Fall of Edo
The Fall of Edo took place in May and July 1868, when the Japanese capital of Edo, controlled by the Tokugawa shogunate, fell to forces favorable to the restoration of Emperor Meiji during the Boshin War. Saigō Takamori, leading the victorious imperial forces north and east through Japan, had won the Battle of Kōshū-Katsunuma in the approaches to the capital, he was able to surround Edo in May 1868. Katsu Kaishū, the shōgun's Army Minister, negotiated the surrender, unconditional; some groups continued to resist after this formal surrender but were defeated in the Battle of Ueno in northeastern Tokyo, on 4 July 1868. The city was under control in July 1868. During that time, Tokugawa Yoshinobu had been under voluntary confinement at Kan'ei-ji temple. On 3 September 1868, the city was renamed Tokyo, the Meiji Emperor moved his capital to Tokyo, electing residence in Edo Castle, today's Imperial Palace. A small monument has been erected at the location of the surrender meeting between Saigō Takamori and Katsu Kaishū, at Minato-ku, Shiba 5-33-1, two minutes from Tamachi Station.
Jansen, Marius B.. The Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674003347. Meiji Japan: Political and Social History, 1868–1912. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415156189. Japan Goes to War: a Chronology of Japanese Military Expansion from the Meiji Era to the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Upland, Pennsylvania: Diane. OCLC 638765414
Battle of Utsunomiya Castle
The Battle of Utsunomiya Castle was a battle between pro-imperial and Tokugawa shogunate forces during the Boshin War in Japan in May 1868. It occurred as the troops of the Tokugawa shogunate were retreating north towards Aizu. In early spring 1868, former Tokugawa retainers under Ōtori Keisuke and Hijikata Toshizō left the shōgun's capital of Edo en masse and gathered at Kōnodai. There were small numbers of men of Aizu under Akizuki Noborinosuke and Kuwana troops under Tatsumi Naofumi present, as well as a handful of surviving shinsengumi, such as Shimada Kai. While many of their numbers were samurai, there were many members of other social classes present under Ōtori's direct command, their objective was Utsunomiya, a castle town on the road northward to Nikkō and Aizu, a position of vital strategic importance. The daimyō of Utsunomiya, Toda Tadatomo, was absent, as he had been charged by Tokugawa Yoshinobu with traveling to Kyoto and submitting a letter of apology and submission. Upon his arrival in Ōtsu, Toda was met by Satsuma–Chōshū forces and placed under confinement, as such a message reaching the ears of Emperor Meiji might have resulted in a premature pardon that would have complicated the alliance's anti-Tokugawa military objectives.
This left Utsunomiya in the hands of Tadatomo's retired predecessor, Toda Tadayuki, who advocated surrender, but was not involved in the efforts of the former Shogunate. In the days prior to the attack, the former Shogunate forces were moving in the area from castle to castle, with Hijikata taking two domains in Hitachi Province—Shimotsuma and Shimodate—on May 7 and May 8. However, as these domains were small and their daimyō had fled, they did not have much in terms of money or supplies, Hijikata was unable to acquire what he had hoped for. A peasant riot broke out in Utsunomiya, giving the former Shogunate forces the perfect opportunity to strike, which they seized without delay. Ōtori's forces launched their attack on the castle on the morning of May 10, 1868, facing off against the combined imperial force made up of troops from Matsumoto, Mibu, Susaka, Hikone, Ōgaki and Kasama. The castle fell the same day, with Toda Tadayuki escaping to Tatebayashi. Ōtori, leading the main element of the army, entered the castle.
