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

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

by Romulus Hillsborough
     
 

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"When people wonder who they should have as an ally, they're on the wrong track. What you want is an enemy. You can't get anything done without an enemy." —Katsu Kaishu, "The Shogun's Last Samurai"

Japan's dramatic rise from a political backwater to a great power; an inside look at the men and their times that shaped a nation.
Samurai

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Overview

"When people wonder who they should have as an ally, they're on the wrong track. What you want is an enemy. You can't get anything done without an enemy." —Katsu Kaishu, "The Shogun's Last Samurai"

Japan's dramatic rise from a political backwater to a great power; an inside look at the men and their times that shaped a nation.
Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's transformation from a backward country of feudal lords and samurai under the control of the shogun into a modern industrialized nation under the unifying rule of the Emperor. Japan's modern revolution spanned the third-quarter of the nineteenth century; knowledge of this history is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

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

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

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hillsborough's prose is cinematic and intense." —The Wargamer blog

"This fine book is one of only a small number of books in the English language that gives a true and authentic account of Japanese history." —Tsutomu Ohshima, Chief Instructor, Shotokan Karate of America

"This is a fascinating study of a fascinating period, when an ancient culture was forced to come to terms with the modern world and almost uniquely managed to achieve a rapid transformation..." —Historyofwar.org

"Hillsborough deserves high praise for successfully combining high drama...with meticulous scholarship." —The Daily Yomiuri

"Hillsborough...has done a masterful job of bringing a chaotic period to life." —Booklist

"With his easily readable and entertaining style, Hillsborough does a great job of elucidating the complex customs that ruled Edo Period life and politics." —The Japan Times

"We found it to be not only an excellent biography of Katsu, but an exceedingly well-done, intricate, and clearly written overview of this vital period of Japanese history." —Samurai Archives blog

"...Samurai Revolution serves as a compelling and timely warning for America today. Hillsborough astutely captures the serious consequences of self-imposed isolation, xenophobia and failure to adapt to the changing world." —Major Christopher J. Heatherly, Armchair General magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9784805312353
Publisher:
Tuttle Publishing
Publication date:
03/25/2014
Edition description:
Hardcover with Jacket
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
405,826
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.70(d)

Meet the Author

Romulus Hillsborough lived in Tokyo for sixteen years, immersing himself in the study of Japanese language, history and culture. Hillsborough's books include Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai and Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps. He lives with his wife, Minako, and son, Matthew, in San Francisco.

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