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SHOGUNS, SAMURAI AND NISHIKI GOI (JAPANESE KOI)

THE EMBLEM OF THE TOKUGAWA SHOGUNS "THE BIG 3"
THE EMBLEM OF THE
TOKUGAWA SHOGUNS
"THE BIG 3" - 3 FAMILIES OF SHOGUNS
 

DYNASTY OF THE 15 TOKUGAWA SHOGUNS

NAME

LIVED RULED
Tokugawa Ieyasu 1543–1616 1603–1605
Tokugawa Hidetada 1579–1632 1605–1623
Tokugawa Iemitsu 1604–1651 1623–1651
Tokugawa Ietsuna 1641–1680 1651–1680
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi 1646–1709 1680–1709
Tokugawa Ienobu 1662–1712 1709–1712
Tokugawa Ietsugu 1709–1716 1712–1716
Tokugawa Yoshimune 1684–1751 1716–1745
Tokugawa Ieshige 1711–1761 1745–1760
Tokugawa Ieharu 1737–1786 1760–1786
Tokugawa Ienari 1773–1841 1786–1837
Tokugawa Ieyoshi 1793–1853 1837–1853
Tokugawa Iesada 1824–1858 1853–1858
Tokugawa Iemochi 1846–1866 1858–1866
Tokugawa Yoshinobu 1837–1913 1866–1868


THE "BIG 3" GOSANKE MIX
KOHAKU (L) - SANKE (U) - SHOWA (R)

   
 

Shoguns and Koi

Sometime during the reign of the 3 Tokugawa families they developed a fondness for keeping Nishiki Goi "Nee-shee-kee Go-eye" which shortened is "Koi" in present day parlance. Chinese Carp, the father of Koi, were kept in rice paddies to fertilize the crops. The carp were then harvested for food and were salted and stored for the harsh winter months.

It can be said that all Koi can be traced back to the rule of the Tokugawa Shoguns. So, when you own a Koi you in part own a small piece of history that traces back to the Shoguns when everything was deemed perfect. Everything a Shogun did was perfection. He lived his life seeking perfection in all things, including Koi. Japanese women also sought perfection and got great pleasure from seeking it. The movie "The Last Samurai" was about the end of the dynasty of the Tokugawa Shoguns.

The breeders of present day Japanese Koi carry on the tradition of the Shoguns by seeking perfection in the Koi they breed. What fascinates me is how Americans have embraced the love of Koi and the attainment of perfection in breeding them. I believe this hobby is here to stay and that for generations Koi will be part of our lives in the Western culture.

Tokugawa Shoguns - The Tokugawa family 1603 -1868 was a feudal military dictatorship of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the continued Shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city of Edo, now Tokyo. The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled from Edo castle until the Meiji Restoration at which time the Shoguns were displaced from power and reduced in rank to Ronin.


Usitunagiishi Stone

1568 Battle Over Salt at Masumoto Castle
There is a stone on Honmachi street, in Matsumoto, Japan that celebrates the delivery of salt! What you say? The stone with sacred festoons is called "Usitunagiishi" which means “a stone to tie a bull to”. Warlord Imagawa and Warlord Takeda were at war. Warlord Sizuoka, who had the sea on his border and salt, favored Imagawa, and stopped sending salt to Takeda at Matsumoto castle planning to starve the people into submission. The people of Takeda suffered greatly and Takeda almost surrendered. A Warlord named Uesugi also had the sea on his border, and even though he too was fighting with Takeda, he couldn't see the people suffering for lack of salt. It was dishonorable to him as a warrior and Warlord. He did not wish to conquer his enemies by making common people suffer. He sent salt via oxen and the stone commemorates where the oxen were tied.

Why would lack of salt make people submit? Lack of salt prevented them from being able to preserve perishable food (carp) by salting it and then drying or smoking it. They were almost forced to surrender. The salt got there on January 10th, 1568. A festival started to celebrate the arrival of the salt and since that day, the festival is still held every year at the Usitunagiishi Stone.


Matsumoto Castle - Site of the Salt War
Virtually impossible to invade.

Koi in Matsumoto Castle Moat
When did the Koi get there?

Matsumoto Castle is located in the city of Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture. It was a land locked prefecture and not able to get salt from the sea. The castle's origins go back to the Sengoku (Warring States) period. At that time, the Ogasawara clan built a fort on this site, which was originally called Fukashi Castle. Later, it came under the rule of the Takeda clan and then Tokugawa Ieyasu.

History of Shoguns: Dynasty of Tokugawa Shoguns (1603-1868)

Rankings of Japanese Politics During the Tokugawa Shogun Dynasty

Emperor Meiji
Emperor Meiji - Emperor at the end of the Shogun Dynasty
Engaged Japan with the Western World
If you saw "The Last Samurai" this was the Emperor that Tom Cruise spoke with.
I suspect he was envious of Commodore Perry's hat.
 

1. Emperor of Japan - The absolute ruler of Japan. The role of the Emperor of Japan has historically alternated between that of a supreme-rank cleric with largely symbolic powers and that of an actual imperial ruler. An underlying imperial cult regards the Emperor as being descended from gods or "heavenly sovereign." Japanese Emperors have nearly always been controlled by other political forces, to varying degrees. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the Imperial Palace has been called "Kyujo" and located on the former site of Edo Castle in the heart of Tokyo. Earlier Emperors resided in Kyoto for nearly eleven centuries.

Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu
Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu
The 1st Shogun

2. Shogun or "Tokugawa" - The "Great General" of the Japanese army, not appointed by the Emperor, but with complete military rule over the entire country. Shogun's exercised this absolute rule under the nominal leadership of the Emperor. Shoguns were not appointed by the Emperor but continued through the bloodlines of the Shogun. Three (3) separate bloodlines comprised the 15 Shogun's. Hence the "Big 3" a reference to Shogun's, is carried over to the Big 3 in Koi appreciation; the Kohaku, the Sanke and the Showa.


Daimo

3. Daimo - Compare to "Warlords." The Daimyo were the most powerful feudal rulers from the 10th century to the 19th century in Japan. The term "Daimyo" literally means "great name." From the shugo of the Muromachi period through the sengoku to the Daimyo of the Edo period, the rank had a long and varied history. The term "Daimyo" is also sometimes used to refer to the leading figures of such clans, also called "lord". It was usually, though not exclusively, from these warlords that a Shogun arose or a regent was chosen. The Daimyo usually wore purples, ranging from dark to light depending on how high ranked they were. Dark and light purple preceded dark and light green, dark and light red, and finally black. The very highest Daimyo were considered to be nobles.

