A graphic novel version of the most dramatic example of bushido—the samurai code—in Japanese history.
In the eighteenth century, forty-seven samurai avenged the death of their master in a plot that would take over two years to complete. After succeeding in their mission, the masterless samurai—known as ronin—all committed ritual suicide. The story, which is a national legend, remains the most potent example of Japan's deeply rooted cultural imperative of honor, persistence, loyalty, and sacrifice.
The historical event has inspired many writers and artists over the years and numerous fictionalized versions and adaptations have emerged. In The 47 Ronin, Sean Michael Wilson has created a historically factual portrait, enhanced by evocative and often lyrical drawings by Akiko Shimojima. While there are other depictions of the story in manga form, this version stands out as being the most accurate and most compelling. Wilson and Shimojima have made the characters nuanced and relatable.
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SEAN MICHAEL WILSON is a Harvey- and Eisner-award-nominated comic book writer who has authored more than a dozen graphic novels and manga comics, including adaptations of The Book of Five Rings and The 47 Ronin. He is also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology AX: A Collection of Alternative Manga (one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Ten Books of 2010"). Originally from Scotland, he now lives in Japan.
AKIKO SHIMOJIMA is a comic and manga artist from Tokyo, Japan. A teacher of digital comics art at a school in Tokyo, she is the illustrator of The 47 Ronin and has contributed work to many other publications. Her book with Sean Michael Wilson, Secrets of the Ninja, received a medal in the 10th International Manga Award, organised by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gr 7 Up—The story of 47 warriors who stage an elaborate plan to avenge their fallen master is legendary in Japan, exemplifying the ideals of samurai loyalty and perseverance. While many details of this historical event have been lost through numerous retellings, this work aims to represent it accurately. Though written in English for a Western audience, this graphic novel assumes significant knowledge of Japanese culture and history-in fact, the term ronin (masterless samurai) is never defined. More exposition and context throughout would have been helpful, as not all readers are familiar with 18th-century Japanese politics, or the ethical code that compels these warriors to seek vengeance after the unjust death of their master. Despite the steep learning curve, this book offers a dramatic tale of intrigue and action. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced action and intricate plotting once the revenge plan unfolds. Traditional manga-style art enriches the story, bringing Japan's Edo era to life through detailed depictions of period costume and architecture. Grisly scenes of ritual suicide and battles may deter the faint of heart, but most will be undaunted. While this title will hold greatest appeal for those who have an interest in Japanese history, it will also attract fans of the recent Hollywood screen adaptation, providing an engaging way to learn about the film's inspiration. A solid purchase where manga is popular.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA KEY: * Excellent in relation to other titles on the same subject or in the same genre | eBook original Tr Hardcover trade binding | RTE Reinforced trade binding | lib.ed. Publisher's library binding Board Board Book | pap. paperback
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