Episode 531 – The New Japan

This week on the Revised Introduction to Japanese History: the politics of the Meiji Period! After a coalition of samurai, nobles, loyalists, and others succeed in overthrowing the Tokugawa shogunate, they must ask themselves: what comes next? And, in the time honored tradition of revolution, they answer that question by killing off or removing from office anyone they disagree with.


Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan

Jansen, Marius. Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World

Pyle, Kenneth. Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Prestige

Sims, Robert. Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation: 1868-2000

Beasley, W.G. “Meiji Political Institutions” and Vlastos, Steven. “Opposition Movements in Early Meiji, 1868-1885” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol V: The Nineteenth Century


A colorized photo of Ito Hirobumi in his later years. Ito served as the first Prime Minister and drafted the Meiji Constitution.
Saigo Takamori after his retirement.
A decade after his death, the Meiji government rehabilitated Saigo and erected this statue in his honor at Ueno Park in Tokyo (site of one of his victories during the Boshin War).
Saigo Takamori and his rebel officers in traditional dress, as depicted by the French Le Monde Illustre.
The Ibukinoya Nikki, a record of the Hirata school under the guidance of Atsutane’s heir Kanetane. Kanetane’s kokugaku adherents were early supporters of the Restoration, and some of the first “winnowed out” in the post-1868 battles for power.
The Toyo Jiyu Shinbun, or Eastern Free Press, associated with the Jiyuto. It was suppressed after slightly more than a month of publication.
A woodblock print showing the assassination attempt on Itagaki. The moment was highly sensationalized in the press, with the Jiyuto-aligned papers blaming the government and its supporters for incitement and the government claiming this was all just a renegade act. This particular print is pro-Itagaki; note the defiant pose as Aikawa is arrested.