The Meiji oligarchy was the new ruling class of Meiji period Japan. In Japanese, the Meiji oligarchy is called the domain clique; the members of this class were adherents of kokugaku and believed they were the creators of a new order as grand as that established by Japan's original founders. Two of the major figures of this group were Ōkubo Toshimichi, son of a Satsuma retainer, Satsuma samurai Saigō Takamori, who had joined forces with Chōshū, Hizen to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate. Okubo Saigō a field marshal. Kido Koin, a native of Chōshū, student of Yoshida Shōin, conspirator with Ōkubo and Saigō, became minister of education and chairman of the Governors' Conference and pushed for constitutional government. Prominent were Iwakura Tomomi, a Kyoto native who had opposed the Tokugawa and was to become the first ambassador to the United States, Ōkuma Shigenobu, of Hizen, a student of Rangaku and English, who held various ministerial portfolios becoming prime minister in 1898. To accomplish the new order's goals, the Meiji oligarchy set out to abolish the four divisions of society through a series of economic and social reforms.
Tokugawa shogunate revenues had depended on taxes on Tokugawa and other daimyo lands, loans from wealthy peasants and urban merchants, limited customs fees, reluctantly accepted foreign loans. To provide revenue and develop a sound infrastructure, the new government financed harbor improvements, machinery imports, overseas study for students, salaries for foreign teachers and advisers, modernization of the army and navy and telegraph networks, foreign diplomatic missions, such as the Iwakura mission. Difficult economic times, manifested by increasing incidents of agrarian rioting, led to calls for social reforms. In addition to the old high rents and interest rates, the average citizen was faced with cash payments for new taxes, military conscription, tuition charges for the newly introduced compulsory education; the people needed more time for productive pursuits while correcting social abuses of the past. To achieve these reforms, the old Tokugawa class system of samurai, farmer and merchant was abolished by 1871, though old prejudices and status consciousness continued, all were theoretically equal before the law.
Helping to perpetuate social distinctions, the government named new social divisions: the former daimyō became peerage nobility, the samurai became gentry, all others became commoners. Daimyō and samurai pensions were paid off in lump sums, the samurai lost their exclusive claim to military positions. Former samurai found new pursuits as bureaucrats, army officers, police officials, scholars, colonists in the northern parts of Japan and businessmen; these occupations helped stem some of the discontent. The 1873 Korean crisis resulted in the resignation of military expedition proponents Saigō and Councillor of State Etō Shimpei. Etō, the founder of various patriotic organizations, conspired with other discontented elements to start an armed insurrection against government troops in Saga, the capital of his native prefecture in Kyūshū in 1874. Charged with suppressing the revolt, Ōkubo swiftly crushed Etō, who had appealed unsuccessfully to Saigō for help. Three years the last major armed uprising—but the most serious challenge to the Meiji government—took shape in the Satsuma Rebellion, this time with Saigō playing an active role.
