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who's who

wooden sculpture Kao signature


When Kira was slashed, Kanpei was in Edo with his lord
Naganori. He went back to Ako in haste and suggested to
the others to hold the castle and to die for their lord. He
joined the "gimei "(to promise to revenge). The "Kanpei"
in the play "Okaru-kanpei" of "Kanadehon-Chushingura"
is based on the real Kayano-Sanpei who killed himself by
means of harakiri(ritual suicide) before the raid on Kira's
At a conference in the castle, Ohno-Kurobei and his son
Gunbei, who were both executives, verbally insulted
Okajima-Hachijuemon, an accountant officer, so they
were banished from Ako.
On the night of April 12th, they ran away from their
residence in the castle. Kanpei and Kanzaki-Yogoro sealed
and kept Ohno's fortune as the managerial position.
After that, Kanpei went to Edo alone, and spied on Kira's
residence. There was also a priest who was also a master of
the tea ceremony living near the Kinokuniya store(timber
supplier) in Honjo-Hayashicho-5 chome in Edo. The priest
was often invited to Kira's tea party. Hearing that, Kanpei
became close to him in search for connections.
On December 10th, Kanpei visited the priest. During their
conversation, the priest told Kanpei, "I got an invitation to
an end of year tea party at Kira's residence on the 14th. But
I am poor correspondent, so I can't write back. Fortunately,
you are a good correspondent, so please write that I'll attend
it." Kanpei wrote the answer for the priest immediately.
Kanpei also offered to take the priest's answer to Kira. In
doing so, he saw what was going on in Kira's residence and
reported this back to Kuranosuke.
Ohno-Gengoro also reported to Kuranosuke about the tea
party at Kira's residence, so Kuranosuke decided to commit
uchiiri(to break into Kira's residence) because it was confir-
med by both men that Kira was going to be at home on the
Therefore, Kanpei was as equally responsible as Gengo for
breaking into Kira's residence.
As a member of the "Omotemon-tai", it is one's duty to
guard two gates:"omotemon" and "shinmon". So, when Kanpei
broke into Kira's residence, he carried out this duty (along
with many of his fellow members) and together they fought
Later, Kanpei was left in Mizuno-Kenmotsu's residence.
Kanpei's punishment was to kill himself and he was forced to
do so on February 4th.

The photos used here come from the "Ako-Gishi-Meimeiden" and
"Oishi Shrine and Ako Castle" published by Oishi Jinja Shrine.

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