Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai, Romulus Hillsborough

Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai, Romulus Hillsborough


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Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai, Romulus Hillsborough

Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai, Romulus Hillsborough

For two and a half centuries the Tokugawa shoguns had ruled an isolated stable Japan, maintaining a world of feudal lords and samurai right into the middle of the nineteenth century. This all changed in 1853 when an American fleet under Commodore Matthew Perry used the threat of overwhelming force to force the country to open up foreign trade. This caused outrage across Japan, and undermined the authority of the Shoguns. Fifteen years later, after a period of increasing instability, the Shogunate collapsed, marking the birth of modern Japan.

This book takes an interesting approach to the topic. We get both the wide-ranging narrative account of events and a more detailed insight into one key figure's role and views, following the activities and views of Katsu Kaishu, a key figure in the Tokugawa government, founder of the Japanese Navy and the final commander-in-chief of the Shoguns' armies. Katsu was partly responsible for the largely peaceful transfer of power in 1868, and was one of the few key figures in this story to survive into old age, so we have both his contemporary writings and his later thoughts on events.

Late Tokugawa Japan wasn't quite as isolated as I had believed. There was a long standing trade agreement with the Dutch, who had a small enclave at Nagasaki. In the half century before Perry appeared at Edo a long series of other foreign ships had approached Japanese shores, often to ask for trade privileges. A number of important figures in Japan were aware of the changing nature of the outside world and the country's relationship with foreigners was already a topic for some concern. After Perry two main schools of though emerged - one that wanted to expel the foreign barbarians and maintain the long centuries of isolation and one that wanted to open the country in order to strengthen her, using Western technology to create a strong navy and army that would be able to repel any Imperialist adventure.

Some aspects of this period will feel very familiar to anyone who has studied pre Second World War Japan, in particular the persistent problem of assassinations. Here it is gangs of rogue Samurai who were mainly responsible, killing a considerable number of important figures on both sides. By the 1930s it was mainly junior military officers, especially from the army, but the killings continued.

This is a large and complex topic, so the list of key figures at the back came in very handy, especially when someone reappeared after a significant absence. Hillsborough has produced a very readable account of this complex period, and his in-depth knowledge of Japan helps the reader understand the complexities of the issues involved and the difficulties faced by Japan's leaders in a time of unexpected change.

This is a fascinating study of a fascinating period, when an ancient culture was forced to come to terms with the modern world and almost uniquely managed to achieve a rapid transformation, something that most of its neighbours failed to achieve.

Book 1: The Fall of the Tokugawa Bakufu (1853-1868)

Part I: The Outsider
1 - The Beginning of the End of the Tokugawa Bakufu
2 - The Outsider
3 - The Nagasaki Naval Academy
4 - The Rise of Ii Naosuké
5 - The Transpacific Voyage - '… for the glory of the Japanese navy'
6 - Katsu Kaishu's San Francisco Experience
7 - The Onset of the Age of Terror

Part II: The Outsider Steps In
8 - A Brief Discussion on Bushido
9 - 'The Group of Four'
10 - Satsuma Han
11 - The Commissioner and the Outlaw
12 - Choshu's Yoshida Shoin and Takasugi Shinsaku
13 - 'Went up to the castle'
14 - Choshu on the Brink
15 - '… along came Saigo'

Part III: The Outside Steps Back
16 - 'unexpected folly'
17 - The Road to Revolution: The Rise of Takasugi Shinsaku's Rebel Army
18 - Rumours of Tyranny: The Bakufu Gone Awry
19 - The Satsuma-Choshu Alliance
20 - 'The Bakufu … must willingly fail'
21 - Peace Talks with Choshu
22 - The Shogun, the Emperor and the Opposition at Court
23 - Yoshinobu Scores a Victory
24 - Gathering Forces in the 'Great Drama'
25 - The Restoration of Imperial Rule and the End of the Tokugawa Bakufu

Book 2: The Rise of Imperial Japan (1868-1878)

Part IV: The Outside Takes Control
26 - Civil War
27 - Yoshinobu Capitulates
28 - Kaishu vs Saigo (1): The Challenge
29 - Kaishu vs Saigo (2): The Messenger
30 - Kaishu vs Saigo (3): The Talks
31 - The Surrender of Edo Castle