The Saga Rebellion and other agrarian and samurai uprisings mounted in protest to the Meiji reforms had been put down by the army. Satsuma's former samurai were numerous and they had a long tradition of opposition to central authority. Saigō, with some reluctance and only after more widespread dissatisfaction with the Meiji reforms, raised a rebellion in 1877. Both sides fought well, but the modern weaponry and better financing of the government forces ended the Satsuma Rebellion. Although he was defeated and committed suicide, Saigō was not branded a traitor and became a heroic figure in Japanese history; the suppression of the Satsuma Rebellion marked the end of serious threats to the Meiji regime but was sobering to the oligarchy. The fight drained the national treasury, led to serious inflation, forced land values—and badly needed taxes—down. Most important, calls for reform were renewed; the following were leading figures in the Meiji Restoration, when and in the subsequent Government of Meiji Japan: From the Court nobility: Iwakura Tomomi Saionji Kinmochi Sanjō Sanetomi From Satsuma Domain: Godai Tomoatsu Kuroda Kiyotaka Matsukata Masayoshi Mori Arinori Ōkubo Toshimichi Oyama Iwao Saigō Takamori Saigō Tsugumichi Terashima Munenori From Chōshū Domain: Inoue Kaoru Itō Hirobumi Kido Takayoshi Ōmura Masujirō Takasugi Shinsaku Yamagata Aritomo From Tosa Domain: Gotō Shōjirō Itagaki Taisuke Sakamoto Ryōma From Hizen Domain: Etō Shimpei Oki Takato Ōkuma Shigenobu Soejima Taneomi Others: Hayashi Tadasu Inoue Kowashi 1844-1905) Katsu Kaishū Yokoi Shonan Yuri Kimimasa Genrō Government of Meiji Japan Meiji Restoration Japan: Country Studies - Federal Research Division, Library of Congress This arti
Mitsui Group is one of the largest keiretsu in Japan and one of the largest corporate groups in the world. The major companies of the group include Co.. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sapporo Breweries, Toray Industries, Mitsui Chemicals, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Mitsui O. S. K. Lines and Mitsui Fudosan. Founded by Mitsui Takatoshi, the fourth son of a shopkeeper in Matsusaka, in what is now today's Mie prefecture. From his shop, called Echigoya, Mitsui Takatoshi's father sold miso and ran a pawn shop business; the family would open a second shop in Edo. Takatoshi moved to Edo when he was 14 years old, his older brother joined him. Sent back to Matsutaka by his brother, Takatoshi waited for 24 years until his older brother died before he could take over the family shop, Echigoya, he opened a new branch in 1673. This genesis of Mitsui's business history began in the Enpō era, a nengō meaning "Prolonged Wealth". In time, the gofukuya division separated from Mitsui, is now called Mitsukoshi.
Traditionally, gofukuyas provided. The system of accountancy was called "margin transaction". Mitsui changed this by producing products first selling them directly at his shop for cash. At the time, this was an unfamiliar mode of operation in Japan; as the shop began providing dry goods to the government of the city of Edo, cash sales were not yet a widespread business practice. At about this time, Edo's government had struck a business deal with Osaka. Osaka would sell other material to pay its land tax; the money was sent to Edo—but moving money was dangerous in middle feudal Japan. In 1683 the shogunate granted permission for money exchanges to be established in Edo; the Mitsui "exchange shops" mitigated that known risk. After the Meiji Restoration, Mitsui was among the enterprises that were able to expand to become zaibatsu not because they were big and rich at the start of modern industrial development. Firms like Mitsui and Sumitomo were led by non-family managers such as Minomura Rizaemon, who guided the business by forecasting the coming political and economic situations, by acquaintance with high-ranking government officials or politicians, bold investment.
Mitsui's main business in the early period were drapery and trade, the first two being the businesses it inherited from the Tokugawa Era. It entered into mining because it acquired a mine as collateral from the loan it had made, because it could buy a mine cheaply from the government, Mitsui diversified to become the biggest business in pre-war Japan; the diversification was made into related fields to take advantage of accumulated capabilities. On July 1, 1876, Mitsui Bank, Japan's first private bank, was founded with Takashi Masuda as its president. Mitsui Bank, which following a merger with Taiyō-Kobe Bank in the mid 1980s became part of Sakura Bank, survives as part of the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. During the early 20th century, Mitsui was one of the largest zaibatsu, operating in numerous fields. Mitsui Bank became the holding company of the Mitsui zaibatsu from 1876, it was joined as an ultimate parent company by Mitsui & Co. and Mitsui Mining in 1900, with various industrial concerns owned by various combinations of these companies and their subsidiaries.