 

A Samurai or Ronin in Battle Gear
Samurai/Ronin

4. Samurai - Compare to military officers. A term for the military nobility. The Samurai served at the pleasure of his Master or Daimio (General). The word "Samurai" is derived from the archaic Japanese verb "samorau", changed to "saburau", meaning "to serve"; a Samurai was the servant of a lord or Daimyo. The Japanese car "Subaru" literally means you have a servant, or if you want to make your day, you have a Samurai!

5. Ronin - A masterless Samurai, compare to a mercenary soldier. A Samurai became masterless from the ruin or fall of his master, or after the loss of his master's favor or privilege. Since a Ronin did not serve any lord, he was no longer a Samurai, as the noun Samurai came from the verb saburau which was the Japanese for "to serve." Samurai sometimes were hired by a Daimyo to join battle with his own Samurai for rewards of land or material goods.

6. Assassin/Ninja - Assassins' were contracted to kill for many reasons. While not a military person, they were a tool to be used. An assassin was viewed low on the scale of social rank. Compare an assassin to a thug or mobster. The honorable method of conquering your enemy was in battle. Hiring an assassin was a private matter as it was looked on as dishonorable. In today's PC gaming culture a Ninja has some preferred status, but in reality the Assassin/Ninja of this period wore black and kept their faces covered out of shame.

 


OTHER JAPANESE WORDS TO KNOW


Shimazu
Hisamitsu

Shimazu -  Compare to a governor of a state. The Shimazu were powerful warlords. The Shimazu were the military rulers of Japan starting with Shimazu Tadahisa (1179–1227) About 2/3 of the way through the history of the 33 Shimazu, Shimazu Tadatsune submitted his power to the first Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, in 1603. After 1603 there were 13 more Shimazu, but without the power of the first 20. In all there were 33 Shimazu ending with Shimazu Tadashige. (Shimazu Hisamitsu plays a minor role at the end of the Tokugawa Dynasty, see June 1862)

Bakufu or Shogunate - A Shogun's office or administration is a "Shogunate" or "Bakufu", the latter of which literally means "an office in the tent" in Japanese, and suggests a "private government." As used in this webpage, Shogunate or Bakufu would mean men of power within the Shogun's office, or compare to a president's cabinet.

Toyotomi Hideyori - 1593-1615, was the son and designated successor of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the general who first united all of Japan. In 1600, after his victory over the others at the Battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu seized control. Hideyori married the seven year old granddaughter of Ieyasu, Senhime, to ensure his loyalty towards the Tokugawa clan. However Ieyasu continued to view the young Hideyori as a potential threat.

In 1615, Ieyasu's son Hidetada renounced the truce and attacked again after Hideyori began to excavate the moats of Osaka Castle thus breaching the truce agreement made the previous winter.

PLEASE NOTE: Carp were plentiful and most likely developing mutated colors long before this period in Japanese history. It has been suggested that carp came from China well before 200 AD, but there is nothing documented to suggest that any mutated colored carp were appreciated as ornamental fish, or an art form. In ancient times people would have been considered foolish not to eat a fish because it was "pretty." However, somewhere during the Shogun Dynasty carp became Koi and were bred to please the eye. If you the reader have interesting research that points to a specific time period in the history of Japan, please join our Pond and Koi Forum and let me know so I can amend this.

THE BEGINNING OF THE SHOGUNS OR SHOGUNATE (Shogunate being his administration)

1. Tokugawa Ieyasu (1602 -1605) Start of the 1st Family of Shoguns

Early 1602 - Ieyasu negotiates a settlement with Shimazu of Satsuma and Shimazu Tadatsune submits to Ieyasu (The first Tokugawa Shogun) in ceremonies at Fushimi palace. After seeing that Shimazu was well treated, other, northern, Daimyo also submit peacefully.

1603 - Ieyasu assumes the title of Shogun thereby calling himself Tokugawa Ieyasu. He installs his eldest son, Hidetada, in Edo castle (Present Day Tokyo) and moves to Sumpu in Suruga Province, now Shizuoka and where he had been raised as a child as a hostage. He continues the political process of consolidating his power while living in Sumpu.

1604 A Bakufu edict establishes a Bakufu monopoly on the sale of silk imported from China, thus beginning the Bakufu's policy of governmental control of foreign trade.

  • "Bakufu" is the political power structure of a Shogun. It is apparent now that the Bakufu is taking whatever they wish from the warlords of Japan "Shimazu" and the Emperor.

1605 Ieyasu hands over the title of Shogun to his son Hidetada but continues the process of consolidating his political power from his residence in Sumpu. As he continues to reassign the Daimyo to various positions, he is careful to ensure that all Tozama Daimyo are surrounded, and watched over, by other clans of Daimyo. Divide and conquer is the rule of the day.

2. Tokugawa Hidetada (1605 -1623)
1605 Tokugawa Hidetada assumes the title.

1609 A Dutch trading post is established at Hirado.

  • As you read further you will find that during the reign of the Shogun's the Dutch were the only people that they trusted to do trade with. Apparently the Dutch did not try to install Catholic religious missionaries in Japan and just came and did business and nothing else.

1611 Hidetada begins to put pressure on Hideyori (the most powerful Daimyo) to relinquish official power. He also exacts an oath of allegiance from other Daimyo in central and western Japan.

1611 Go-Mizunoo becomes Emperor.

1612 Full persecution of the Christian faith is started. Hidetada exacts an oath of allegiance from the Daimyo in northern Japan.

1613 An agent of the English East India Company establishes an English trading post at Hirado.

  • The British try to get trade going with Japan. This will be short-lived.

January 1614 Hidetada issues an order which suppresses Christianity throughout the country. Churches were destroyed and many missionaries were imprisoned and later killed.

  • Christian religions are just not tolerated. This is a recurring theme as the as the Shogun's saw Christianity as a way for outsiders to diminish their power.

December 1614 Hidetada begins a siege of Osaka castle (home to the last powerful Daimyo clan, the Tozama Daimyo) by sending 70,000 troops under the command of Hidetada to surround the castle. The castle is defended by thousands of Ronin who come from communes around the country hired by the Tozama Daimyo.

1615-1624 Genwa Era

January 1615 A peace proposal is signed between Hidetada and Hideyori but Hidetada breaks the agreement and Hidetada begins the process of filling in the moats and tearing down the outer walls of Osaka castle.

May 1615 The moats are sufficiently filled in after 4 months to continue the siege of a now exposed and vulnerable Osaka castle. The battle recommences full force.

