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Tsushima no Kami
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Shinsengumi - Main Thread Reply with quote
heron wrote:
... My understanding of the situation is that 'progessives' or 'liberals' did not exist yet in Japan. We know that Sakamoto met the socialist thinker Nakae Chomin in Nagasaki (see Nada Inada's bio TN-kun), but Nakae did not read philosophers like Rousseau until he himself was in France, and did not translate Rousseau into Japanese until 1882.
Was there truly a political philosophy known as "socialism" at this early date? I don't remember when Karl Marx wrote DAS KAPITAL.
heron wrote:
So where did Sakamoto get his ideas on 'democracy' from? He studied what he could of international law in Nagasaki, probably to help with his struggle for compensation with the Kii han after the Iroha maru incident. I'd like to know more references for his progressive ideas.
Would you believe Abraham Lincoln? According to Hillsbourough's work (RYOMA: RENAISSANCE SAMURAI), p. 101-102, Sakamoto expressed enthusiam for Lincoln and the American Civil War, Lincoln's push to end slavery in the United States; he was discussing this with his colleague Mochizuki Kameyama. Earlier (according to Hillsborough), Katsu Kaishu had introduced to him Lincoln and his ideas.
heron wrote:
Other influential thinkers like Kido Takayoshi and Fukuzawa Yukichi did not crystallize their ideas until the 1870s. The Meiji Restoration set in motion desires for yonaoshi (a new world order) (and their lack of fulfilment is one of the tragic stories of 19th century Japan), but I'm not sure to what extent the main players of the bakumatsu shared these desires. Not much I suspect.
One of the main players in spreading ideas of democracy. abolishing feudalism was Katsu Kaishu. Read about him on this site:

http://www.samurai-archives.com/kak.html

Here is an excerpt:
Quote:
Kaishu remained in San Francisco for nearly two months, observing American society, culture and technology. He contrasted American society to that of feudal Japan, where a person was born into one of four castes ­ warrior, peasant, artisan, merchant ­ and, for the most part, remained in that caste for life. Of particular interest to Kaishu, who was determined to modernize and indeed democratize his own nation, were certain aspects of American democracy. 'There is no distinction between soldier, peasant, artisan or merchant. Any man can be engaged in commerce,' he observed. 'Even a high-ranking officer is free to set up business once he resigns or retires.'
Here is another source, found it while Googling; it's a list of old Japanese books:

http://www.rulon.com/Catpages/japanese/japanese_1.htm

Here is a relevant excerpt:
Quote:
NAKAHAMA, MANJIRO, a.k.a. John Manjiro.] [Manuscript in Japanese:] Tosanokuni Usanoura Hyoryujinshojoutsushi. n.p. [Japan], 1852.

"...[Nakahama Manjiro]became a teacher at the Tosa School, lecturing on American democracy, on freedom and equality, on the independent spirit, and on his travels on the world's seas, and it is said that he greatly influenced Sakamoto Ryoma and Goto Shojiro.
heron wrote:
Generally speaking it would be really helpful in a discussion like this if people would reference their posts from historical sources. Otherwise we are just going to be exchanging opinions. Not that I don't value these opinions - they are always interesting - but I like to know what they are based on.
I do agree. Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Choshu Reply with quote
Wicked Iemon wrote:
I think its either William Steele or Thomas Huber who stated Choshu's main motivation for the restoration was to escape the mountain of debts they had acumulated after decades of mismanaging the Han forcing them to borrow from the Bakufu to bail themselves out by 1858 they had no means of repaying said debt ,Or its something like that


But Albert Craig (Choshu in the Meiji Restoration) gives the opposite explanation. Choshu was able to play the role it did in the bakumatsu period because of its financial strength. Many of the han were in financial trouble after the Tempo famines, but Choshu was able to use the buikukyoku for savings and investment, as well as other reforms, and cash crops. People in Yamaguchi prefecture still refer to the "four white things" (rice, paper, candles, salt) which provided the main income.

If you can paraphrase Choshu's motivations for the restoration I think you would have to include: desire to play a role in national politics, a sense of being special because of a long relationship with the Imperial Court, fear of losing out to Satsuma, recognition of a special relationship with foreigners after fighting with them, and after Ito and Inoue returned from England with the realisation that the foreigners could not be out-fought in the present situation, desire of lower-rank men of great ability to use their talents, the inspiration of Yoshida Shoin, Takasugi Shinsaku and the formation of the kiheitai, and possibly a long-standing desire to see the downfall of the Tokugawa.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
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Was there truly a political philosophy known as "socialism" at this early date? I don't remember when Karl Marx wrote DAS KAPITAL.


No, I didn't mean Nakae was a socialist then, just that he was a socialist writer and philosopher later after his time in Europe.

He was defininitely inspired by his meeting with Sakamoto, who must have been a charismatic personality. Many people write about Ryoma's boastfulness and he seemed to arouse either deep dislike or affection in those he met.

I haven't read the Hillsborough book, but have read Jansen which is a great historical biography imo.

Thanks for the links, very helpful.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
And Capital was published in 1867. Communist Manifesto in 1840s
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Can I use some posts to edit the S-A wiki?
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