My question regards the criticism by samurai and monk Yamamoto Tsunetomo regarding the delay of the revenge.
Quoting from Wikipedia:
I've long been interested in the legend, but Yamamoto's argument makes a lot of sense. It seems that the actions of the forty-seven rōnin were not true to the tenets of bushidō, that they were obsessed with revenge over honor. If, indeed, Kira had died of illness, they would have had no way to restore the honor of their master, nor their own honor. Under this condition, could they still have regained honor through seppuku? (On the other hand, at least we wouldn't have had that shitty movie.)The rōnin spent more than 14 months waiting for the "right time" for their revenge. It was Yamamoto Tsunetomo, author of the Hagakure, who asked the well known question: "What if, nine months after Asano's death, Kira had died of an illness?" His answer was that the forty-seven rōnin would have lost their only chance at avenging their master. Even if they had claimed, then, that their dissipated behavior was just an act, that in just a little more time they would have been ready for revenge, who would have believed them? They would have been forever remembered as cowards and drunkards—bringing eternal shame to the name of the Asano clan. The right thing for the rōnin to do, wrote Yamamoto, was to attack Kira and his men immediately after Asano's death. The rōnin would probably have suffered defeat, as Kira was ready for an attack at that time—but this was unimportant.
Ōishi was too obsessed with success, according to Yamamoto. He conceived his convoluted plan to ensure that they would succeed at killing Kira, which is not a proper concern in a samurai: the important thing was not the death of Kira, but for the former samurai of Asano to show outstanding courage and determination in an all-out attack against the Kira house, thus winning everlasting honor for their dead master. Even if they had failed to kill Kira, even if they had all perished, it would not have mattered, as victory and defeat have no importance. By waiting a year, they improved their chances of success but risked dishonoring the name of their clan, the worst sin a samurai can commit."Its better to be wise,patient and honorable,than to be a quick tempered, unthinking and dead fool."
Perhaps Doc and Anax, knowing far more about Japanese culture and history than I, could give some deeper insights into this?