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Support the bakufu? or Bring down the Shogun?

 
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Toryu
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 7:50 am    Post subject: Support the bakufu? or Bring down the Shogun? Reply with quote
The last thing I need in my life is yet another forum or mailing list, but if this be the place to talk about my favorite period in history then I guess I am in. So who do you support and why?
Tobaku, Tobaku mata Tobaku!
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I haven't studied the Bakumatsu in literally years, but I am going to say that "Bring Down the Shogun" gets my vote. The subsequent modernization was very important.

Last edited by nagaeyari on Sun May 07, 2006 7:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Im gonna agree. Bring down the Bakufu. They were keeping everyone down.
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 11:27 am    Post subject: Re: Support the bakufu? or Bring down the Shogun? Reply with quote
Toryu wrote:
The last thing I need in my life is yet another forum or mailing list, but if this be the place to talk about my favorite period in history then I guess I am in. So who do you support and why?
Tobaku, Tobaku mata Tobaku!
-t


What're your thoughts and reasons on the matter?
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Maybe I'm just too old to get this, but who do I support? Um...how could I support either side? They're all dead, and this happened 140+ years ago. I can't go back in time and do anything for one side or the other.

If you're asking something like "do you think Japan was better off ditching the Bakufu like they did, or should they have tried to modify it into a modern governmental system?" then at least that's a debatable topic. The whole "who do you support" is a little awkward.
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Not to jump on a bandwagon, but I agree with LT on the whole manner of posting the question. Minor quible in the end tho, welcome!

We can play this game in and out, as its a major what-if question with great reprecussions. For the sake of Japan, up until World War II, I would say without a doubt that the end of the Shogun was the better thing. However, we can also ask, what would have happened in Japan had the Shogun been maintained? Would the same modernizing changes ultimately have occured, albiet at a later date? I would guess that the holdback (this all assuming a.) that the Shogun wouldn't have inveriably fallen sometime anyway, and b.) that they would have indeed modernized) would have cost them the victory in the Russo-Japanese war had that event occured, and that would have set them on a course so radically different that perhaps the Pacific war in WWII may never have occured, or at least not in the same manner... but again, we find ourselves at a road with infinite branches and forks, and the impossible task of figuring which is right, since all is guesswork anyways.
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 8:14 pm    Post subject: Support the Bakufu or Bring down the Shogun? Reply with quote
I apologize if posing the question as a what if put anybody off. Perhaps it is just the colonial in me but,the way I feel about it is if I put myself in those times I would naturally want to bring down the bakufu. The system of hereditary title and position excluded men of talent that might have reformed the country and benefitted all, concentrated power in the hands of a few families, encouraged bribery and corruption and clearly lacked any flexibility for dealing with crises. The closed country discouraged the development of it's people and culture.Not to mention the system of neighbors spying on each other and the use of torture and capital punishment.
Reasons I might site from my modern perspective along with the oppression of the "lower" classes (something I wouldn't have a problem with probably, had I lived in those times unless I was one of the unfortunate). Of course were I a highborn Tokugawa samurai, I would clearly feel differently but that is not who I identify with.
The bakufu was modernizing, with the help of the French, they were reluctantly open to trade and once it started eager for it. The Shogun voluntarily gave back his lands and there was almost no reason for a fight. Those who supported the emperor needed a symbol and the Tokugawa needed to be brought low to sweep away the old. They might have turned it around and a very different new government may have been the result, in the end they were too slow to make their changes and the tide against them too great to stop. Did the destruction of the bakufu benefit Japan? Yes I would say overall, conditions for some became worse in the short term, much valuable culture was lost as well, but for a time anything was possible and a simple country boy from Tosa could change the world!
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Support the Bakufu or Bring down the Shogun? Reply with quote
Toryu wrote:
I apologize if posing the question as a what if put anybody off. Perhaps it is just the colonial in me but,the way I feel about it is if I put myself in those times I would naturally want to bring down the bakufu.


It wasn't posing it as a "what if"--you didn't do that. You posed it as if we actually WERE in those times. We're not, so we can't support either side.

No big deal--don't lose any sleep over it or anything. I think if you'd phrased it as a "what if", say, like this:

"What do you think would have changed had the Bakufu remained in power--would they have been able to adapt and modernize, or no? Where would it have taken Japan--could Japan have avoided the end result of WWII?"