On June 5, 1615 Toyotomi Hideyori, has no means of protecting himself from the advancing Tokugawa forces. He and 30 others who accompany him in the burning castle, commit suicide. This ends the Toyotomi clan and paves the way for the 250-year Tokugawa Shogunate. Hideyori's mother is killed by a "retainer" to prevent her capture. Hidetada is now in total control of Japan.

  • A Retainer, or "Assassin" was a job skill, just like a cook, soldier or whatever. If you wanted someone killed you hired a retainer.

August 1615 Hidetada issues 17 codes of conduct on the military class - The Buke Shohatto. Among these prohibitions are; each Daimyo is restricted to the possession of just one military castle, or garrison headquarters. In addition, repairs or enlargements (fixing moats, making higher walls) could only be made with prior approval from the Bakufu. All marriages had to be approved by the Shogun. In addition, the power of the throne and of Buddhist clerics are severely limited.

  • In effect this prevents any Daimyo from consolidating power through the building of new castles, marrying into power arrangements and gaining power through religious means. This was a very important step made to strengthen the power of the new Shogunate for the next 250 years. This preempted any consolidation of military power by warlords and Daimyo, and removes all competition for the Tokugawa Dynasty.

June 1, 1616 Hidetada dies and Hidetada assumes all Shogunal powers.

1616 The ban on Christianity is reaffirmed. All foreign trade, except Chinese, is restricted to Nagasaki and Hirado.

  • It is important to note that the ban on Christianity is aimed directly at the Catholic church. During this time period the Catholic church was building political power though the guise of Christianity, and behind the curtain were claiming assets for the Catholic church. The Japanese Shoguns were smart enough to see the long term goals of the church and were not fooled by the pretense of missionaries being in Japan for good works.

1619 Widespread famine hits Japan. (During the Tokugawa Period, there were 154 famines, of which 21 were widespread and serious.)

1620 The Bakufu arranges a marriage between Emperor Go-Mizunoo and the daughter (Kazuko) of Hidetada.

1622 Hidetada orders the execution of 55 Christian missionaries and converts in Nagasaki. This sent a powerful message to Rome that the Tokugawa will not tolerate the church getting a foothold in Japan.

  • This is only speculation on my part, but it appears the leaders of religions, mostly Catholics, did not pass on the news that missionaries were killed in Japan. As you can see later, Rome continues to send missionaries over and over again. If you were selected to be a religious missionary I am quite sure that Rome did not tell you it was a death sentence. New missionaries more than likely got to Japan and for the first time figured out that they were in big trouble.

1623 Hidetada retires and his son, Iemitsu, becomes third Shogun. However, as is usual, Hidetada retained all authority until his death.

3. Tokugawa Iemitsu (1623 -1651)

The English abandon their trading post at Hirado and abandon the idea of trading with Japan.

  • It is apparent to the English and the countries of Europe that Japan is an area that cannot be manipulated. The kingdom's of Europe will have to seek new land and power elsewhere in the new world. The Shogunate is a very sophisticated social and powerful military culture, and not ignorant savages open for exploitation as other parts of the new world are.

1624-1644 Kanei Era

1624 Spaniards (priests and laymen) are banned from the country and further contact with them is prohibited.

  • The edict of the prior year regarding religious attempts to gain power were apparently ignored by the churches of Spain. Now they get the message loud and clear.

1627 The Bakufu further limits the Emperor's powers by stripping him of the right to select and nominate senior priests. The Bakufu's deputy in Kyoto cancels several already made appointments and Emperor Go-Mizunoo threatens to abdicate, but the Bakufu refuses to change the ruling.

  • The Shogunate or Bakufu in no uncertain terms let the Emperor of Japan know that he is holding a position for looks only, and not of substance.

1628 Hidetada orders the execution of more Christians in Nagasaki.

  • We can only assume that the Christian's remaining in Japan were ill informed, did not have the means to escape Japan, or just plain stupid to stay.

1629 Emperor Go-Mizunoo is forced to abdicate the throne. The position of Emperor of Japan is not occupied by anyone at this time.

1630 Princess Oki-ko, Go-Mizunoo's daughter with Kazuko, succeeds to the throne as Empress Myosho. A granddaughter of the Shogun now occupies the throne.

  • A Tokugawa family member now holds the symbolic seat of power in Japan as Empress. The Tokugawa family now holds both military and symbolic power.

1630 The Bakufu issues a prohibition against books intended to propagate Christianity and singled out books of religion that had been translated by Jesuit missionaries into Chinese, which were able to be more easily read by more Japanese than other books published in European languages.

  • The European Christians are a diehard bunch and continue to try and weasel their way into Japan using the guise of Christianity. Will they ever learn?

1632 Hidetada dies and Iemitsu assumes full Shogunal powers.

1633 Ban on overseas sailing of ships other than Hosho-sen.

  • The Shogun isolates Japan from the rest of the world. Tired of foreign parties trying to exploit the resources of Japan this ban effectively stops all people from setting anchor in any Japanese port.

1634 Iemitsu leads an army of over 300,000 men to Kyoto as a show of force and a reminder to the court and the Tozama Daimyo that he is in control.

1634 The Bakufu structure is strengthened with the creation of the posts of Roju (Elders), Wakadoshiyori (Junior Elders), Bugyo (Commissioners), and Hyojoshu (Judicial Council).

1635 Buke Shohatto is revised. This revision includes a formalization of the Sankin-Kotai system. All religious matters brought under control of the Jisha Bugyo (Commissioner of Temples & Shrines).

1636 Ban on Japanese travel abroad. Portuguese traders confined to Deshima Island off Nagasaki.

1637 - 1638 A peasant uprising (the Shimabara Uprising), in which Christians take a leading role, takes place on the Shimabara Peninsula of Kyushu. It is estimated that of the 37,000 people who took part, only about 100 escaped alive.

  • Again the Catholic church takes a beating in Japan! Hard-headed bunch that they are. How obtuse to the sanctity of life are the leaders of the church in Rome to keep sending people over and over again to be slaughtered in Japan? The greed of the Catholic church at this time to exploit the wealth of new lands is beyond understanding from a historical perspective. It is also important to keep in mind that at this time there were very violent practices being implemented in Europe in the name of the Church. Priests would literally gut men alive with hooked knives slicing open their belly and exposing their bowels to them to get them to confess to sins and repent. Religious crusades in the name of the church and torture are rampant. History shows us that the crusades and the inquisitions were guises to accumulate wealth and power. So, with that in mind, sending missionaries to Japan was probably "no big deal" to the church.

1638 Portuguese priest and traders are ousted and Portuguese trading ships are banned from the country. Travel abroad by Japanese is further restricted as the death penalty is imposed on anyone who attempts to leave the country or who, having already left, tries to return. In addition, the building of ships with a capacity of more than 2,500 bushels is forbidden.