Mitsui invested in maritime transportation to support its trading activities as well as invest in passenger transportation, first with the creation in 1878 of Osaka Shosen Kaisha, merged with Mitsui Steamship in 1964, to become Mitsui OSK Lines, today one of the largest ocean shipping groups in the world. When the United Kingdom withdrew from the gold standard in 1931, during the height of the Great Depression, Mitsui Bank and Mitsui & Co. were found to have speculated around the transaction. This raised a political furor in Japan and resulted in the assassination of Mitsui executive Takuma Dan; as part of the Japanese plans for the exploitation of China, during the 1930s and'40s the subsidiary tobacco industry of Mitsui had started production of special "Golden Bat" cigarettes using the then-popular in the Far East trademark. Their circulation was used only for export. Local Japanese secret service under the controversial Imperial Japanese Army General Kenji Doihara had the control of their distribution in China and Manchuria where the production exported.
Within the mouthpiece were small discreet doses of opium or heroin, millions of unsuspecting consumers became addicted to these narcotics, while huge profits were created for the company. The mastermind of the plan, was prosecuted and convicted for war crimes before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, sentenced to death. According to testimony presented at the Tokyo War Crimes trials in 1948, the revenue from the narcotization policy in China, including Manchukuo, was estimated in 20 million to 30 million yen per year, while another authority stated that the annual revenue was estimated by the Japanese military at US$300 million a year. During the Second World War, Mitsui employed American prisoners of war as slave laborers, some
Swordsmanship or sword fighting refers to the skills of a swordsman, a person versed in the art of the sword. The term is modern, as such was used to refer to smallsword fencing, but by extension it can be applied to any martial art involving the use of a sword; the formation of the English word "swordsman" is parallel to the Latin word gladiator, a term for the professional fighters who fought against each other and a variety of other foes for the entertainment of spectators in the Roman Empire. The word gladiator itself comes from the Latin word gladius, meaning "sword"; the sword in ancient Egypt was known by several names, but most are variations of the words sfet, seft or nakhtui. The earliest bronze swords in the country date back 4000 years. Four types of sword are known to have been used: the ma or boomerang-sword based on the hunting stick, the kat or knife-sword, the khopesh or falchion based on the sickle, a fourth form of straight longsword; the khopesh is depicted as early as the Sixth Dynasty.
It was thick-backed and weighted with bronze, sometimes with gold hilts in the case of pharaohs. The blade may be edged on one or both sides, was made from copper alloy, iron, or blue steel; the double-edge grip-tongue sword is believed to have been introduced by the Sherden and became dispersed throughout the Near East. These swords are of various lengths, were paired with shields, they had a leaf-shaped blade, a handle which hollows away at the centre and thickens at each end. Middle Eastern swords became dominant throughout North Africa after the introduction of Islam, after which point swordsmanship in the region becomes that of Arabian or Middle Eastern fencing; the process of both iron smelting and forging was introduced to Sub-Saharan Africa from the north, thus many African swords were of Egyptian derivation. Among some communities, swords were restricted to tribal leaders. Forms vary from one area to another, such as the billao of Somalia, boomerang-sword in Niger or the single-edge swords of the Gold Coast.
The Abyssinian shotel took the form of a large sickle, like the Egyptian khopesh, with a small 4 inch wooden handle. The edge was on the inside of the blade. Double-edge swords similar to those of Europe and ancient Arabia occurred in some areas such as the takoba and kaskara. Two types of sword existed in Zanzibar: the foot-long shortsword and the standard sword with a blade measuring 3–3.5 feet and a cylindrical pommel. The latter weapon was wielded with both hands like a quarterstaff. Greece provides the foundation for the widespread use of the sword as a weapon in its own right in the West; the Roman legionaries and other forces of the Roman military, until the 2nd century A. D. used the gladius as a short thrusting sword with the scutum, a type of shield, in battle. Gladiators used a shorter gladius than the military; the spatha was a longer double-edged sword used only by Celtic soldiers incorporated as auxilia into Roman Cavalry units. D. the spatha was used throughout much of the Roman Empire.
