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The samurai is an elite warrior in service of a lord and bound by codes of obedience and bushido. He is expected to be absolutely loyal to his master, no matter what the personal consequences of his duty are. The ronin is a masterless samurai who have lost their status due to their own misdeeds or the untimely death of their lord. Ronin became farmers, monks, soldiers of fortune or even bandits, beggars, and assassins. Many committed ritual suicide.
Chushingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers), also known as the story of the Forty-Seven Ronin, is one of the most famous and popular of all Japanese dramas. Written in the 18th century as a bunraku (puppet theatre), it is now best known through Kabuki theater performances. Due to its popularity, many film versions have been produced. It is a true story about 47 ronin who avenged their lord, and committed mass suicide through the ritual of seppuku in 1703. They are a model of loyalty and self-sacrifice exemplifying bushido. The gravesite of the 47 ronin at Sengakuji Temple is visited and honored by thousands of Japanese every year. This event is remembered each year in Japan on December 14th.
In modern Japan, the term ronin is used to refer to high school graduates who failed to pass university entrance examination of their choice and are devoting themselves to another try next year.
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