1639 Policy of total exclusion implemented (Sakoku Rei).

1640 All members of a Portuguese diplomatic mission from Macao are executed when they arrive in Japan to request a reopening of trade.

  • "Knock-Knock, who's there?" The Catholic church is once again sent a powerful message.

All Japanese ordered to register at temple of their choice.

  • This move was aimed at cleansing the population of any Christian teachings by missionaries.

1641 Dutch traders moved from Hirado and restricted to Dejima.

  • Apparently the Dutch were interested in pure trade on an economic level and did not attempt to convert any of the population to religion. But, their presence is guarded.

Chinese restricted to Nagasaki.

1642 Widespread famine hits Japan

1643 Go-Komyo becomes Emperor.

1644-1648 Shoho Era

1644-1694 Matsuo Basho. First writer of serious haiku. Born a Samurai but became a wandering poet/recluse.

1648-1652 Keian Era

1651 Ietsuna, Iemitsu's son, becomes the fourth Shogun at the age of eleven. (He suffers from poor health during his entire 29 year reign.)

4. Tokugawa Ietsuna (1651 -1680)

1652-1655 Joo Era

1653-1724 Chikamatsu Monzaemon. The most well known Kabuki and Bunraku writer and an ex-Ronin.

1654 Go-Sai becomes Emperor, although the formal coronation ceremony isn't until 1656.

1654 Ingen, a Chinese priest, founds the obaku sect of Zen Buddhism.

1655-1658 Meireki Era

1657 Great Edo fire.

1658-1661 Manji Era

1661-1673 Kanbun Era

1663 Reigen becomes Emperor.

1673-1681 Empo Era

1675 Widespread famine hits Japan

5. Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (1680 -1709)

1680 Ietsuna dies without a son and is succeeded by his younger brother. Tsunayoshi, of Tatebayashi, becomes the fifth Shogun at the age of 34.

Whereas the first four Tokugawa Shoguns had emphasized that Samurai were to devote half of their time to martial arts and the other half to learning, by the time Tsunayoshi took office learning was almost completely predominant. In addition, relations with the imperial court had relaxed in severity and Tozama Daimyo were given much more leeway in running their own lives and provincial affairs, including in matters of marriages and succession.

1680 Widespread famine hits Japan

1681-1684 Tenwa Era

1684-1688 Joko Era

1685 The ban against books intending to propagate Christianity is renewed.

  • Oh well, here comes those pesky Christians again.

1687 Higashiyama becomes Emperor.

1688-1704 Genroku Era First major cultural expansion of this time period. Centered in Kyoto and Osaka

Total lands now assessed at 25.8 million koku.

1680 to 1700 - Introduction of Koi Mutations as Art
This is entirely speculation on my part. But, the time frame, the documented history of Japan, and other pieces of the puzzle that exist makes this period fit. The country is politically stable (for awhile) and the writings of George Sansom (next paragraph) imply that the Japanese are very cultured and refined despite their propensity for dispensing terrorizing violence.

  • My research leads me to believe that during this time period that Nishiki Goi are becoming a form of living art. Rice farmers introduced carp into their irrigation ponds to supplement their diet of rice, and the excrement of the carp is good fertilizer for the rice to grow.
  • Koi in in some rice paddies occasionally develop rare mutant color variations. Rice farmers bring the colored Koi to the nearest Daimyo's castle to gain favor, or perhaps financial reward, by putting them in the Daimyo's castle moats.
  • This starts the wheels turning for the expansion of Koi as an art form. I can only assume that since this is one the first time periods of peace, and it is known historically as the first cultural expansion of Japan, that some Daimyo started trading different Koi colors and patterns with other Daimyo."

1700 George Sansom writes of Japanese society as it entered the 18th century: "The fixed pattern of feudal administration was liberal enough to allow a measure of freedom in spheres remote from politics, so that during the eighteenth century Japan developed a society based on law and privilege, governed by harsh principle, but nevertheless achieving in practice great urbanity and style. It was closed to outside influences and therefore could not be refreshed by the winds of new doctrine then blowing about the Western world; but probably no contemporary European community was more civilized and polished."

1701- 1703 Incident of the 47 Ronin (made famous in the Kabuki play Chushingura). After 47 Ronin kill a Daimyo in his Edo headquarters in revenge of their former Daimyo's death, they are ordered to commit seppuku. This was an important precedent as it showed that the government now held civil law over the acceptance of military honor.

1703 An earthquake in the Kanto area kills an estimated 150,000 people in Edo.

1704-1711 Hoei Era

1707-1708 Mt. Fuji erupts on numerous occasions, destroying hundreds of square miles of surrounding farmland.

6. Tokugawa Ienobu (1709 -1712)

January 1709 Tsunayoshi dies and his nephew, Ienobu, of Kofu, becomes the sixth Shogun.

1709 Nakamikado becomes Emperor.

1711-1716 Shotoku Era

7. Tokugawa Ietsugu (1712 -1716)

Late 1712 Ienobu dies after an illness of several months. Ietsugu, his three and a half year old son, becomes the seventh Shogun.

1713-1714 Russians visit Kuril Islands in an attempt to find Japan.

8. Tokugawa Yoshimune (1716 -1745) Start of the 2nd Family of Shoguns

1716 Ietsugu dies, thus ending the Hidetada and Iemitsu line of Shoguns. Yoshimune, the Daimyo of Kii, becomes the eighth Shogun.

Thinking that the Samurai class had tilted too far towards learning and leisure, and away from the martial arts and discipline, he frequently issues edicts demanding frugality and self discipline. These are, in large part, ignored.

Under Yoshimune's leadership, the legal and judicial system undergoes considerable expansion. Although the Tokugawa bureaucracy is staffed only by Samurai, a non-militaristic and more rational approach is brought to conflict resolution. Yoshimune also reforms the currency and tries to revive the agricultural underpinnings of the country in order to take back some power form the now strong merchant class. However, the next two successors were incompetent and power eventually fell to dishonest and greedy counselors.

1716-1736 Kyoho Era

1720 Ban lifted on the importation of foreign books and Chinese translations (with the exception of books directly concerned with Christianity).

1720 Statistical Interlude - Population: The population of Japan reaches more than 31 million by 1720, and remained stable at that level thereafter. In addition, the population of Edo approaches 1 million by 1700 as it develops into the national political center. By the eighteenth century more than 15% of the population lived in major cities and towns of some kind.