His forces handed out the castle's supply of rice to the townsfolk who, as noted, had been rioting for the past several days. Efforts were made to strengthen the position of Ōtori's force. Ōtori's men, now linked up with Hijikata's force, including others such as former Shinsengumi member Nagakura Shinpachi's unit, headed north to Mibu, where they intended to hide and lie in wait. The Satsuma troops, shocked at the sudden appearance of the enemy, withdrew into Mibu Castle and mounted a defense. Despite their best efforts, this combined unit was not able to take Mibu Castle, withdrew to Utsunomiya after sustaining a total of 60 men killed and wounded, including eight officers. From the south, the imperial army, with Satsuma and Ōgaki forces leading the way, swept up in a northeastward direction over the Mibu-kaidō road on May 14, launching a counterattack which resulted in the re-capture of Utsunomiya Castle on the same day. Faced with defeat, Ōtori's forces withdrew northward, on to Aizu. While the Aizu domain advocated surrender and peaceful negotiation first and resistance second, the entrance of massive numbers of loyalists to the former Shogunate, following their retreat from Utsunomiya, forced its hand into the realm of armed resistance: "... soldiers of the Shogunate, who supported continued war, began decamping en masse and leaving Edo for Aizu, which necessitated Aizu's stance to be changed to one, pro-war.
Men such as senior councilor Saigō Tanomo and agriculture magistrate Kawahara Zenzaemon continued to push for allegiance and submission, they were not heard, the clouds of war spread over northeastern Japan..." In years, Ōtori wrote an account of the battle, titled "Nanka Kikō", which appeared in Kyū Bakufu, a magazine he helped edit and, devoted to documenting Bakumatsu history
Satsuma Domain Kagoshima Domain, was a Japanese domain of the Edo period. It is associated with the provinces of Satsuma, Ōsumi and Hyūga in modern-day Kagoshima Prefecture and Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū. In the han system, Satsuma was a political and economic abstraction based on periodic cadastral surveys and projected agricultural yields. In other words, the domain was defined in terms of kokudaka, not land area; this was different from the feudalism of the West. The domain was ruled from Kagoshima Castle, the core of what became the city of Kagoshima, its kokudaka was assessed at the second highest kokudaka after that of Kaga Domain. The Shimazu family controlled Satsuma province for four centuries prior to the beginning of the Edo period. Despite being chastised by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in his 1587 Kyūshū Campaign, forced back to Satsuma, they remained one of the most powerful clans in the archipelago. During the decisive battle of Sekigahara in 1600, the Shimazu fought on the losing side.
Satsuma was one of the most powerful feudal domains in Tokugawa Japan. It was controlled throughout the Edo period by the tozama daimyō of the Shimazu clan. Since the mid-15th century, Satsuma fought with the Ryukyu Kingdom for control of the Northern Ryukyu Islands, which lie southwest of Japan. In 1609, Shimazu Iehisa requested permission from the shogunate to invade Ryukyu. After a three-month war which met stiff resistance, Satsuma captured the Ryukyuan capital of Shuri and King Shō Nei. In the ensuing peace treaty, Satsuma annexed the Amami and Tokara Islands, demanded tribute, forced the King and his descendants to pledge loyalty to Satsuma's daimyō. For the remainder of the Edo period, Satsuma influenced their politics and dominated their trading policies to take advantage of Ryukyu's tributary status with China; as strict maritime prohibitions were imposed upon much of Japan beginning in the 1630s, Satsuma's ability to enjoy a trade in Chinese goods, information, via Ryukyu, provided it a distinct and important, if not unique, role in the overall economy and politics of the Tokugawa state.
The degree of economic benefits enjoyed by Satsuma, the degree of their influence in Ryukyu, are subjects debated by scholars, but the political prestige and influence gained through this relationship is not questioned. The Shimazu continually made efforts to emphasize their unique position as the only feudal domain to claim an entire foreign kingdom as its vassal, engineered repeated increases to their own official Court rank, in the name of maintaining their power and prestige in the eyes of Ryukyu. In 1871, Emperor Meiji abolished the Han system, the following year informed King Shō Tai that he was designated "Domain Head of Ryukyu Domain", transferring Satsuma's authority over the country to Tokyo. Though not the wealthiest han in terms of kokudaka, Satsuma remained among the wealthiest and most powerful domains throughout the Edo period; this derived not only from their connection to Ryukyu, but from the size and productive wealth of Satsuma province itself, from their extreme distance from Edo, thus from the shōgun's armies.
