47 Ronin (英語) ペーパーバック – 2013/12/20
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"47 Ronin Story" is the classic Japanese story of Lord Asano of Ako and one of the bloodiest vendettas in Japan's feudal history. In a shocking clash between the warriors and the merchant class of seventeenth century Japan, there emerged the most unlikely set of heroes--the forty-seven ronin, or ex-samurai, of Ako.
"The book contains a new foreword by Stephen Turnbull, the historical advisor for 47 Ronin and the author of more than 50 books on military history. …As Turnbull says in his foreword: 'The raid of the Forty Seven Ronin holds a unique place in Japanese history. There is nothing quite like it, and John Allyn's masterful re-retelling of the tale captures for modern readers much of the excitement with which the Japanese populace of the mid-eighteenth century would have responded to what for them was the equivalent of a newspaper sensation.'" —Publishers Weekly
"Fans of samurai will enjoy this retelling of a classic story of revenge and loyalty." —Japan Powered blog
If you think about this book as a historical narrative, then it is horrible and not worth the time. However, its description never made it seem like a historical narrative at any time. Instead, it was designed and marketed as a book of historical fiction that was meant to entertain, a task that it accomplishes fairly well. John Arryn has obviously done his research and is able to describe Japanese culture of the time period very well. He also does it in a way that someone unfamiliar with the culture can understand.
Unfortunately, the story moves somewhat slowly, but that is not a fault with the author himself. Most of the story itself is about the ronin waiting for the right time to attack the person they wish to kill. While the action may not be the focus, I found it enjoyable to watch the inner dynamics of the group, which is what the story focused on. One other downside that I found annoying was the portrayal of the ronin as unmistakable heroes and as the antagonists as clearly vile villains. I prefer when both sides of a story are portrayed. While not every other is capable of doing it, the book has a clearly drawn line of the two sides with not a lot of wiggle room. The good guys are clearly the good guys, and the bad guys are clearly the bad guys.
All in all, it’s a good book for light reading.