Choshu vs the Tokugawa, round 2! Only two years after being defeated by the Tokugawa, Choshu is back at war with Japan’s leading family. This time, they’ve got far more cards to play, though. Can Choshu defeat the Tokugawa and put them into a slow death spiral from which they will never recover?  Hint: yes!

Listen to the episode here.


Jansen, Marius. Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.

Craig, Albert. Choshu in the Meiji Restoration.

Beasley, W.G. The Meiji Restoration.



Some, but not all parts of the shogun’s forces were modernized by 1866. This engraving depicts a group of French-trained Tokugawa officers, likely from the hatamoto class (direct retainers of the shogun whose holdings did not exceed the 10,000 koku threshold to be considered a daimyo).


Troops from Takada domain (ruled by the fudai Sakakibara family) marching in support of the Shogunate during the Second Choshu Expedition.


Modernized Tokugawa troops during the Second Choshu Expedition.


Photograph of a samurai from the time of the Second Choshu Expedition. Note the eclectic mix of styles; Western clothes with Japanese-style sword mountings.


Sakamoto Ryoma’s hand drawn map of his Kyushu operations, sent with a letter to his brother back in Tosa.