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.


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).


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.
A British depiction of the first shishi attack on their legation.
Laurence Oliphant chasing away his shishi attacker with a bullwhip.
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.
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.
Matsudaira Katamori, the Protector of Kyoto charged with bringing order to the city.