Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Month: November 2015

Episode 126 – The Fall of the Samurai, Part 9

 

This week, we’ll move into the tumultuous events of 1863. Challenges foreign and domestic are going to upset the balance of power that has existed since the death of Ii Naosuke, and drive Japan ever closer to civil war.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Craig, Albert. Choshu in the Meiji Restoration.

Beasley, W.G. The Meiji Restoration.

Jansen, Marius. Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.

Hashimoto Mitsuru, “Collision at Namamugi.” Representations 18 (Spring, 1987).

Images

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The bombardment of Kagoshima, as depicted in the Illustrated London News.

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Another view of the bombardment.

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The Namamugi Incident

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The Satsuma representatives paying an indemnity to Choshu.

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Charles Lenox Richardson after his death.

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Kondo Isami, captain of the Shinsengumi.

 

Episode 125 – The Fall of the Samurai, Part 8

 

This week, we’ll move into the messy early/mid 1860s and look at the doomed attempt to bridge the gap between the Tokugawa and the Imperial Court. We’ll also look at the situation in Kyoto, which was growing more violent by the day.

 

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Beasley, W.G. The Meiji Restoration.

Totman, Conrad. “Tokugawa Yoshinobu and Kobugattai: A Study in Political Inadequacy”. Monumenta Nipponica 30, No. 4 (1975).

Images

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Tokugawa Yoshinobu, though he missed out on becoming shogun in 1858, would only four years later become the influential chief advisor to the young shogun Iemochi.

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A British depiction of the first shishi attack on their legation.

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Laurence Oliphant chasing away his shishi attacker with a bullwhip.

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In the wake of the legation attacks, the government of Tokugawa Yoshinobu went to great pains to hunt down the perpetrators. This British drawing shows one of them being executed.

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The Imperial Princess Kazunomiya was supposed to marry Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi and help bind the Tokugawa to the Kyoto court. Instead, the marriage proved to be one more source of Edo-Kyoto friction.

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Matsudaira Katamori, the Protector of Kyoto charged with bringing order to the city.

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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