1721 Five year census begun.

1730 Because Bakufu policy closed the country to food imports and actively discouraged crop diversification, farmers had to increase the amount of land under cultivation in order to feed the growing population - with the amount being doubled between the beginning of the Tokugawa Period and about 1730. After 1730, lesser and lesser amounts of land were converted to cultivation and, therefore, the population was unable to increase.

1732 Widespread famine hits Japan, affecting about 1,600,000 people and killing at least 17,000.

1735 Sakuramachi becomes Emperor.

1736-1741 Gembun Era

1739 A Russian ship, captained by a Dane, visits several points along the east coast of Japan - including a reported sighting off the coast of Shimoda.

1741-1744 Kanpo Era

1742 Codification of Bakufu laws begun.

1744-1748 Enko Era

9. Tokugawa Ieshige (1745 -1760)

1745 Yoshimune retires and names Ieshige as the ninth Shogun.

1747 Momozono becomes Emperor.

1748-1751 Kanen Era

1751-1764 Horeki Era

1751 Yoshimune dies.

1753-1806 Kitagawa Utamaro. Ukiyoe artist famous for his pictures of the "ideal" woman.

10. Tokugawa Ieharu (1760 -1786)

1760 Ieshige retires. Ieharu becomes tenth Shogun.

1760-1849 Katsushika Hokusai. Ukiyoe artist famous for his landscape pictures.

1762 Go-Sakuramachi becomes Emperor, although the formal coronation ceremony isn't until the next year.

1764-1772 Meiwa Era.

1769 A proposal to relax the ban on building ships capable of ocean travel is proposed, but defeated by conservatives.

1770 Go-Momozono becomes Emperor, although the coronation ceremony isn't until the next year.

1771 Japanese dissect a criminal's body while following diagrams and plates in a translation of a Dutch book on anatomy. Japanese interest in 'Dutch' learning is increasing and spreading.

1772-1781 Anei Era.

1777-1779 Russian's again visit the Kuril islands. Meeting Japanese form Matsumae, they inquire about trade but are told that all trade is restricted to Nagasaki.

1780 Kokaku becomes Emperor.

1781-1789 Temmei Era.

1783 Mount Asama, located on the western border of the province of Kozuke, erupts. A large number of towns and villages are destroyed and ashes buried the province and its farm lands to a depth of several feet, as well as areas in other, nearby, provinces. Famine soon follows.

1783-1787 The Famine of Temmei reduces the population of Japan by an estimated one million people.

11. Tokugawa Ienari (1786 -1837)

1786 Ieharu dies and Ienari becomes eleventh Shogun. Matsudaira Sadanobu becomes regent until 1793 while Ienari is a minor. Ienari was notorious for his inefficiency, extravagance, and vanity. According to Kitagawa, his chief accomplishment while in office was to have maintained 40 mistresses' and sired 55 children.

1789-1801 Kansei Era.

1792 The governor of Siberia sends an expedition to Japan. They make it through Hokkaido but are escorted under heavy guard to Matsumae where they are told to leave as no interactions with foreigners are allowed by law. It is reiterated that any trade that might be approved must go through the port of Nagasaki.

1797-1858 Ando Hiroshige. Ukiyoe artist famous for his "53 Stages of Tokaido Highway" and other landscape pictures.

1792 Russian ship enters Nemuro harbor asking to open trade relations for Russia. Request is denied but they are given permit to enter Nagasaki instead.

1798 Shogunate begins colonizing Hokkaido.

1801-1804 Kowa Era.

1804-1829 Bunka-Bunsei Period. Second major cultural expansion of the Tokugawa period. Centered in Edo.

1804-1818 Bunka Era.

1804 Russian ship enters Nagasaki harbor asking for trade concessions. Japan refuses and ship leaves after six unfruitful months.

1808 British frigate enters Nagasaki harbor under Dutch flag looking for Dutch Ships. Leaves without finding and without bombarding the harbor as threatened.

1811 Japanese outpost captures Russian naval officer. They hold him but treat him well.

1811 Department of official translators of Western books set up within the Bakufu.

1813 Russians capture Bakufu monopoly merchant and exchange him for Japanese-held Russian naval officer.

1817 Ninko becomes Emperor.

1818-1830 Bunsei Era.

1819 British ship enters Uraga Bay. Armed struggle with Japanese ensues before they leave.

1820 - Koi were first bred in Japan in the 1820s, initially in the town of Ojiya in the Niigata prefecture on the north eastern coast of mainland Japan. This area is situated high in the mountains, where snow can fall up to several feet in depth, cutting of access to the area in the winter months. This devotion to breeding carp led to the Niigata region becoming established as the centre of the growing Koi industry.

1824 British ship lands on island off Satsuma coast. Armed fighting ensues before they leave.

1825 Bakufu issues orders for all authorities to drive away all foreign vessels "without second thought."

1830-1844 Tempo Era

Crop failures widespread between 1824 & 1832, severe famine in Northern Japan in 1833, Nationwide famine in 1836, debt to Osaka merchants alone by 1840 total more than 60 million ryo (1 ryo of gold = 1 koku of rice).

1832 Total land now assessed at 30.4 million koku.

1834 Another famine reduces the population to less than it was in the 1730's.

1836-1837 Widespread famine hits Japan.

1837 Oshio Heihachiro, until recently a minor official in the Osaka city magistrate, leads an attack on Osaka Castle to gain control of the city and relieve the famine starved city dwellers. The rebellion is quickly put down.

12. Tokugawa Ieyoshi (1837 -1853)

1837 Ienari resigns. Ieyoshi becomes twelfth Shogun (although Ienari retains political control).

1837 An American merchant ship (the Morrison) enters Edo Bay but is driven off by gun batteries at Uraga. It goes to Kagoshima and is driven off there as well.

1839-1842 The "Opium War" takes place between China and Great Britain. As the Japanese hear of this from both Chinese and Dutch contacts, Japanese 'Dutch Learning' (rangaku) shifts from just medicine, economics, and botany, to include military science as well. Rangaku is slowly replaced with Yogaku (Western Learning).

1841 Ex-Shogun Ienari dies. Ieyoshi begins purge of government officials and implementation of Tempo reforms. Under leadership of Mizuno Tadakuni, Bakufu tries to reestablish control over Daimyo affairs, but this ultimately proves unsuccessful.

1842 Order to drive off all foreign ships relaxed, allowing ships that are "storm-damaged or shipwrecked, come seeking food, fuel, or water" to enter port.

1844-1848 Koka Era.

1844 A Dutch warship enters Nagasaki harbor with an envoy carrying a letter to the Shogun from the King of Holland. The letter tries to explain to the Bakufu that Western advances in science and the growth in international trade would make the opening of Japan inevitable. The bakudu politely, but negatively, replies the country must stay closed.