Part V: The Outside and the Imperial Government
32 - 'an abomination'
33 - The End of the Boshin war and the Onset of the Meiji Era
34 - Saigo and the Meiji Government (1): The Return
35 - Saigo and the Meiji Government (2): The Departure
36 - Samuri Revolt, Foreign Adventure
37 - Saigo and the Meiji Government (3): The Rebellion

Epilogue: The Shogun's Last Samurai
Appendix: On the Value of Katsu Kaishu's Histories, Biographies and Memoirs
Glossaries:
Main Characters
Important Feudal Domains
Important Japanese Terms

Author: Hardcover
Edition: Romulus Hillsborough
Pages: 640
Publisher: Tuttle
Year: 2014



Samurai Revolution : The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai (Hardcover)

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's historic transformation at the end of the nineteenth century from a country of shoguns, feudal lords and samurai to a modern industrialized nation. The book covers the turbulent Meiji Period from 1868 to 1912, widely considered "the dawn of modern Japan," a time of Samurai history in which those who choose to cling to their traditional bushido way of life engaged in frequent and often deadly clashes with champions of modernization. Knowledge of this period is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

The book opens with the fifteen-year fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the restoration of the Meiji emperor to a position of power at the expense of the feudal Daimyo lords. It chronicles the bloody first decade of the newly reestablished monarchy, in which the new government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce the innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with the Western powers threatening to dominate it. Finally, Samurai Revolution goes on to tell the story of the Satsuma Rebellion, a failed coup attempt that is widely viewed as the final demise of the samurai class in Japan.

This book is the first comprehensive history and analysis in English that includes all the key figures from this dramatic time in Japanese politics and society, and is the result of over twenty-five years of research focused on this critical period in Japanese history. The book contains numerous original translations of crucial documents and correspondence of the time, as well as photographs and maps.

Samurai Revolution goes in-depth to reveal how one era of ended and another began.• Author: Romulus Hillsborough • ISBN:9780804850698 • Format:Hardcover • Publication Date:2018-04-24


Samurai Revolution

See the dawn of modern Japan through the lens of the power players who helped shape it — as well as those who fought against it — in this exploration of Samurai history.

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's historic transformation at the end of the nineteenth century from a country of shoguns, feudal lords and samurai to a modern industrialized nation. The book covers the turbulent Meiji Period from 1868 to 1912, widely considered "the dawn of modern Japan," a time of Samurai history in which those who choose to cling to their traditional bushido way of life engaged in frequent and often deadly clashes with champions of modernization. Knowledge of this period is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

The book opens with the fifteen-year fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the restoration of the Meiji emperor to a position of power at the expense of the feudal Daimyo lords. It chronicles the bloody first decade of the newly reestablished monarchy, in which the new government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce the innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with the Western powers threatening to dominate it. Finally, Samurai Revolution goes on to tell the story of the Satsuma Rebellion, a failed coup attempt that is widely viewed as the final demise of the samurai class in Japan.

This book is the first comprehensive history and analysis in English that includes all the key figures from this dramatic time in Japanese politics and society, and is the result of over twenty-five years of research focused on this critical period in Japanese history. The book contains numerous original translations of crucial documents and correspondence of the time, as well as photographs and maps.

Samurai Revolution goes in-depth to reveal how one era of ended and another began.


Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's historic transformation at the end of the nineteenth century from a country of shoguns, feudal lords and samurai to a modern industrialized nation. The book covers the turbulent Meiji Period from 1868 to 1912, widely considered "the dawn of modern Japan," a time of Samurai history in which those who choose to cling to their traditional bushido way of life engaged in frequent and often deadly clashes with champions of modernization. Knowledge of this period is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

The book opens with the fifteen-year fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the restoration of the Meiji emperor to a position of power at the expense of the feudal Daimyo lords. It chronicles the bloody first decade of the newly reestablished monarchy, in which the new government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce the innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with the Western powers threatening to dominate it. Finally, Samurai Revolution goes on to tell the story of the Satsuma Rebellion, a failed coup attempt that is widely viewed as the final demise of the samurai class in Japan.

This book is the first comprehensive history and analysis in English that includes all the key figures from this dramatic time in Japanese politics and society, and is the result of over twenty-five years of research focused on this critical period in Japanese history. The book contains numerous original translations of crucial documents and correspondence of the time, as well as photographs and maps.

Samurai Revolution goes in-depth to reveal how one era of ended and another began.