The Empire's legionary soldiers were trained and prided themselves on their disciplinary skills. This carried over to their training with weaponry, but we have no Roman manuals of swordsmanship. One translation of Juvenal's poetry by Barten Holyday in 1661 makes note that the Roman trainees learned to fight with the wooden wasters before moving on to the use of sharpened steel. In fact, it is found that Roman gladiators trained with a wooden sword, weighted with lead, against a straw man or a wooden pole known as a palus; this training would have provided the Roman soldier with a good foundation of skill, to be improved upon from practical experience or further advanced training. Little is known about early medieval fencing techniques save for what may be concluded from archaeological evidence and artistic depiction. What little has been found, shows the use of the sword was limited during the Viking age among the Vikings themselves and other northern Germanic tribes. Here, the spear and shield were prominent weapons, with only wealthy individuals owning swords.
These weapons, based on the early Germanic spatha, were made well. The technique of pattern welding of composite metals, invented in the Roman Empire around the end of the 2nd century A. D. provided some of these northern weapons superior properties in strength and resilience to the iron gladius of early Rome. As time passed, the spatha evolved into the arming sword, a weapon with a notable cruciform hilt common among knights in the Medieval Age; some time after this evolution, the earliest known treatises were written, dealing with arming sword and buckler combat. Among these examples is the I.33, the earliest known Fechtbuch. The German school of swordsmanship can trace itself most to Johannes Liechtenauer and his students, who became the German masters of the 15th century, including Sigmund Ringeck, Hans Talhoffer, Peter von Danzig and Paulus Kal, it is possible that the Italian fencing treatise Flos Duellatorum, written by the Italian swordmaster Fiore dei Liberi around 1410, has ties to the German school.
During this period of time, the longsword grew out of the arming sword resulting in a blade comfortably wielded in both hands at once. Armour technology evolved, leading to the advent of plate armour, thus swordsmanship was further pressed to meet the demands of killing a well protected enemy. For much of the early medieval period, the sword continued to remain a symbol of status. During years, pro
Zaibatsu is a Japanese term referring to industrial and financial business conglomerates in the Empire of Japan, whose influence and size allowed control over significant parts of the Japanese economy from the Meiji period until the end of World War II. They were succeeded by the Keiretsu in the second half of the 20th century; the term "zaibatsu" was coined in 19th century Japan from the Sino-Japanese roots zai 財 and batsu 閥. Although zaibatsu themselves existed from the 19th century, the term was not in common use until after World War I. By definition, the zaibatsu were large family-controlled vertical monopolies consisting of a holding company on top, with a wholly owned banking subsidiary providing finance, several industrial subsidiaries dominating specific sectors of a market, either or through a number of subsidiary companies; the zaibatsu were the heart of economic and industrial activity within the Empire of Japan, held great influence over Japanese national and foreign policies. The Rikken Seiyūkai political party was regarded as an extension of the Mitsui group, which had strong connections with the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Rikken Minseitō was connected to the Mitsubishi group, as was the Imperial Japanese Navy. By the start of World War II, the Big Four zaibatsu alone had direct control over more than 30% of Japan's mining and metals industries and 50% control of the machinery and equipment market, a significant part of the foreign commercial merchant fleet and 70% of the commercial stock exchange; the zaibatsu were viewed with suspicion by both the right and left of the political spectrum in the 1920s and 1930s. Although the world was in the throes of a worldwide economic depression, the zaibatsu were prospering through currency speculation, maintenance of low labour costs and on military procurement. Matters came to a head in the League of Blood Incident of March 1932, with the assassination of the managing director of Mitsui, after which the zaibatsu attempted to improve on their public image through increased charity work; the "Big Four" zaibatsu of, in chronological order of founding, Mitsui and Yasuda are the most significant zaibatsu groups.
