Ronin fixes his sandal on a Go board before getting back to business
In Japanese art there is no more powerful symbol of domestic peace and serenity than a Go board (Goban) with a game in progress in the household.
After their Lord was assassinated, his retinue of 47 samurai became Ronin -- wandering free-lance warriors who would take any violent job for pay. But secretly they swore to search the land for the enemies who had murdered their Lord, and finally tracked them down. The ferocious battle that ensued -- on 14 December 1702 -- is one of the greatest of all samurai stories.
In this depiction of the final battle, samurai Onodera Koemon Hidetomi pauses in the midst of the slaughter to calmly fix his sandal on a Goban knocked over, scattering the stones, in the murderous frenzy.
After their last enemy was dead, the Ronin were brought to justice and allowed to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) to atone for their failure to protect their Lord.
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And you can Rent The DVD!
There are thousands of violent movies, nearly all worthless and forgettable, but "Ronin" (1998) is a remarkable exception, directed by John Frankenheimer, and co-written (under a pseudonym) by the playwright David Mamet. It stars Robert deNiro, and about half the film takes place in the French city of Arles, where Vincent Van Gogh spent his last years. I'm not telling you anything else about it, except that it's very exciting, and doesn't make you feel ashamed to be watching it.