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3. Why was Serizawa Kamo selected as a leader?

 
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Dennis
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:23 am    Post subject: 3. Why was Serizawa Kamo selected as a leader? Reply with quote
I would hazard a guess that there are a couple reasons. First could be his demonstrated skill with a sword (and posibly his iron fan). He apparently commanded great respect from his associates, despite his thugish behaviour. His credentials in that regard may not put him above candidates with better leadership qualities, but it wouldn't necessarily hurt either. Especially since he had Aizu clan and political party, Tengu-to, influence.

Second, it's interesting that he was given no executive power. He was only Kyokuchou. But the power was the with Fukuchou and Jokin. It's easy to see a scenario where those making the decisions wanted to exploit whatever skills Serizawa could bring, but didn't want him in any position to make any decisions that might prove disastrous.

I think it would also be prudent to have him and his followers isolated and in one group, just in case. As it turns out, Serizawa was not able to control his personality, and he and his group were removed without any diastrous affects on the Shinsengumi.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serizawa_Kamo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinsengumi
http://victorian.fortunecity.com/stanford/130/bio.html
http://www.chthonian.net/Aoshi/hijikata.html
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Based on what I gleaned from my second reading of Hillsborough's Shinsengumi book, I thought the reason Serizawa Kamo was made leader of the Shinsengumi was because he had leadership experience as a captain in the Mito Tengu Party and was actually born into the samurai class. While a leader in the Mito Tengu Party, the master-thug led a few hundred men, whom he also brutalized. Actually, he was jailed for murdering three of his men--and it was the amnesty announced by the Bakufu for those who were willing to join the Roshigumi that got him out of jail.

Other possible reasons (David Letterman style):
10. Everybody else was afraid of his iron ribbed fan
9. Others admired his propensity to spread STDs, notably syphilis.
8. Everybody was afraid they’d be raped by him if they didn’t choose him as leader
7. Everybody thought he was a jolly good fellow when drinking
6. Matsudaira Katamori found him attractive
5. People liked the way he trimmed the fingernails, nose and ear hair of his subordinates
4. He slept his way to the top
3. He had an overwhelming propensity to kill
2. He had an overwhelming will to power
1. He won the role after winning a round robin tournament of paper, rock, scissors
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
How big was the Mito Tengu Party infuluence?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Shikisoku-san, bear with me on this as I am writing my response based on memory. I can't remember which book it was that I had that had a very small amount of info about the Tengu-To extremists.

I think that the Mito Tengu Party's life was pretty short, answers the question about its influence, as they basically ceased to exist in 1865 when they were crushed at the end of the fighting that was essentially a civil war within Mito Han. They really were a local phenomenon because of Mito Civil War, so this limited the role they could play on the national level's center stage.

However, the issue is that Serizawa was highly visible in the Mito Tengu Party's hierachy and actions in its early days and had also achieved a high level of notoriety in Edo and the outlying areas. As someone with leadership experience + being a proven and bloodied warrior who was born an actual samurai, it made perfect sense to make him one of the top commanders in the Shinsengumi.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
But the Tengu party was Anti-Bakufu.
Wasn't it obstacle?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hmmm, the Tengu Party was extremely anti-foreigner, not all members were anti-Bakufu in its early days. But let’s assume that Serizawa-san was no lover of the Edo Shogunate, okay? Fast-forward to Serizawa being arrested for murder and languishing in an Edo jail, waiting to be executed. He probably wished he had a second chance, right? So, when he received an offer of amnesty from the Bakufu if he joined the Roshigumi, did he maybe felt a bit of loyalty towards those who made his amnesty possible? It is a plausible.

Another thing to consider: When Serizawa and the 12 others of the Roshigumi decided to stay behind in Kyoto rather than return to Edo with Kiyokawa, what was their motivation, considering many of this group of 13 came from Mito? How can you explain this? (I’m not 100% sure, but I think the original corps members from Mito included Serizawa, Shinmi Nishiki, Hirayama Goro and Hirama Jusuke—can somebody please double check me on this?)

What personally confuses me is the tenants of the Mito School—which actively preached from the 1700s onward that control of the country should be returned to the reins of the emperor, while still preaching loyalty to the Bakufu. I really struggle to understand this. Tokugawa Yoshinobu’s father, the daimyo of Mito, Tokugawa Nariaki, seemed to be a walking bag of contradictions—anti-foreigner, pro-imperial restoration, pro-Tokugawa. Shikisoku or anyone else- can you please help clarify this for me? I’m really having a hard time wrapping my brain around this. After all, Nariaki lobbied very hard to get his son nominated as Shogun.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The Mito school itself wasn't Anti-Bakufu.
It was basically Sonno Sabaku.
However some extremists angered at the Bakufu over signing on the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (United States-Japan) and they assassinated Ii Naosuke.(Sakuradamon Incident)
Thereby Mito school became a pronoun of Anti-Bakufu.

Treaty of Amity and Commerce
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S.-Japan_Treaty_of_Amity_and_Commerce
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Shikisoku,

Thank you. I appreciate this. Just one thing though--isn't the main tenent of the Mito school the idea that the authority to rule Japan should be transferred from the Shogun to the Emperor? Isn't this one of the reasons why the Mito Tokugawa were considered the *black sheep* branch of the family? This is the point of my confusion. I just find it hard to rationalize in my brain how you can be pro-imperial restoration and pro-bakufu. Was the Mito school preaching a variance of kobu-gattai?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
"Reinforcing national polity led by the Bakufu which is backed up by the Emperor."
Quote:
天皇の伝統的権威を背景にしながら、幕府を中心とする国家体制の強化
http://www.lib.ibaraki.ac.jp/mitogaku/s01.html



Quote:
why the Mito Tokugawa were considered the *black sheep* branch of the family?

Were they?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok- the Kii and the Owari branches were more senior than the Mito branch of the Tokugawa. They were the ones that produced the majority of Shogunal heirs if the reining Shogun was childless, ad also, Kii and Owari's stipends were considerably larger than that of Mito. So, the Mito were junior- but, the head of the Mito branch was unofficially considered a vice-shogun(like Mito Komon was). I also know that the Mito daimyo were exempt from sankin kotai. So, in a sense, the Mito Tokugawa were well compensated for the fact that they were the lowest, and non-shogunal producing house of the three main Tokugawa branches. To my knowledge, Yoshinobu was the first and only Tokugawa from Mito to assume the post--and it was because he was adopted by the Hitotsubashi family, a Tokugawa collateral branch that was allowed to produce a Shogunal heir in case Kii or Owari were unable to provide a successor.

Perhaps I am confusing the *black sheep* attitude with what was really felt towards Tokugawa Nariaki, Yoshinobu's father. It seems to be that Nariaki was intensely disliked by certain circles within Edo castle and the Bakufu.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: MITO TENGU Reply with quote
In Mito there were two groups Kan To and Tengu To ,starting out as scholars they became rivals and eventualy it all spilled out in civil war ,however the Tengu To were not crushed in 1864 ,many escaped and came back around 1867 .In the Boshin war the Tengu To crushed the Kan To faction with equal ruthlessness.
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