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Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai, Romulus Hillsborough - History

Samurai Revolution

The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai

Description

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's historic transformation at the end of the nineteenth century from a country of shoguns, feudal lords and samurai to a modern industrialized nation. The book covers the turbulent Meiji Period from 1868 to 1912, widely considered the dawn of modern Japan, a time of Samurai history in which those who choose to cling to their traditional bushido way of life engaged in frequent and often deadly clashes with champions of modernization. Knowledge of this period is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

The book opens with the fifteen-year fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the restoration of the Meiji emperor to a position of power at the expense of the feudal Daimyo lords. It chronicles the bloody first decade of the newly reestablished monarchy, in which the new government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce the innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with the Western powers threatening to dominate it. Finally, Samurai Revolution goes on to tell the story of the Satsuma Rebellion, a failed coup attempt that is widely viewed as the final demise of the samurai class in Japan.

This book is the first comprehensive history and analysis in English that includes all the key figures from this dramatic time in Japanese politics and society, and is the result of over twenty-five years of research focused on this critical period in Japanese history. The book contains numerous original translations of crucial documents and correspondence of the time, as well as photographs and maps.

Samurai Revolution goes in-depth to reveal how one era of ended and another began.


A Riveting and Chaotic Period of Japanese History is Brought to Life by New Book Samurai Revolution

North Clarendon, VT (PRWEB) March 25, 2014

The first comprehensive history and analysis of an epic and fascinating period of Japanese history, Samurai Revolution tells the story of Japan's transformation from a backward country of feudal lords and samurai under the control of the shogun into a modern industrialized nation under the unifying rule of the Emperor. Japan's modern revolution spanned the third-quarter of the nineteenth century knowledge of this history is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

Samurai Revolution is the result of over twenty-five years of research. The author quotes extensively from the journals, memoirs, histories, and letters of Katsu Kaishu, a prolific writer, founder of Japan's modern navy, and later supreme commander of the shogun's military, who earned the epithet "the shogun's last samurai." These original translations give an insider's view, which along with the grand historical narrative provide readers with an unparalleled insight into this most momentous period in Japanese history.

Samurai Revolution is available for pre-order on Amazon.com, BN.com and directly from the publisher at TuttlePublishing.com. It can also be found in bookstores everywhere.

About the Author
Romulus Hillsborough lived in Tokyo for sixteen years, immersing himself in the study of Japanese language, history and culture. Hillsborough's books include Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai and Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps.

About Tuttle Publishing
Established in 1948 by Charles Egbert Tuttle Jr. in Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo, Japan, Tuttle Publishing is the premier publisher of English language books on Asian culture. Today, Tuttle maintains an active offering of books on a wide range of topics, including Asian culture, Asian literature, Asian architecture, Eastern spirituality, gardening, cooking, martial arts, crafts, travel, health and wellness, and fine art for a worldwide audience.


Samurai Revolution : The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's historic transformation at the end of the nineteenth century from a country of shoguns, feudal lords and samurai to a modern industrialized nation. The book covers the turbulent Meiji Period from 1868 to 1912, widely considered "the dawn of modern Japan," a time of Samurai history in which those who choose to cling to their traditional bushido way of life engaged in frequent and often deadly clashes with champions of modernization. Knowledge of this period is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

The book opens with the fifteen-year fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the restoration of the Meiji emperor to a position of power at the expense of the feudal Daimyo lords. It chronicles the bloody first decade of the newly reestablished monarchy, in which the new government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce the innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with the Western powers threatening to dominate it. Finally, Samurai Revolution goes on to tell the story of the Satsuma Rebellion, a failed coup attempt that is widely viewed as the final demise of the samurai class in Japan.

This book is the first comprehensive history and analysis in English covering all the key figures in this exciting drama and is the result of over twenty-five years of studying this critical period in Japanese history. The book contains numerous original translations of crucial documents and correspondence of the time, as well as photographs and maps.

Samurai Revolution goes in-depth to reveal how one era ended and another began.See the dawn of modern Japan through the lens of the power players who helped shape it — as well as those who fought against it — in this exploration of Samurai history.