The Shimazu exercised their influence to exact from the shogunate a number of special exceptions. Satsuma was granted an exception to the shogunate's limit of one castle per domain, a policy, meant to restrict the military strength of the domains, they received special exceptions from the shogunate in regard to the policy of sankin-kōtai, another policy meant to restrict the wealth and power of the daimyō. Under this policy, every feudal lord was mandated to travel to Edo at least once a year, to spend some portion of the year there, away from his domain and his power base; the Shimazu were granted permission to make this journey only once every two years. These exceptions thus allowed Satsuma to gain more power and wealth relative to the majority of other domains. Though arguably opposed to the shogunate, Satsuma was one of the strictest domains in enforcing particular policies. Christian missionaries were seen as a serious threat to the power of the daimyō, the peace and order of the domain.
The ban on smuggling unsurprisingly, was not so enforced, as the domain gained from trade performed along its shores, some ways away from Nagasaki, where the shogunate monopolized commerce. In the 1830s, Satsuma used its illegal Okinawa trade to rebuild its finances under Zusho Hirosato; the Satsuma daimyō of the 1850s, Shimazu Nariakira, was interested in Western thought and technology, sought to open the country. At the time, contacts with Westerners increased particularly for Satsuma, as Western ships landed in the Ryukyus and sought not only trade, but formal diplomatic relations. To increase his influence in the shogunate, Nariakira engineered a marriage between Shōgun Tokugawa Iesada and his adopted daughter, Atsu-hime. In 1854, the first year of Iesada's reign, Commodore Perry landed in Japan and forced an end to the isolation policy of the shogunate. However, the treaties signed between Japan and the western powers the Harris Treaty of 1858, put Japan at a serious disadvantage. In the same year, both Iesada and Nariakira died.
Nariakira named Shimazu Tadayoshi, as his successor. As Tadayoshi was still a child, his father, Shimazu Hisamitsu
The Tokugawa Shogunate known as the Tokugawa Bakufu and the Edo Bakufu, was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867. The head of government was the shōgun, each was a member of the Tokugawa clan; the Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is called the Tokugawa period or pre-modern. Following the Sengoku period, the central government had been re-established by Oda Nobunaga during the Azuchi–Momoyama period. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Society in the Tokugawa period, unlike in previous shogunates, was based on the strict class hierarchy established by Toyotomi Hideyoshi; the daimyō were at the top, followed by the warrior-caste of samurai, with the farmers and traders ranking below. In some parts of the country smaller regions, daimyō and samurai were more or less identical, since daimyō might be trained as samurai, samurai might act as local rulers.
Otherwise, the inflexible nature of this social stratification system unleashed disruptive forces over time. Taxes on the peasantry were set at fixed amounts that did not account for inflation or other changes in monetary value; as a result, the tax revenues collected by the samurai landowners were worth less and less over time. This led to numerous confrontations between noble but impoverished samurai and well-to-do peasants, ranging from simple local disturbances to much larger rebellions. None, proved compelling enough to challenge the established order until the arrival of foreign powers. A 2017 study found that peasant rebellions and collective desertion lowered tax rates and inhibited state growth in the Tokugawa shogunate. In the mid-19th century, an alliance of several of the more powerful daimyō, along with the titular Emperor, succeeded in overthrowing the shogunate after the Boshin War, culminating in the Meiji Restoration; the Tokugawa shogunate came to an official end in 1868 with the resignation of the 15th Tokugawa shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, leading to the "restoration" of imperial rule.
Notwithstanding its eventual overthrow in favor of the more modernized, less feudal form of governance of the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa shogunate oversaw the longest period of peace and stability in Japan's history, lasting well over 260 years. The bakuhan taisei was the feudal political system in the Edo period of Japan. Baku is an abbreviation of bakufu, meaning "military government"—that is, the shogunate; the han were the domains headed by daimyō. Vassals provided military service and homage to their lords; the bakuhan taisei split feudal power between the shogunate in Edo and provincial domains throughout Japan. Provinces had a degree of sovereignty and were allowed an independent administration of the han in exchange for loyalty to the shōgun, responsible for foreign relations and national security; the shōgun and lords were all daimyōs: feudal lords with their own bureaucracies and territories. The shōgun administered the most powerful han, the hereditary fief of the House of Tokugawa.