Two of them and Mitsui, have roots in the Edo period while Mitsubishi and Yasuda trace their origins to the Meiji Restoration. Throughout Meiji to Shōwa, the government employed their financial powers and expertise for various endeavors, including tax collection, military procurement and foreign trade. Beyond the Big Four, consensus is lacking as to which companies can be called zaibatsu, which cannot. After the Russo-Japanese War, a number of so-called "second-tier" zaibatsu emerged as the result of business conglomerations and/or the award of lucrative military contracts; some more famous second-tier zaibatsu included the Okura and Nakajima groups, among several others. The early zaibatsu permitted some public shareholding of some subsidiary companies, but never of the top holding company or key subsidiaries; the monopolistic business practices by the zaibatsu resulted in a closed circle of companies until Japanese industrial expansion on the Asian mainland began in the 1930s, which allowed for the rise of a number of new groups, including Nissan.
These new zaibatsu differed from the traditional zaibatsu only in that they were not controlled by specific families, not in terms of business practices. The zaibatsu had been viewed with some ambivalence by the Japanese military, which nationalized a significant portion of their production capability during World War II. Remaining assets were highly damaged by the destruction during the war. Under the Allied occupation after the surrender of Japan, a successful attempt was made to dissolve the zaibatsu. Many of the economic advisors accompanying the SCAP administration had experience with the New Deal program under the American President and were suspicious of monopolies and restrictive business practices, which they felt to be both inefficient, to be a form of corporatocracy. During the occupation of Japan, sixteen zaibatsu were targeted for complete dissolution, twenty-six more for reorganization after dissolution. Among the zaibatsu that were targeted for dissolution in 1947 were Asano, Nakajima, Nissan and Okura.
In addition, Yasuda dissolved itself in 1946. The controlling families' assets were seized, holding companies eliminated, interlocking directorships, essential to the old system of inter-company coordination, were outlawed. Matsushita, while not a zaibatsu, was also targeted for breakup, but was saved by a petition signed by 15,000 of its union workers and their families. However, complete dissolution of the zaibatsu was never achieved because the U. S. government rescinded the orders in an effort to reindustrialize Japan as a bulwark against communism in Asia. Zaibatsu as a whole were considered to be beneficial to the Japanese economy and government, the opinions of the Japanese public, of the zaibatsu workers and management, of the entrenched bureaucracy regarding plans for zaibatsu dissolution ranged from unenthusiastic to disapproving. Additionally, the changing politics of the occupation during the reverse course served as a crippling, if not terminal, roadblock to zaibatsu elimination.
Today, the influence of the zaibatsu can still be seen in the form of financial groups and larger companies whose origins reach back to the original zaibatsu sharing the sa
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
Takasugi Shinsaku was a samurai from the Chōshū Domain of Japan who contributed to the Meiji Restoration. He used several alias to hide his activities from the Tokugawa shogunate. Takasugi Shinsaku was born in the castle town Hagi, the capital of the Chōshū Domain as the first son of Takasugi Kochuta, a middle-ranked samurai of the domain and his mother Michi, he would have three younger sisters by the name of Tomo and Mei. He had smallpox at the age of ten, but he had recovered from it. Takasugi joined the famous private school of Yoshida Shōin. Takasugi devoted himself to the modernization of Chōshū's military, became a favorite student of Yoshida. In 1858, he entered the Shōheikō; when his teacher was arrested during the Ansei Purge in 1859, Takasugi visited him in jail. Shōin was executed in 21 November 1859. In December 1859 he returned home by the clan's command. In January 1860, Takasugi married Inoue Masa, the second daughter of Yamaguchi retainer and magistrate Inoue Heiemon, the friend of his father.
Masa was said to be the most beautiful lady in Nagato provinces. Their marriage was arranged by his parents, with hope that he would take his mind off of his teacher's death in 1859 and to settle down with his new bride. However, in April 1861, Takasugi would left his home and undertook naval training on the clan's warship Heishinmaru, travelled to Edo. In September he went to study at the Tōhoku region, there he was associated with Sakuma Shōzan and Yokoi Shōnan. Takasugi, in spite of his young age, was an influential factor within Chōshū as one of the most extreme advocates of a policy of seclusion and expelling the foreigners from Japan. Takasugi was implicated in the 12 December 1862 attack on the British legation in Edo. In spite of Japan's policy of national isolation in the Edo period, in 1862 Takasugi was ordered by the domain to go secretly to Shanghai in China to investigate the state of affairs and the strength of the Western powers. Takasugi's visit coincided with the Taiping Rebellion, he was shocked by the effects of European imperialism on the Chinese Empire.
