In this new American production of the Japanese classic, 47 Republican senators play the roles of the 47 ronin. They too deliberately defy the shogun, played with equanimity by President Obama. But the American ronin are out to kill a policy, not a person.
Yukio Mishima's suicide in November 1970, with its grim invocation of samurai machismo, is probably the most famous moment of his legend. It overshadows everything else, including Mishima's three nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
So my friends, this is the time of year when our guestrooms and couches get crowded with kids, friends, in-laws, you name it... And we are expected to feed and entertain them.
The gallery is flooded with dramatic red light, and the first thing you are confronted with upon entering are Samurai horsemen, charging right at you. Staring at their elaborate suits of armor, including helmets and faceguards, it's difficult not to think about an over-the-top opera production or Hollywood blockbuster movie.
Like all great games, works of genius, love affairs, and near death experiences, there is a defining moment, in Scrabble, that reigns supreme -- one existential, moon howling, Job-in-the-belly-of-the-whale moment that, metaphorically speaking, I imagine was at least partially responsible for Van Gogh cutting off his ear.
Sugihara was one of those unique human beings who couldn't fail but do the right thing because simply to do otherwise was to flirt with dishonor -- and given that his lineage on his mother's side was Samurai, he felt challenged to live up to his warrior ethos.