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

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 ...

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

"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

"…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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784805312353
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/25/2014
  • Edition description: Hardcover with Jacket
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 477,301
  • 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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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction
Prologue
Book 1: The Fall of the Tokugawa Bakufu (1853-1868
Part I: The Outsider
Part II: The Outsider Steps In
Part III: The Outsider Steps Back
Book 2: The Rise of Imperial Japan (1868-1878)
Part IV: The Outsider Takes Control
Part V: The Outsider and the Imperial Government
Epilogue: The Shogun's Last Samurai
Appendix: On the Value of Katsu Kaishu's Histories, Biographies, and Memoirs
Notes
Table of Era Names
Main Characters and Feudal Domains
Glossary of Japanese Terms
Sources from Katsu Kaishu
Abbreviations of Sources Cited
Bibliography
Index

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