Of course, questions like this are always tricky, but my personal opinion is that even if the Bakufu could have changed itself, it couldn't stand politically under the pressure of the time. The samurai class had to be abolished--if it wasn't, the government, army, etc. would consist of only a small percentage of the population. While ex-samurai pretty much controlled the Meiji government, it was built on the premise that ALL Japanese were part of the same family, with the Emperor as the Father, and so was able to harnass the strength of the entire population.

Japan wouldn't have gotten into a war with China or Russia at the turn of the century, or at least wouldn't have "won" against Russia. Without that win, they wouldn't have the prominence or the strength to become a major player (yet) in Asia, and so likely wouldn't be in the position to strike for an empire in Asia in the 1930's. Not sure how the war in Europe would have affected Japan at that point, but they'd have a much more limited role.
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
PTluv777 wrote:

We can play this game in and out, as its a major what-if question with great reprecussions. For the sake of Japan, up until World War II, I would say without a doubt that the end of the Shogun was the better thing. However, we can also ask, what would have happened in Japan had the Shogun been maintained? Would the same modernizing changes ultimately have occured, albiet at a later date? I would guess that the holdback (this all assuming a.) that the Shogun wouldn't have inveriably fallen sometime anyway, and b.) that they would have indeed modernized) would have cost them the victory in the Russo-Japanese war had that event occured, and that would have set them on a course so radically different that perhaps the Pacific war in WWII may never have occured, or at least not in the same manner... but again, we find ourselves at a road with infinite branches and forks, and the impossible task of figuring which is right, since all is guesswork anyways.


That actually does bring up a lot of good questions. Potentially useless questions since they're the stuff of maybe thesis papers and historical fiction, but interesting ones nonetheless. Actually... it would make an interesting premise for a historical fiction novel.

But on-topic, I think that, given the 'what-if' phrasing, I'd have to say the Bakufu had to be at the very least reformed, or if not that, done away with. Many people were being kept from practices of free enterprise that allows economies to flourish in a modern system, and there was little encouragement from the Bakufu to do so. Another good example was with how Katsu Kaishu was snubbed in the mid-Bakumatsu period when he had a pretty good idea of what he should be doing.

Yet on the otherhand, look at the context that the Ishinshsishi were speaking and acting from--sonno joi--there were a lot of compounded factors. Did some of them honestly want to end the Bakufu for the betterment of the country, or were they doing so only to 'restore' the Emperor and then proceed to manipulate him?

-Kazuki
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 3:06 am    Post subject: Re: Support the Bakufu or Bring down the Shogun? Reply with quote
Toryu wrote:
if I put myself in those times I would naturally want to bring down the bakufu. The system of hereditary title and position excluded men of talent that might have reformed the country and benefitted all, concentrated power in the hands of a few families, encouraged bribery and corruption and clearly lacked any flexibility for dealing with crises.
I don't qualify myself as an "expert" on this period. But in the readings I've done, I've gotten the distinct impression that the "Bring down the Shogun" factions actually were two factions, not one.

There was the "abolish feudalism, bring on democracy" faction, which usually is associated with Sakamoto Ryoma and his colleagues. Myself, I'm utterly fascinated with Sakamoto Ryoma. He carefully studied aspects of the United States and its culture, specifically the American issues over slavery and the fact that the American "Shogun" (the President) was elected -- which he found astonishing. He wanted to abolish feudalism entirely and he believed that the way to do this was to first bring down the Shogun. He also was a Japanese nationalist but not an isolationist. On one hand, he did not want foreign conquest of Japan. On the other hand, he was against isolationism because he thought that this would weaken the country and make it vulnerable to foreign conquest. He believed that the best way to tame the foreigners was to set up trade with them. Also to build a modern navy and employ other modern military strategies.

The other anti-Shogunate faction was the "abolish feudalism, bring on the Emperor's rule" faction. This was a faction that wished to bring down the Shogun. Other than that, this faction wanted feudalism to remain alive and well, but the new feudal state would be ruled by the Emperor rather than by the Shogun. They were anti-Shogun because they thought that the Shogun wanted too many trade ties with foreigners. This faction was heavily Japanese nationalist and also was isolationist, wanting Japan to be "pure" and "untainted" by any foreign influences.

I think that in some ways, the two anti-Shogunate factions may have formed alliances. But sooner or later, they were bound to oppose each other because their goals were dyametrically opposed.
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Support the bakufu? or Bring down the Shogun? Reply with quote
Toryu wrote:
The last thing I need in my life is yet another forum or mailing list, but if this be the place to talk about my favorite period in history then I guess I am in. So who do you support and why?
Tobaku, Tobaku mata Tobaku!
-t



I am "Sabaku" (support bakufu).
Because I was born and raised in Tama.
That's all Smile
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'd say I'm "habaku" (Anti-bakufu). Had Japan not modernized, another nation would have come and swallowed it up. Just look at China around that time...