Each level of government administered its own system of taxation. The emperor, nominally a religious leader, held no real power; the shogunate had the power to discard and transform domains. The sankin-kōtai system of alternative residence required each daimyō to reside in alternate years between the han and the court in Edo. During their absences from Edo, it was required that they leave family as hostages until their return; the huge expenditure sankin-kōtai imposed on each han helped centralize aristocratic alliances and ensured loyalty to the shōgun as each representative doubled as a potential hostage. Tokugawa's descendants further ensured loyalty by maintaining a dogmatic insistence on loyalty to the shōgun. Fudai daimyō were hereditary vassals of Ieyasu, as well as of his descendants. Tozama became vassals of Ieyasu after the Battle of Sekigahara. Shinpan were collaterals of Tokugawa Hidetada. Early in the Edo period, the shogunate viewed the tozama as the least to be loyal. In the end, it was the great tozama of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa, to a lesser extent Hizen, that brought down the shogunate.
These four states are called Satchotohi for short. The number of han fluctuated throughout the Edo period, they were ranked by size, measured as the number of koku of rice that the domain produced each year. One koku was the amount of rice necessary to feed one adult male for one year; the minimum number for a daimyō was ten thousand koku. Regardless of the political title of the Emperor, the shōguns of the Tokugawa family controlled Japan; the administration of Japan was a task given by the Imperial Court in Kyoto to the Tokugawa family, which returned to the court in the Meiji Restoration. While the Emperor had the prerogative of appointing the shōgun, he had no say in state affairs; the shogunate appointed a liaison, the Kyoto Shoshidai, to deal with the Emperor and nobility. Towards the end of the shogunate, after centuries of the Emperor having little say in state affairs and being secluded in his Kyoto palace, in the wake of the reigning shōgun, Tokugawa Iemochi, marrying the sister of Emperor Kōmei, in 1862, the Imperial Court in Kyoto
Battle of Miyako Bay
The Battle of Miyako Bay was a naval action on 6 May 1869. It was part of the overall Battle of Hakodate at the end of the Boshin War, a civil war in Japan between Imperial forces of the new Meiji government, samurai loyalists to the former Tokugawa shogunate; the military forces loyal to the former Tokugawa shogunate were defeated by the Satchō Alliance at the Battle of Ueno and Battle of Aizu. With the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei in tatters, rather than surrender, a portion of the Tokugawa navy led by Admiral Enomoto Takeaki fled to the northern island of Hokkaidō, together with several thousand soldiers and a handful of French military advisors and established the Republic of Ezo; the new Imperial Japanese Navy departed Tokyo on 9 March 1869, reached Miyako Bay in what is now the city of Miyako in central Iwate Prefecture, on 20 March. The imperial fleet had been constituted around the French-built ironclad warship Kōtetsu, purchased from the United States. Other ships included Kasuga, ’’Hiryū, Teibō, Yōshun, Mōshun, supplied by the domains of Saga, Chōshū and Satsuma to the new central government in 1868.
There were altogether eight Imperial ships: Kōtetsu, three small corvettes and three transport ships. Future commander in chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Tōgō Heihachirō was an officer on Kasuga during this battle Anticipating the arrival of the Imperial fleet, the rebels organized a plan to seize the revolutionary new warship Kōtetsu, dispatched three warships for a surprise attack: Kaiten under the command of Arai Ikunosuke, with the elite Shinsengumi, their leader Hijikata Toshizō, as well as the former French Navy military advisor Henri Nicol. Nicol had been selected for the attack since he was a native of Bordeaux, knew the characteristics and construction of the revolutionary warship Kōtetsu, built in the same city. Banryū, with the elite Yūgekitai and former French Navy quartermaster Clateau, in charge of cannonry. Takao under command of ex-French Navy officer Eugène Collache, with the elite Shinkitai; the Ezo fleet encountered bad weather, in which Takao suffered from engine trouble, Banryū became separated.