  • Even though the Dutch were told to leave, historically the Dutch were a people that could gain some dialogue with the Tokugawa leadership. This polite expulsion is completely different than the way other people are treated.

1845 Mizuno Tadakuni removed from office (for the second and final time) in disgrace. Other associates are jailed and/or imprisoned.

1845 Commodore James Biddle is sent to Japan by the US with two warships in order to open trade between the two countries. The Japanese refused and Biddle simply left.

  • America goes knocking and gets the cold shoulder.

1847 Komei becomes Emperor.

1848-1854 Kaei Era.

1852 Dutch warn Bakufu that Perry will come and what he will seek.

  • Since the Dutch and the Bakufu are 'buddies' the Dutch 'rat out' Commodore Perry.

13. Tokugawa Iesada (1853 -1858)

1853 Iesada becomes thirteenth Shogun.

(Over the next years, it becomes apparent that he is not 100% mentally competent and the nation is administered in his name by the senior minister, Abe Masahiro. In addition, he never marries and produces no heirs, forcing the Bakufu to choose one at a later date.)

July 8, 1853 Commodore Perry arrives at Uraga with letter for the Shogun demanding an opening of trade relations with the US. He leaves the letter and tells the Bakufu that he will return for answer early in 1854. He then departs to Okinawa for the winter.

Early 1854 Bakufu asks opinion of Emperor and all Daimyo on the issue of what to do about Perry's demands.

  • It is apparent at this time that their is a major change in the way the Bakufu handles foreign affairs. Prior to this time foreign ships were turned away or destroyed. Something is going on that is not apparent. One can only assume that some of the leadership of Japan has been tainted or swayed by goods and services being offered behind closed doors to people of influence in the Japanese power structure. Perhaps in this period, the Emperor of Japan has regained a large part of the power of the office that was stripped by the first Shogunate.

1854-1860 Ansei Era.

February, 1854 Perry returns to Edo to begin negotiations on the opening of trade relations between Japan and the US.

February, 1854 Yoshida Torajiro and another man attempt to board one of Perry's ships in an attempt to get to the West, but they are sent back to shore and later arrested by the Japanese for attempting to leave the country.

March 31, 1854 The Treaty of Kanagawa is signed between Japan and the US opening Hakodate and Shimoda to US vessels for provisioning, promising fair treatment of shipwrecked sailors and extraterritoriality, allowing US trade agents to live in open ports, and approving a future US Consul to live in Shimoda. (In fact, the Japanese bureaucracy obfuscated, stalled, and did anything to prevent any trade from taking place.)

  • This is a very historic point in the history of the Shogunate. Prior to this NO foreign consults were tolerated except the Dutch on a very limited basis. This is the beginning of the end for the rule of the Shoguns.

October, 1854 A treaty similar to that signed with the US is signed between Japan and Great Britain.

1854 Bakufu lifts ban on building large ships and Satsuma (the most progressive of the han) begins building large western-style sailing ships.

  • Westernization begins in earnest. There is no turning back as the Japan finds that western goods are far superior to their prior lifestyle.

February, 1855 The Emperor gives his approval to the treaty that had been concluded with the US - although he had been misled as to what it really contained.

A treaty similar to that signed with the US is signed between Japan and Russia.

November, 1855 A treaty similar to that signed with the US is signed between Japan and Holland..

August, 1856 Townsend Harris arrives in Shimoda as the first US Consulate.

March, 1857 Harris warns the Bakufu that the US will not tolerate Japanese stalling in trade agreements for much longer. This is taken to heart and the bureaucracy is told to cooperate.

June 1857 The Bakufu agrees to amendments to the Treaty of Kanagawa as proposed by Harris. The amendments include opening the port of Nagasaki to American ships and affirming extraterritoriality.

December 7, 1857 The Shogun takes the unprecedented step of meeting in person with Harris.

April 1858 Ii Naosuke (Daimyo of Hikone, the largest of the han) is appointed regent to the Shogun. He supports temporarily opening the country to the westerners in order to learn enough to fight them and begins negotiations with Harris. He is bitterly opposed by Tokugawa Nariaki, the Daimyo of Mito, who opposes the opening of the country and vows to fight at any cost. Those throughout the country who oppose the opening of the country despise Ii for his policies and his high-handed treatment of people who oppose him and start working to overthrow the Bakufu.

July 29, 1858 The Treaty of Amity & Commerce is signed with the US giving free trade at 6 ports, allowing permanent foreign residents in Edo and Osaka, and normal trade tariffs. Ii Naosuke, as Bakufu regent, approves the treaty unilaterally and against the wishes of a good many of the other Daimyo. The Daimyos of Mito, Owari, and Fukui are punished for expressing their disapproval of the signing. Mito and his heir, Hitotsubashi Keiki, are placed under house arrest and the others are forced to retire. This infuriates many and the loyalist movement begins to grow.

  • Another nail in the coffin of the Bakufu.

This treaty also allows the freedom of worship for foreigners, but not Japanese, and approves the building of cemeteries for foreigners who die in Japan.

  • Christianity is recognized for the first time in Japan on an official level.

July 1858 Within a week of signing the commercial treaty with the U.S., Ii Naosuke appoints Iemochi, the son of the Daimyo of Kii, as the successor to the Shogun. His selection comes about after a bitter dispute within the Bakufu. Traditionally, the next Shogun was chosen from the houses of Kii, Mito, or Owari when the current Shogun didn't produce an heir. Although Iemochi was qualified to succeed, he was only twelve years old and not experienced enough to lead the country. On the other hand, Yoshinobu (Hitotsubashi Keiki), the son of the Daimyo of Mito and therefore also qualified to succeed, was proposed as the successor. He was older and thus more experienced but to this time Mito had always been excluded from the list of successors to the Shogunate. The argument between the two candidates thus came down to a fight between the traditionalists and the pragmatists.

14. Tokugawa Iemochi (1858 -1866)

August, 1858 Iesada dies and Iemochi is appointed the fourteenth Shogun.

Treaties similar to those signed a month ago with the US are signed with Great Britain, Russia, Holland, and France.

October, 1858 The Emperor orders Ii Naosuke to come to Kyoto to explain his conduct in approving the foreign treaties and his treatment of other Daimyo. He refuses to go and sends Manabe as his representative.

February, 1859 Manabe convinces the Emperor that the Bakufu is, at heart, opposed to opening the country and gets the Emperor to consent to the current treaties.

1859 Chaplains from several countries and from several denominations begin arriving to minister to foreigners in Japan. Of course they also hope to server as missionaries to the Japanese, but that is still forbidden.

