Chushingura, the Treasury of Loyal Retainers: A Puppet Play Summary & Study Guide

Takeda Izumo
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This section contains 536 words
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Chushingura, the Treasury of Loyal Retainers: A Puppet Play Summary & Study Guide Description

Chushingura, the Treasury of Loyal Retainers: A Puppet Play Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Chushingura, the Treasury of Loyal Retainers: A Puppet Play by Takeda Izumo.

The Japanese puppet play Chushingura is a story of revenge. Moronao, a governor, pursues Lord Hangan's wife, leading Lord Hangan to violence against him. Lord Hangan is ordered to kill himself as punishment. Hangan's samurai, Yuranosuke, spends years destroying his reputation so that he can be in a position to take vengeance on Moronao.

As the play begins, four lords gather to celebrate the opening of a new temple and to discuss an addition to the treasury. Afterward, Lord Wakasanosuke catches governor Moronao attempting to seduce Kaoyo, the wife of Lord Hangan. Infuriated by the interference, Moronao viciously berates the lesser lord, nearly provoking Lord Wakasanosuke to violence. Later, at the consecration, Wakasanosuke's plans to assassinate Moronao are foiled when Moronao unexpectedly apologizes. Unbeknownst to Wakasanosuke, Honzo, his own head retainer, has softened Moronao's heart with a bribe.

At the consecration, Moronao receives a poem from Kaoyo that signifies her rejection of his love. Frustrated, Moronao verbally retaliates against Kaoyo's husband, Lord Hangan. Hangan responds with steel, successfully wounding Moronao. Since Hangan's attending samurai, Kampei, has been distracted by the fairer sex, Honzo acts in his stead, restraining Lord Hangan. As punishment, the shogun demands that Lord Hangan commit seppuku. He gracefully complies, but with his last breath he also requests that Yuranosuke, his most loyal samurai, seek revenge against Moronao.

Much time passes. Kampei, now a penniless ronin, hopes to raise enough money to find justice for his fallen lord. To this end, he allows his wife to be sold into prostitution. Unfortunately, Kampei is tricked by circumstance into believing that he has killed his own father-in-law and therefore commits seppuku. Before he actually dies, however, Kampei is exonerated of his crime and honorably added to the "league" of samurai who will seek vengeance against Moronao.

Yuranosuke, to keep Moronao off guard, pretends to have sunken into dishonor and debauchery. Several men, both his own former colleagues and Moronao's spies, travel to Yuranosuke's "tea house" to test the former samurai's character. Yuranosuke fools them all, convincing them they he has no intention of seeking revenge for Lord Hangan. Yuranosuke has a close call when Kudayu overhears a portion of his plans.

Honzo's wife and daughter, Tonase and Konami, travel to Yuranosuke's residence to discover what is to become of Konami's engagement to Yuranosuke's son Rikiya. Oishi refuses to see the two wed, citing that she will not allow Rikiya to marry the daughter of Honzo, the man who restrained Lord Hangan. Oishi will give her consent only in exchange for Honzo's severed head. Honzo, who was lurking nearby, throws off his disguise. Fighting ensues. Rikiya seriously wounds Honzo. Yuranosuke arrives. Honzo confesses his sins and asks for forgiveness. He will gladly sacrifice himself for his daughter's sake.

The league, needing to amass weapons and armor without raising suspicion, vets a merchant named Gihei. The samurai stage a police raid on Gihei's establishment. The merchant proves himself honorable by refusing to betray confidence. The raid on Moronao's mansion goes off as planned. The league finds Moronao and beheads him with Lord Hangan's dagger. The samurai then prepare to fight to the death before Lord Hangan's shrine as Moronao's brother arrives with reinforcements.

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