On Dec. 14, 1702, 47 samurai from Ako, in present-day Hyogo Prefecture, avenged the death of their master by attacking the mansion of the high official held responsible and killing him. “Chushingura,” a historical tale of loyalty and the samurai code of ethics, is a popular story that is often dramatized in theater and on TV during the winter, and it has become a reminder that the end of the year is near.
There have been countless ukiyo-e depictions of “Chushingura,” and the UKIYO-e TOKYO museum has selected a number of outstanding works for this exhibition.
While many artists used cliches and popular motifs to tell the story, others, such as Hiroshige Utagawa (1797-1858) and Kunisada Utagawa (1786-1865), created more stylized versions that featured caricatures and focused on the beauty that still emerged from a bloody tale: from Dec. 3, till Dec. 25.
UKIYO-e TOKYO; (03) 6910-1290; 2-4-9 Toyosu, Koto-ku; 5-min walk from Toyosu Station, Yuraku-cho Line. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. ¥500. Closed Mon. www.ukiyoe-tokyo.or.jp.