1860-1861 Manen Era.

Spring 1860 80 Bakufu officials are sent to Washington D.C. to ratify the Treaty of Amity & Commerce. They sail in a Japanese made ship with an all-Japanese crew.

March 1860 Ii Naosuke is assassinated in Edo by Samurai opposing his signing of the commercial treaty, his opening of the country, his appointment of Iemochi as Shogun, and his harsh treatment of those who oppose him.

1861-1864 Bunkyu Era.

1861 Preoccupied at home with its own civil war, the U.S. relinquishes its leading role in Japanese affairs to Great Britain, which, by 1864, controlled nearly 90% of Japan's trade with Western nations.

January 1862 Ando Nobumasa, an advisor to the Shogun, escapes an assassination attempt in Edo. While he survives, he is hurt badly enough to be forced to retire. He is despised for his plans to marry the Shogun to Chikako, the Emperor's younger sister, (which eventually did take place) and for the rumors that he plans to replace Emperor Komei with someone more loyal to the Bakufu. Loyalist opponents understood that, had the marriage plan been allowed to go through, it would have been impossible for them to attack the Bakufu without also indirectly attacking the imperial family.

June 1862 Choshu and Satsuma station troops in Kyoto in an attempt to influence the Emperor into supporting their positions. (Note that their positions were not the same. Choshu-han, like Tosa-han, was now controlled by men who supported the complete overthrow of the Bakufu and restoration of power to the Emperor. Satsuma-han, under the control of Shimazu Hisamitsu supported the policy of uniting the imperial court and the Bakufu - much like Ando had proposed with his plans to intermarry the two families.)

June 1862 Having become the most powerful of the Daimyo in Kyoto, and therefore wielding the most influence with the imperial court, Shimazu Hisamitsu arranged to have himself appointed by the Emperor to escort an imperial messenger who was to go to Edo to demand that the Shogun come to Kyoto for consultations.

August 1862 Tosa troops, escorting Yamanouchi Yodo, the Daimyo of Tosa, to Edo, arrive in Kyoto under the leadership of Takechi Hanpeita. Takechi, through imperial cohorts and colleagues, had arranged for an imperial decree demanding that Yamanouchi stop in Kyoto on his way to Edo. After arriving, Takechi arranges for another imperial decree that demands that the Daimyo remain in Kyoto, thus making it impossible for him to continue to Edo and fulfill his responsibilities under Sankin Kotai.

August 1862 The Shogun succumbs to the military might shown by Shimazu Hisamitsu and agrees to go to Kyoto as summoned by the Emperor! On Shimazu's return to Kyoto, four British cross paths with his entourage in the town of Namamugi, a small town outside of Yokohama. Not getting out of the way of the entourage one of them (C.L. Richardson) is killed by a Shimazu retainer. Others are injured, but escape. Upon his return to Kyoto, Shimazu finds that he has lost his influence with the imperial court to the more radical Choshu.

October, 1862 The sankin kotai system is rescinded - almost assuredly dooming the Bakufu to future collapse.

1863 Fukuzawa Yukichi founds a college based on western principles and subjects. The college will, at a later date, become Keio University.

March, 1863 Iemochi goes to Kyoto - the first Shogun to do so in two centuries. He agrees to court demands that all foreigners be expelled from the country and all ports would be closed on July 24. When Bakufu representatives passed this on to foreign representatives in Edo, the representatives were given oral assurances that the Bakufu would not enforce it.

April 1863 Britain demands compensation for the murder of C.L. Richardson the previous summer and told that Japan will be attacked by warships if they don't pay. Britain demands: a) a public apology, b) 100,000 pounds payable by the Bakufu to London, c) 25,000 pounds payable by Satsuma to the family of Richardson and the same to each of the other three British attacked at the same time, and d) the arrest and execution of the assassins.

June 1863 The Bakufu pays the 100,000 pounds demanded by the British for Satsuma's killing of C.L. Richardson. Satsuma, however, refuses to pay, saying that it was Edo's fault for not warning the British that the entourage would be passing that day. (To prevent these problems, normal procedure was for Edo to inform foreign legations when a Daimyo entourage was scheduled to travel the Tokaido. Foreigners would then plan to stay away on those days. For some reason, the British, and hence Richardson, had not been informed of Hisamitsu's travels and that is why they happened to cross paths.)

July 24, 1863 American warship bombards and destroys 2 Choshu warships and coastal batteries after being attacked in the Shimonoseki Straights between Honshu and Kyushu. This being the day that the Emperor had said all foreigners would be driven from the country, Choshu loyalists took it upon themselves to begin the process.

July 1863 Choshu loyalists attack (but fail to damage and sink) British, French, and Dutch ships passing through the Shimonoseki Straights. The French retaliate, even landing and destroying the costal batteries and one of the villages around them. However, Choshu manages to keep the Straits closed for more than a year.

July 1863 British warships go to Kagoshima to demand that Satsuma pay the required compensation for the assassination of C.L. Richardson outside of Edo in 1862. When Satsuma officials refuse, the British seize several steamers that Satsuma had recently purchased from traders in Nagasaki. Satsuma retaliates and the British attack and destroy Kagoshima. (After later negotiations in Edo, Satsuma agrees to pay the indemnities and the two sides become allies.)

Summer 1863 British legation in Edo attacked and burned down by Choshu loyalists.

August 1863 Choshu loyalists are driven out of the imperial court in Kyoto by supporters of the Bakufu - including Tokugawa, Aizu, Tosa, and Satsuma troops. Choshu and Tosa loyalists return to their respective han, and Choshu is branded as an Enemy of the Throne.

September 1863 Thinking they have regained the upper hand with the loyalists, the Bakufu tries to restate the sankin kotai system but the order is ignored by all Daimyo.

1864-1865 Genji Era.

Early 1864 The Shogun returns to Kyoto, conceding even more to the Emperor. Included this time is agreement that henceforth Daimyos succeeding to power in their han will receive investiture from the Emperor and not the Shogun. He also agreed to accept the Daimyo of Satsuma, Tosa, Echizen, and Aizu as 'advisors.'

July 1864 Tokugawa and Bakufu supporters attack and defeat Choshu loyalists as they attempt to retake power in Kyoto. Bakufu forces win, but not easily.

September, 1864 British, French, Dutch, and US ships attack and destroy Choshu batteries along the coast of the Shimonoseki Straits for their continued firing on western ships. This opens the Straits for the first time in over a year. (The foreigners had secret Bakufu support - the Bakufu loaned maps of the area to the French). Conservatives gain power in Choshu and, like Satsuma, signs a peace treaty with Britain.

