Episode 124 – The Fall of the Samurai, Part 8

This week, the turbulent politics following the death of Ii Naosuke will result in the rise of one of the most famous symbols of the late Tokugawa era: the shishi, or men of spirit. These shishi groups, radicalized by the political trials of recent years, will introduce a degree of violence to Japanese politics not seen in generations, and pave the way for a fundamental change in Japanese politics.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.

Craig, Albert. Choshu in the Meiji Restoration.

Beasley, W.G. The Meiji Restoration.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Images

Sakamoto Ryoma, a minor samurai from Tosa domain, started his political career as a devoted Shishi. However, Katsu Kaishu convinced him of the utility of foreign ideas, and instead Sakamoto began working at the bakufu's naval training academy in Nagasaki.
Sakamoto Ryoma, a minor samurai from Tosa domain, started his political career as a devoted Shishi. However, Katsu Kaishu convinced him of the utility of foreign ideas, and instead Sakamoto began working at the bakufu’s naval training academy in Nagasaki.
Katsu Kaishu, the head of the bakufu's naval training academy, was able not only to convince Sakamoto Ryoma not to kill him but to join him in spreading Western naval technology.
Katsu Kaishu, the head of the bakufu’s naval training academy, was able not only to convince Sakamoto Ryoma not to kill him but to join him in spreading Western naval technology.
This statue of Sakamoto Ryoma in Kochi (the former capitol of Tosa) speaks to his enduring popularity. We'll be spending a lot of time with young Sakamoto in coming weeks.
This statue of Sakamoto Ryoma in Kochi (the former capitol of Tosa) speaks to his enduring popularity. We’ll be spending a lot of time with young Sakamoto in coming weeks.
Takasugi Shinsaku, leader of the Choshu shishi, former student of Yoshida Shoin, kendoka and all around party guy.
Takasugi Shinsaku, leader of the Choshu shishi, former student of Yoshida Shoin, kendoka and all around party guy.
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