Episode 463 – The Afterlives of a Samurai

This week is all about a biography of a fascinating figure of the Meiji Restoration: Oguri Tadamasa. But it’s also about much more: about how the present shapes our view of the past, and about how, as a result, the ways we talk about someone long dead can shift and change as well.


Wert, Michael. Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan

McNally, Mark Thomas. Like No Other: Exceptionalism and Nativism in Early Modern Japan.

Hashimoto, Takehiko. “Introducing a French Technological System: The Origin and Early History of the Yokosuka Dockyard.” East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine 16 (1999)

Lippit, Seiji M, ed. History and Repetition.


A Meiji era portrait of Oguri Tadamasa.
Tozenji has a whole room dedicated to Oguri’s accomplishments today.
A bust of Oguri Tadamasa at Tozenji. His grave is also at the temple.

1 thought on “Episode 463 – The Afterlives of a Samurai”

  1. I feel like there are some very fascinating parallels between this week’s story and what happened with the lost cause ideology that developed in the United States following the Civil War. Almost immediately they begin writing their biographies and history is attempting to frame the war from their perspective but also whitewash their activities and motivation for the conflict. As the United States began to focus on external enemies there was less of a motive to challenge that narrative, instead attempting to present it more as a blip in an otherwise unified nation.

    Does the pro-Tokugawa historiography play as fast and lose with the facts as the way the Lost Cause people do or is there less of a political motivation for them?

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