The 47 Ronin: The Faithful Samurai
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Amagawa-ya Gihei cupping the chin of his child

Although he owed fealty to the En’ya family, Amagawa-ya Gihei lived in Tsu, in Senshū Sakai.
When he heard about the confiscation of the Akao estates, he hurried to see Ōboshi, offering his services in whatever way needed. Ōboshi was deeply touched by this, but told him they were leaving the castle and dispersing to their home provinces and that he would be in touch later. With that Gihei returned home.

Even though he was of merchant stock, Gihei was a man of broadly human qualities, deeply honest, of a masculinity beyond even that of the samurai, and Ōboshi had been aware of this for some time. The secret he would not lay bare even to the oldest hereditary retainers to test their devotion, his plans for the vendetta, he discussed with Gihei. Gihei was careful not to excite suspicion, but he stored weapons for the attack: a spear, chains, keys, and various ropes, in a cottage he owned in Kitano Kasasagi, in Sesshū. He also went to the swordsmith Shinryoku-maru and ordered a new sword. The swordsmith, however, informed on him, and Gihei was thrown into jail. He was tortured at length but did not confess. Time went on, and he forgot his travail, but then news came of Ōboshi’s successful raid, and Gihei turned himself in with the request that he be punished. The authorities, however, rather admired this show of knightly daring do on the part of a merchant. His punishment was reduced, but he was expelled from Tsu, Sakai.

He took orders, changed his name to Dosai, and retired to Higashiyama. There he took up tea ceremony and poetic pursuits and prayed for the salvation of the forty-seven loyal men. He lived till he was past eighty years old, when he went to his heavenly reward.


David R. Weinberg. Kuniyoshi: The faithful samurai. Hotei Publishing – Leiden, The Netherlands, 2000, no.11.6. pp.156,157.



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