November 1864 The Bakufu masses over 100,000 troops (financed by the French and led by Saigo Takamori of Satsuma) along the borders of Choshu in preparation for a final attack and defeat. Saigo convinces Choshu conservative leaders to accept Bakufu demands and when they capitulate the conflict is avoided. However, Choshu loyalists, angered at the capitulation, attack Choshu government offices in Shimonoseki.

1865-1868 Keio Era.

1865 A Catholic Church is reestablished in Nagasaki. In time about 20,000 Japanese who had been "hidden" Christians" come out and admit that they had secretly kept the faith.

February 1865 Choshu loyalists (led by Takatsuki Shinseki and Caesura Koori) retake control of Choshu han.

May 1865 The Shogun goes to Kyoto to organize another military expedition against Choshu Han.

Summer 1865 Satsuma leaders secretly assist Choshu to buy weapons from foreign arms traders in Nagasaki as Choshu prepares for the upcoming invasion by Tokugawa led forces.

  • Enter Tom Cruise as the representative of the arms dealers and so starts the plot of the movie "The Last Samurai."

September 1865 Nine foreign warships (5 British, 3 French, 1 Dutch) steam into Osaka harbor and demand that the Bakufu pay (by the end of 1866) compensation for Choshu attacks on their warships in Shimonoseki Straits. The Bakufu is told that the amount demanded will be reduced if the ports of Osaka and Kobe are opened to foreign traders and if the Bakufu obtains Imperial sanction of all previously signed commercial treaties.

October 1865 Imperial ratification is granted for all treaties with foreign powers and for opening the country to foreign trading, in particular the ports of Kobe and Osaka. (While the Emperor ratifies the agreement in public to appease foreign demands, he privately tells the Bakufu not to actually open the ports close to Kyoto.)

January 1866 Choshu and Satsuma enter into a secret agreement of mutual support - with Satsuma promising not to participate in the attack on Choshu that the Bakufu was in the process of planning. Satsuma also agrees to assist Choshu in buying weapons through foreign traders in Nagasaki. (The agreement is negotiated by Okubo Toshimichi and Saigo Takamori on the Satsuma side and Kido Koin on the Choshu side)

January 1866 The Bakufu convinces the Emperor to issue and edict calling for the Daimyo of Choshu to retire, for lands to be surrendered to the Bakufu, and for a reduction in income to the Daimyo. Choshu blatantly ignores the edict.

June 1866 A second Bakufu military expedition is launched against Choshu. But, with Satsuma not involved, and the modern arms Choshu had purchased from abroad, this time the Tokugawa forces are beaten easily.

15. Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1866 -1868) The Last Shogun

August 17, 1866 Iemochi dies in Osaka. Yoshinobu is urged by the Bakufu to become the next Shogun. He changes his name from Hitsubashi Keiki to Tokugawa and accepts the title of Head of the House of Tokugawa, but refuses to accept the position of Shogun.

1867 The government once again cracks down on the growing Christian movement and arrests many of its leading members.

January 1867 Yoshinobu succumbs to pressure and becomes the 15th, and last, Shogun. He accepts the post reluctantly, but once in office attempts to reform the Bakufu under French guidance. (Note that the British are supporting Choshu and Satsuma).

February 3, 1867 Death of Emperor Komei. Enthronement of Mastsuhito (Meiji) at age fifteen.

(This is a blessing to the loyalists. While Komei wanted to take power back from the Bakufu, he was an avid supporter of the Bakufu because he believed that only they could keep the foreigners out of the country. However, Matsuhito's guardian, and grandfather, supported the loyalist cause completely.)

May 1867 With continued demands from foreigners, the Bakufu convinces the Emperor to sanction the opening of the port of Kobe. In the meantime, Satsuma and Choshu begin the process of convincing the Emperor to issue two decrees: one pardoning Choshu and withdrawing an earlier decree branding them as enemies of the throne, and another calling for an army led by Satsuma and Choshu to overthrow the Bakufu.

June 1867 Yoshinobu goes to Nijo palace in Kyoto to meet with the Daimyos of Satsuma (Shimazu), Tosa (Yamanouchi), Echizen (Shungaku), and Uwajima (Date) to discuss the current political situation. The meeting immediately falls apart when Tosa leaves upon suspecting that Satsuma and Choshu are imminently close to declaring war on the Bakufu and attacking. (While Tosa is rapidly being pulled into the loyalist camp and is very near to officially and openly joining the Satsuma-Choshu alliance against the Bakufu, the Daimyo of Tosa still officially supports the Bakufu because Tokugawa had made his ancestors the Daimyo in Tosa.)

July 1867 Two British sailors are killed in Nagasaki and Tosa Samurai are suspected. Although tempers on all sides flare, a lengthy investigation later proves that it was a Samurai from Fukuoka. (This could have been important because it could have given the British a reason to attack Tosa, and this would have weakened them in the now looming battle with the Bakufu.)

September 1867 Satsuma begins amassing troops in and around Kyoto while Choshu, and other supporting Hans, begin the same in their own territories.

October 1867 Tosa representatives present a petition to the Bakufu. Under the political compromise (known as the Tosa Memorial), the Shogun's political authority will be returned to the Emperor while the head of the Tokugawa house (Yoshinobu) retains Tokugawa lands and continues to serve as Prime Minister.

November 8, 1867 Realizing that he has no alternative (Satsuma and Choshu have now obtained an imperial decree pardoning Choshu and calling for the ouster of the Tokugawa Bakufu), Yoshinobu, from his offices in Nijo palace in Kyoto, resigns as Shogun.

January 3, 1868 The Meiji Restoration Forces from Satsuma, Echizen, Owari, Tosa, & Aki do not accept the Tosa Memorial and seize the Nijo palace. The Emperor is induced to abolish the Shogunate and Tokugawa is reduced to the level of Daimyo. Administration of the country is returned to the Emperor with a provisional government formed by representatives of Satsuma, Tosa, Aki, Owari, and Echizen - but no Tokugawa. The provisional government consists of a Supreme Controller and Junior and Senior Councils of State.

End of the Shogun Dynasty

January 25, 1868 Yoshinobu accepts the Meiji Restoration and withdraws his troops to Osaka.

January 30, 1868 (The battle of Toba-Fushimi) Tokugawa forces attempt to retake Kyoto but are defeated by Satsuma, Choshu, & Tosa forces.

  • The ending battle scene in "The Last Samurai."

Northern Tokugawa forces hold out longer, and the Tokugawa navy holds out in Hokkaido until 1869, but this battle effectively ends Tokugawa rule

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