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's historic transformation at the end of the nineteenth century from a country of shoguns, feudal lords and samurai to a modern industrialized nation. The book covers the turbulent Meiji Period from 1868 to 1912, widely considered "the dawn of modern Japan," a time of Samurai history in which those who choose to cling to their traditional bushido way of life engaged in frequent and often deadly clashes with champions of modernization. Knowledge of this period is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

The book opens with the fifteen-year fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the restoration of the Meiji emperor to a position of power at the expense of the feudal Daimyo lords. It chronicles the bloody first decade of the newly reestablished monarchy, in which the new government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce the innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with the Western powers threatening to dominate it. Finally, Samurai Revolution goes on to tell the story of the Satsuma Rebellion, a failed coup attempt that is widely viewed as the final demise of the samurai class in Japan.

This book is the first comprehensive history and analysis in English covering all the key figures in this exciting drama and is the result of over twenty-five years of studying this critical period in Japanese history. The book contains numerous original translations of crucial documents and correspondence of the time, as well as photographs and maps.

Samurai Revolution goes in-depth to reveal how one era ended and another began.


ISBN 13: 9784805312353

Hillsborough, Romulus

This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's transformation from a backward country of feudal lords and samurai under the control of the shogun into a modern industrialized nation under the unifying rule of the Emperor. Japan's modern revolution spanned the third-quarter of the nineteenth century knowledge of this history is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

Samurai Revolution is divided into two books in one complete volume. Book I chronicles the series of tumultuous and bloody events between 1853 and 1868, collectively called the Meiji Restoration, the "dawn of modern Japan," when the shogun's government was overthrown and the Emperor was restored to his ancient seat of power. Book 2 covers the first turbulent decade of the restored monarchy in which the new Imperial government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with Western powers that threatened to dominate it. The government clashed with disgruntled samurai who felt left behind amid the whirlwind of changes toward modernization. Highlighted is the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, a failed samurai-led uprising that brought the end of the samurai way of life.

As the first comprehensive history and analysis in English examining all the key players in this epoch drama, Samurai Revolution is the result of over twenty-five years of research. Throughout the book the author quotes extensively from the journals, memoirs, histories, and letters of Katsu Kaishu, a prolific writer, founder of Japan's modern navy, and later supreme commander of the shogun's military, who earned the epithet "the shogun's last samurai." These original translations give an insider's view, which along with the grand historical narrative provide readers with an unparalleled insight into this most momentous period in Japanese history.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

The best writers of Japanese history are, quite naturally, Japanese. Nearly all of them concentrate on the most important era in modern Japanese history: the final fifteen years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, from the arrival of Perry in the summer of 1853, which kicked off the revolution, to the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate in late 1867. Japanese writers call this era "Bakumatsu," literally "end of the shogunate." I describe it as "the samurai revolution at the dawn of modern Japan."

Japanese writers concentrate on the Bakumatsu not only because it is the beginning of modern Japan, but also because it is by far the most interesting and spellbinding era in Japanese history. In writing about the Bakumatsu they naturally focus on the most powerful and interesting personalities of the era. These include but are not limited to such household names as Katsu Kaishu, Sakamoto Ryoma, Takechi Hanpeita, Yamauchi Yodo, Saigo Takamori, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Takasugi Shinsaku, Yoshida Shoin, Katsura Kogoro, Ii Naosuke, Sakuma Shozan, Yamaoka Tesshu, and the Shinsengumi, an organization whose leaders, Kondo Isami and Hijikata Toshizo, garner significant attention. Readers of Samurai Revolution become familiar with all of these personalities and more.

When I started studying this history in the mid-1980s, I was living in Tokyo. At first I read everything I could get my hands on about the Bakumatsu. It didn't take long before I discovered that there was a gaping dearth of material in English about it. So I naturally focused on primary sources and secondary sources by Japanese writers. After a few years of reading I was able to discern the best among the Japanese writers of Bakumatsu history. I adopted their approach to writing this history, including their focus on the most powerful and spellbinding personalities. These Japanese writers are my teachers. My debt to them is enormous.

My most important primary sources include the journals, histories and oral memoirs (interviews) of Katsu Kaishu ("the Shogun's Last Samurai" of Samurai Revolution) the letters and other writings of Sakamoto Ryoma the letters and "Kyoto Journal" of Takechi Hanpeita the letters and other writings of Nakaoka Shintaro and the oral memoirs (interviews) of Tokugawa Yoshinobu. My most important "teachers" include Hirao Michio, Shimozawa Kan, Kaionji Chogoro, Miyaji Saichiro, Matsuura Rei, Shiba Ryotaro, Matsuoka Mamoru, Furukawa Kaoru, Matsumoto Kenichi, Katsube Mitake, Ishii Takashi, and Konishi Shiro. Read about them in my "Samurai Revolution" blog at samurai-revolution.com.