Takasugi returned to Japan convinced that Japan must strengthen itself to avoid being colonized by the western powers, or to suffer a similar fate as China. This coincided with the growing Sonnō Jōi movement, which attracted certain radical sections of Japan's warrior class and court nobility, Takasugi's ideas found ready support in Chōshū and other parts of Japan. Takasugi originated the revolutionary idea of auxiliary irregular militia. Under the feudal system, only the samurai class was allowed to own weapons. Takasugi promoted the recruitment of commoners into socially-mixed paramilitary units. In these units, neither recruitment nor promotion depended, on social status. Farmers, merchants and sumo-wrestlers and Buddhist priests were enlisted, although samurai still formed the majority in most of the Shotai. Takasugi saw that utilization of the financial wealth of the middle-class merchants and farmers could increase the military strength of the domain, without weakening its finances. Since the leaders of Chōshū were unable - and unwilling - to change the social structure of the domain, limited use of peasants and commoners enabled them to form a new type of military without disturbing the traditional society.
In 1863, Takasugi himself founded a special Shotai unit under his direct command called the Kiheitai, which consisted of 300 soldiers. However, due to his propagation of Sonnō Jōi ideology, Takasugi was imprisoned by the domain's authorities, after an anti-Chōshū coup in Kyoto in the summer of 1863 threatened to jeopardize Chōshū's leading role in national politics. However, Chōshū soon had no choice. After Chōshū fired upon Western warships in the Straits of Shimonoseki on 25 June 1863, French and American naval forces bombarded Shimonoseki, the main port of the Chōshū domain the following summer in what was called the Bombardment of Shimonoseki; this was followed by the landing of French marines. Their fighting against Chōshū units demonstrated the inferiority of traditional Japanese troops against a Western army, convinced the leaders of the domain of the absolute necessity for a thorough military reform; the Chōshū domain's administration called on Takasugi not only to carry out this reform as ‘Director of Military Affairs’, but he - only 25 years of age - was entrusted with negotiating peace with the four Western powers.
In view of the humiliation of Chōshū forces against the Western powers, Takasugi had come to the realization that direct confrontation with the foreigners was not an option. Instead, Japan had to learn military tactics and technologies from the West. Takasugi reorganized his Kiheitai militia into a rifle-unit with the latest modern rifles, introduced training in Western strategy and tactics. Moreover, Takasugi used his influence with the Sonnô Jôi-movement to promote a more a conciliatory policy towards the West and thus, the ‘movement to expel the barbarians and revere the Emperor’ evolved into an anti-Bakufu movement with the overthrow of the Tokugawa Bakufu as a necessary means to strengthen Japan against the foreigners. Weakened by the punitive attack by the Western powers, Chōshū was unable to withstand an expedition mounted by the Bakufu in autumn 1864 in retaliation for previous Chōshū attempts to seize control of Kyoto. At first, conservative forces, which favored conciliation with the Bakufu in ord
Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876
The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876 known as the Japan-Korea Treaty of Amity in Japanese or Treaty of Ganghwa Island in Korean, was made between representatives of the Empire of Japan and the Korean Kingdom of Joseon in 1876. Negotiations were concluded on February 26, 1876. In January 1864, King Cheoljong died without an heir and Gojong ascended the throne at the age of 12. However, King Gojong was too young and the new king's father, Yi Ha-ŭng, became the Daewongun or lord of the great court, ruled Korea in his son's name; the term Daewongun referred to any person, not the king but whose son took the throne. The Daewongun initiated reforms to strengthen the monarchy at the expense of the yangban class. Before the nineteenth century, the Koreans had only maintained diplomatic relations with its suzerain China and with neighboring Japan. Foreign trade was limited to China conducted at designated locations along the Korean-Manchurian border, with Japan through the Waegwan in Pusan. By the mid-nineteenth century Westerners had come to refer to Korea as the Hermit Kingdom.