Banryū returned to Hokkaidō, without joining the battle. To create surprise, Kaiten planned to enter Miyako harbor under an American flag. Unable to achieve more than 3 knots due to engine trouble, Takao trailed behind, Kaiten first joined battle. Kaiten approached the enemy ships and raised the Republic of Ezo flag seconds before boarding Kōtetsu, she rammed her prow into the side of Kōtetsu, started firing her guns. Her deck however proved higher than that of Kōtetsu by close to three meters, forcing the samurai to jump one by one in a trickle. After the first surprise passed, Kōtetsu managed to repel the attack with a Gatling gun, causing huge losses to the attackers. Most of the attacking samurai perished. In the action, Kaiten damaged three enemy warships, but disengaged without having captured Kōtetsu. Kaiten steamed out of Miyako Bay pursued by the Imperial fleet. Kaiten escaped to Hokkaidō, but Takao was too slow to outdistance its pursuers and was beached at little distance from Miyako Bay, so that her crew could escape inland, was scuttled by explosion.
The 40 crewmen managed to flee for a few days, but surrendered to government forces. They were brought to Tokyo for trial. Although the fate of the Japanese rebels is unknown, Collache was pardoned and deported back to France; the Naval Battle of Miyako was a daring but desperate attempt by the Republic of Ezo forces to neutralize the powerful Kōtetsu. It was the first case of an abordage maneuver on an ironclad steamship in Japan. Although the attempt ended in failure, the loss of the Takao was marginal; the Imperial Navy continued north unimpeded, supported landing and combat operations of thousands of government troops in the Battle of Hakodate. Collache, Eugène. "Une aventure au Japon" Le No. 77, 1874 Evans, David. Kaigun: Strategy and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887–1941. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7. Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-511060-9
Battle of Aizu
The Battle of Aizu was fought in northern Japan from October to November in autumn 1868, was part of the Boshin War. Aizu was known for its martial skill, maintained at any given time a standing army of over 5000, it was deployed to security operations on the northern fringes of the country, as far north as southern Sakhalin. In the period before and after Commodore Perry's arrival, Aizu had a presence in security operations around Edo Bay. During the tenure of the 9th generation lord Matsudaira Katamori, the domain deployed massive amounts of their troops to Kyoto, where Katamori served as Kyoto Shugoshoku. Earning the hatred of the Chōshū domain, alienating his ally, the Satsuma domain, Katamori retreated with the shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu in 1868. Though the Satsuma-Chōshū controlled Imperial Court, following Yoshinobu's resignation, called for the punishment of Katamori and Aizu as "enemies of the Court," he took great pains to demonstrate Aizu's submission to the new Imperialist government acquiescing to calls for war in 1868, during the Boshin War.
Though the Aizu forces fought as part of the greater efforts of the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei, they were abandoned by the forces of the former Bakufu under Ōtori Keisuke. Aizu, now fighting alone, had its forces besieged at Tsuruga Castle, the seat of the Aizu domain, in October 6, 1868; this was the start of a month-long siege. A detached unit from the Byakkotai — young, predominantly teenage, samurai — are famous for having committed seppuku on Mount Iimori, overlooking the castle; because of the smoke from the burning castle town, in between them and the castle itself, they mistakenly assumed that the castle had fallen to the Satsuma-Chōshū-Tosa forces. Their story is known because of the only one among them whose suicide was unsuccessful: Iinuma Sadakichi. A remnant of Shinsengumi, a special police force which Aizu had supervised while in Kyoto, was present at the battle, under the command of Saitō Hajime. After a month of siege, in November 6, 1868, Aizu officials agreed to surrender, through the mediation of their neighbor, the Yonezawa Domain.
Soon after, Matsudaira Katamori, his son Nobunori, the senior retainers came before the imperial commanders in person, offered their unconditional surrender. The samurai population was sent away to prisoner of war camps in the Tsugaru Peninsula, the Aizu domain, as it had been since the mid-17th century, ceased to exist. Noguchi Shinichi, Aizu-han. Tokyo: Gendai Shokan, 2005. Byakkotai.net