English subtitles, Region Code 2, NTSC, 233 minutes. NHK and The Theatres of Japan Arts Council have collaborated to bring you the complete Chushingura. Includes archive footage stored by the National Theatres and NHK.
Kanadehon Chushingura is one of the most famous Japanese stories, based on the true story of the revenge of forty seven ronin, or masterless samurai, on the death of their master. Although the actual incident took place between 1701 and 1703, the authors, Takedo Izumo II, Miyoshi Shoraku and Namiki Senryu, set the play in the Muromachi period (1333-1568) to avoid censorship. The main story concerns the daimyo Enya Hangan who is goaded into striking a senior lord, Ko no Morono. As this is a capital offence in the shogun's palace, Hangan is ordered to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide. With his dying breath Hangan tells his chief retainer Oboshi Yuranosuke that he wishes to take revenge upon Morono. Forty seven of Hangan's masterless samurai, ronin, make plans and finally storm Morono's Edo mansion and kill him before commiting seppuku themselves at Sengaku-ji temple in Edo.
The play opens with the dramatic opening of forty seven beats of the ki, one for each of the heroic ronin. Other famous scenes include Denchu Ninjo, Bloodshed within the Palace, when Morono hurls insults at Hangan and Enya Hangan Seppuku, the scene of Hangan's ritualistic death.
DVD 1 :
Act 1. Daijo - Tsurugaoka Kabuto Aratame no Dan, Koiuta no Dan
Recorded in the Small Theatre, Tokyo National Theatre, September 2000.
Act II. Nidanme - Momoidate Rikiya Uwazukai no Dan, Honzo Matsukiri no Dan
Recorded in the Small Theatre, Tokyo National Theatre, September 1976. (Black & White)
Act III. Sandanme - Shimouma Senshinmotsu no Dan, Koshimoto Okaru Fumizukai no Dan, Denchu Ninjo no Dan, Uramon no Dan
Recorded in the National Bunraku Theater Osaka in November 1994
Act IV. Yodanme - Hanakago no Dan, Enya Hankan Seppuku no Dan, Johmei Watashi no Dan
Recorded in the National Bunraku Theater Osaka in January 1985