On a side note, I once found myself with some iron-on transfers, a plain white T-shirt, and a good printer. I combined the 3 to make a T-shirt that bore the Tokugawa mon and said 偉大なる兄弟は見ている。("BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.")
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Remember, Bakufu was Kaikoku-ha 開国派 and the Choshu and Satsuma were Joui-ha 攘夷派
And how did they achieve Meiji restration?
They did Kaikoku Laughing
That was what Bakufu tried to do.

by the way, what is kanji of habaku?
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
by the way, what is kanji of habaku?

There aren't any. I think the word he was thinking of was tōbaku (倒幕).
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah... I didn't expect to be taken seriously there. I made "habaku" up because I didn't know the actual word for it, hence why it's in quotation marks. The kanji for it would be 破幕.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2006 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Philippe wrote:
shikisoku wrote:
by the way, what is kanji of habaku?

There aren't any. I think the word he was thinking of was tōbaku (倒幕).


I see.
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
nagaeyari wrote:
I am going to say that "Bring Down the Shogun" gets my vote.


Same here. Japan lost out on more than two centuries of change and reform because of the Tokugawa regime. If Japan had had access to new ideas earlier, and not been forced to open up in the 19th century, the Asian War might not have happened - or at least not on the massive scale that it did.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
When you read about that time you can see that it was a very confusing time. Groups that wanted to end Shogunate rule also opposed each others ideas of how the country should be ruled. Satsuma and Choshu were quite extreme in wanting to ban foreigners from the country. Shinsengumi who were their enemies fought for the Shogunate but also just tried to uphold the law overall. If asking which side you would be on if you had lived during the Bakumatsu well it would depend on what your status was at the time. For instance most of the outside daimyo opposed Tokugawa rule because they had become prisonors in a since in that they always had to leave their families as hostages incase they planned to rebel (actually revoking this law probably accelerated areas such as Satsuma in their rebellion against the shogunate). Merchants who were essentially seen as scum in the caste system that had developed probably would have gone with the imperialist. Of course even with many samurai on the shogunates side, the lack of modern weaponry is they main reason why they lost. If they had the same weaponry as the Imperialists then maybe they could have maintained power and Japan would have been completely different from what it became during the Meiji years.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
BTW...

Something I've always wondered.

All the han are generally known by their proper names (Kai, Satsuma, Kaga, etc.). Only Choshu is known more popularly by its Chinese name than its proper name (Nagato).

Why do we say "Satsuma and Choshu" instead of "Satsuma and Nagato" or "Sasshu and Choshu" I wonder...


Tony
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
AJBryant wrote:
BTW...

Something I've always wondered.

All the han are generally known by their proper names (Kai, Satsuma, Kaga, etc.). Only Choshu is known more popularly by its Chinese name than its proper name (Nagato).

Why do we say "Satsuma and Choshu" instead of "Satsuma and Nagato" or "Sasshu and Choshu" I wonder...

Tony


Shinano (Shinshu) is the only other one that I see commonly referred to as it's "shu" name, and that's mostly on advertising for Shinshu soba, etc. A couple of others (Enshu, which is Totomi, is it not?) I've seen once or twice, but I agree, it's odd.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
i am sabaku to i think that we today would still have samurai if it wasnt for the imperialests they probably wouldnt be carrying swords but still in starting the boshin wars they destroyed something so great even if there were only a few true samurai or bushi around there are like a total of 10 now(just a geuss)that study and live the old ways
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
AJBryant wrote:
BTW...

Something I've always wondered.

All the han are generally known by their proper names (Kai, Satsuma, Kaga, etc.). Only Choshu is known more popularly by its Chinese name than its proper name (Nagato).

Why do we say "Satsuma and Choshu" instead of "Satsuma and Nagato" or "Sasshu and Choshu" I wonder...


Tony


I have come across more kuni names used with shuu. Shinshuu, of course. Kooshuu for Kai, Kishuu for Kii (I think almost always Kishuu-han rather than Kii-han), Jooshuu for Koozuke, and, as a name, Jooshuu for Yamashiro no kami. I have seen Sesshuu for Setsu, Bichuu for Owari, Senshuu for Izumi and Bushuu for Musashi, but not much. Of course, my exposure may be to later material. The question for me is why not "Sasshuu"?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm a monarchist, so support the Meiji Emperor all the way! Wink
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