asano Naganori as the head karō (hittōgarō (筆頭家老, hittōgarō?)). Having attained this office at a rather young age, he is said to have had the implicit trust of his lord. Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind that the head of Ōishi's family, several generations prior, had taken a daughter of the Asano in marriage, so the connection between the Ōishi and Asano was also a familial one. When Asano committed seppuku as punishment for his failed attempt to kill Kira Yoshinaka in Edo castle and the Tokugawa shogunate abolished the house of Asano in Akō, Ōishi was in Akō and managed all its administrative issues. He persuaded other samurai to vacate the castle to the agents of the Shogunate.


He attempted to get the permission to re-establish the house of Asano but failed. In January 1703 (by the old Japanese calendar, December 14) he, with 46 other Akō ronin, attacked Kira at his residence in the Honjo neighborhood of Edo. Kira was killed and decapitated. After Ōishi dispatched Terasaka Kichiemon to inform Asano's widow Yōzeiin of the deed, he and the remaining 45 ronin went to Sengaku-ji in Shinagawa where Naganori was buried and there they were arrested.


He and the other ronin were sentenced to commit seppuku. Since it was an honorable sentence rather than merely decapitation, everyone accepted this sentence as an honor. [wikipedia]

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Taken on August 9, 2008