The Daewongun was determined to continue Korea's traditional isolationist policy and to purge the kingdom of any foreign ideas that had infiltrated into the nation. The disastrous events occurring in China, including the First and Second Opium wars, reinforced his determination to separate Korea from the rest of the world. From the early to mid-nineteenth century Western vessels began to make frequent appearances in Korean waters, surveying sea routes and seeking trade; the Korean government was wary and referred to these vessels as strange-looking ships. Several incidents took place. In June 1832, a ship from the British India Company, the Lord Amherst, appeared off the coast of Hwanghae Province seeking trade but was refused. In June 1845 another British warship, surveyed the coast of Cheju-do and Chŏlla province; the following month the Korean government filed a protest with British authorities in Guangzhou through the Chinese government. In June 1846, three French warships dropped anchor off the coast of Chungcheong Province and conveyed a letter protesting persecution of Catholics in the country.
In April 1854, two armed Russian vessels sailed along the eastern coast of Hamgyong Province, causing some deaths and injuries among the Koreans they encountered. This Prompted the Korean government to issue a ban forbidding the people of the province from having any contact with foreign vessels. In January and July 1866, ships manned by the German adventurer Ernst J. Oppert appeared off the coast of Chungcheong Province, seeking trade. In August 1866, an American merchant ship, the General Sherman, appeared off the coast of Pyongan Province, steaming along the Taedong River to the provincial capital of Pyongyang, asked permission to trade. Local officials demanded the ship's departure. A Korean official was taken hostage aboard the vessel and its crew members fired guns at enraged Korean officials and civilians onshore; the crew landed ashore and plundered the town in the process killing seven Koreans. The governor of the province Pak Kyu-su ordered his forces to destroy the ship. In the event the General Sherman ran aground on a sandbar and Korean forces burned the ship and killed the ship's entire crew of 23.
In 1866 after the execution of several of its Catholic missionaries and Korean Catholics, the French launched a punitive expedition against Korea. Five years in 1871, the Americans launched an expedition to Korea. Despite this, the Koreans continued to adhere to isolationism and refused to negotiate to open up the country. During the Edo period, Japan's relations and trade with Korea were conducted through intermediaries with the Sō family in Tsushima. A Japanese outpost called; the traders were confined to the outpost and no Japanese were allowed to travel to the Korean capital at Seoul. During the aftermath of the Meiji restoration in late 1868, a member of the Sō daimyō informed the Korean authorities that a new government had been established and an envoy would be sent from Japan. In 1869 the envoy from the Meiji government arrived in Korea carrying a letter requesting to establish a goodwill mission between the two countries, it used the character ko rather than taikun to refer to the Japanese emperor.
The Koreans only used this character only to refer to the Chinese emperor, to the Koreans it implied ceremonial superiority to the Korean monarch which would make the Korean monarch a vassal or subject of the Japanese ruler. The Japanese were however just reacting to their domestic political situation where the Shogun had been replaced by the emperor; the Koreans remained in the sinocentric world where China was at the centre of interstate relations and as a result refused to receive the envoy. The bureau of foreign affairs wanted to change these arrangements to one based on modern state-to-state relations. In Korea, Heungseon Daewongun, who instituted a policy of closing doors to European powers, was forced into retirement by his son King Gojong and Gojong's wife, Empress Myeongseong. France and the United States had made several unsuccessful attempts to begin commerce with the Joseon dynasty during Heungseon Daewongun's era. However, after he was removed from power, many new officials who supported the idea of opening commerce with foreigners took power.
While there was political instability, Japan developed a plan to open and exert influence on Korea before a European power could. In 1875, their plan was put into action: the Un