Episode 130 – The Fall of the Samurai, Part 13

 

This week, we cover 1867: the final year of the Tokugawa shogunate (sort of). Caught between a loyalist rock and an imperial hard place, Tokugawa Yoshinobu will consider the unthinkable: resignation, and an end to 260 years of bakufu tradition.

 

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Totman, Conrad. The Collapse of the Tokugawa Bakufu, 1862-1868.

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Craig, Albert. Choshu in the Meiji Restoration.

Jansen, Marius. Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.

Images

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The young emperor Meiji. This photo dates from 1871, four years after his enthronement.
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Another view of the Emperor Meiji, depicted early in his reign with a group of shishi loyalists. Meiji, unlike his father Komei, was not a consverative and had no attachment to the Tokugawa, and was thus willing to throw in with the shishi.
220px-KaitsuKaishuWesternClothing
Katsu Kaishu in the 1860s. Katsu was tapped to try to negotiate a settlement between the two sides in 1867, but failed — there was no common ground from which to even begin a negotiation, let alone conclude one.
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Nijo Castle, home of the shogunal presence in Kyoto. While staying here during negotiations, Tokugawa Yoshinobu made the fateful decision to agree to resign and return power to the emperor.
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A stylized depiction of Yoshinobu’s announcement of his resignation. The real ceremony, I suspect, was not this tranquil.
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