Samurai Revolution is the result of 25 years of research into this most important era in modern Japanese history.

Romulus Hillsborough, originally from Los Angeles, lived in Tokyo for sixteen years, immersing himself in the study of Japanese language, history and culture. Most of his reading focused on major literary and historical works of Japan. He was particularly drawn in by the tumultuous history of the final years of the shogun's government and the return of political power to the Emperor.

To compliment his reading, the author traveled to historical cities and towns around Japan where his samurai subjects lived and died and where the revolution to overthrow the shogun unfolded. During that time he worked as a writer for a popular weekly magazine in Tokyo and later as a contributing journalist to a number of other Japanese publications.

Upon returning to the United States, Hillsborough settled in San Francisco. Since then, he has returned to Japan many times to resume his travels to historical cities and deepen his understanding of his samurai subjects.

Romulus Hillsborough is an acclaimed expert in the field of Japanese history and culture. His books have been published in seven languages. The author has appeared numerous times on television and radio including The History Channel special "The Samurai," first aired in 2003, and an NHK television special about the Shinsengumi in 2004. He has spoken at such internationally recognized venues as the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), the Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena, CA), the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (Tokyo) and the Japan Information Center, Consulate General of Japan (San Francisco, CA).

Hillsborough's other books include "Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai," "Samurai Tales," "Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps" and "Samurai Assassins: 'Dark Murder' and the Meiji Restoration." Hillsborough currently lives in Northern California.


Romulus Hillsborough: Samurai Revolution

I’ve always wanted to write a story set during the Edo period but realized that I knew very little about that part of Japanese history—or any of it for that matter. I’ve always had this fascination with samurai and the Edo period, but when I decided to do some reading on the subject, I found it very hard to find good books on the topic. Of the few books that were listed on Amazon, I chose Samurai Revolution by Romulus Hillsborough, since it seemed like it would read more like a novel than a boring textbook—fortunately, I was right.

The book is a deep look into the Meiji Restoration (what writers generally refer to as the "Bakumatsu") through the eyes of Katsu Kaishu, the founder of the first Japanese navy and one of the most important men during the Restoration. Based on Kaishu's journals, memoirs, histories, and letters, are great stories of Saigo Takamori, Sakamoto Ryoma, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, and many others, demonstrating not only the political and economic aspects of life during this period but also the cultural and interpersonal sides, which made this beautifully written and well-organized record of the Meiji Restoration, one of the first history books that I had a difficult time putting down. This is a book I highly recommend to anyone—including absolute beginners of Japanese history like myself, interested in the most integral events leading to the modernization of Japan but doesn’t want to read a straight-up textbook.

One suggestion from my own experience reading this book is to not worry about remembering all the names of the people mentioned. Hillsborough was very thorough, so when he was listing the people at a certain event, the list can go on and on. Unless you are a scholar, there’s no need to memorize all of the names. There are a handful of people that will be mentioned over and over again and it is those names that I recommend paying most attention to.

My Favorite Section of the Book: Satsuma Han

My favorite section of the book was a section on Satsuma han, current-day Nagasaki in Western Kyushu. In the section, it mentioned how young Satsuma samurai were trained in an extremely lethal style of kenjutsu, a sword style that “empathized killing an opponent with a single blow,” using long swords measuring close to four feet, and they were taught to not fear death. The following was a story of some young Satsuma samurai who committed offenses to prove to their superiors that they did not fear death:

There was also a great section on bushido referencing the Hagakure, the most extensive book on bushido, as well as Yukio Mishima, a famous Japanese author who publicly committed seppuku in 1970. In addition, there was a section where Kaishu went to San Fransisco—which is full of interesting diary entries of his thoughts on the way Americans carried themselves and the way they treated women. Some other interesting topics include:

The possible assassination of Emperor Komei—the reasons for his sudden death still remains a mystery to this day

A reference to the reasons why an invasion of Korea was proposed

Thanks for reading and let me know what y’all thought about the book in the comments below. If you have any book recommendations for books on the Edo period, please let me know. I’ve been having a hard time finding good books about that period.


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