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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Damn you Dash! Why did you have to go and post something so interesting when I want to go to sleep! Laughing Seriously, I'm glad you did post this and I was hoping that somebody would bring this letter up. Cool

Just one thing- to make it easier to read, can you please edit your post to remove the quote format and just italicize the text of the letter? Either my eyes are too tired right now or I am getting too old. Also, please feel free to give some commentary on what Nariaki wrote, if you'd like to do so. Yoroshiku!

To contrast this, I will soon post a translation of a letter I have of Naosuke's, that he sent to the Bakufu before being appointed Tairo.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
...but in 1856 he changed his name to Masayoshi out of respect for Atsu-hime.


What's the story behind that? I know it's not really part of the subject at hand, but it sounds interesting.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dash101 wrote:
I. The annals of our history speak of the exploits of the great, who planted our banners on alien soil; but never was the clash of foreign arms heard within the precincts of our holy ground. Let not our generation be the first to see the disgrace of a barbarian army treading on the land where our fathers rest. Etc...etc...etc



I can now see why so many samurai would flock to Nariaki's viewpoint after reading this letter. Many of his points are well grounded in fact, and the other points would appeal to the pride and nationalism of the samurai.

I also found it humorous that Japanese politicians from Nobunaga to Nariaki always like to drop into their rants that 'even the peasants and poor are angry' to underscore just how inept and corrupt their political opponents were.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Just one thing- to make it easier to read, can you please edit your post to remove the quote format and just italicize the text of the letter? Either my eyes are too tired right now or I am getting too old. Also, please feel free to give some commentary on what Nariaki wrote, if you'd like to do so. Yoroshiku!


Wakarimashita. I have edited the previous post accordingly. I have a whole slew of views on Nariaki's points and I just want to make sure I'm not getting ahead of the conversation (as I usually do)

Most importantly in my view, this letter provides understanding as to why people began to rally around him. His ideas offered what would prove to be a different stance to the shogunates especially once the March 31, 1854 nichibei washin joyaku (Kanagawa Convention agreement) was signed. People who opposed that didn't have anywhere to turn except to Nariaki as his populist viewpoints.

One point I'd also like to make is to mention how interesting it is that the perceived threat to the Emperor is not mentioned once in the letter which was basically the calling card stance of the 'joi' folks.
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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dash101 wrote:
One point I'd also like to make is to mention how interesting it is that the perceived threat to the Emperor is not mentioned once in the letter which was basically the calling card stance of the 'joi' folks.


Sonnō jōi basically means revere the emperor, expel the foreigners. Emperor Komei, like most Japanese of his day, was a xenophobe and was against letting foreigners into Japan. Hence the main meaning behind the sonnō jōi movement was “follow the emperor’s wishes—expel the barbarians!” Only later, following Nariaki's death in 1860, would jōi become politically twisted and convoluted by the likes of radicals controlling Chōshū into a “protect the emperor” movement that culminated in the Hamaguri Gate incident at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto. And this “protect the emperor” side of it was no more than a thinly disguised veil to cover the real intention of ceasing control over the issuance of imperial edicts. Think of it as a means to a palace coup d’état of sorts.

The ironic thing is that while Komei hated foreigners, he was resolute in his suppport of the Bakufu!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Only later, following Nariaki's death in 1860, would jōi become politically twisted and convoluted by the likes of radicals controlling Chōshū into a “protect the emperor” movement that culminated in the Hamaguri Gate incident at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.


Good clarification. thanks! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
What's the story behind that? I know it's not really part of the subject at hand, but it sounds interesting.

I don't, unfortunately, really have the time, to join in the broader discussion, but I can answer this one as I caught it on TV two or three weeks ago when my wife was watching Atsu-hime: the "atsu" character in Masaatsu was the same as the "atsu" of Atsu-hime, so he changed his name out of deference.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The real Tatsunoshi is back after being apparently possessed by some evil spirit Shocked What a relief Laughing

Have been thinking about Nariaki's effect on other han: I think he made Mito into a rallying point. His outspokenness drove his own samurai/ronin to take revenge on Ii for his curtailing of Nariaki's political activities, and this aroused the competitive instincts of other han. The reaction in Choshu and Satsuma was along the lines of, 'Why didn't we take action like that? Are we going to be left behind?' Answer 'No way!' But Nariaki was ahead of his time, and the subsequent internal conflict in Mito meant that han did not in the end play any major role in the Restoration.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
The real Tatsunoshi is back after being apparently possessed by some evil spirit Shocked What a relief Laughing


It seems evil spirits scatter before my wife's wisdom like dust before the wind!
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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:49 am    Post subject: All about Ii... Reply with quote
Although we could probably spend weeks on another study group just examining the different strains of sonnō jōi and its political evolution through the Bakumatsu period, I think it is time we start talking about Ii Naosuke. After all, this study group is supposed to be about him! Laughing And before we delve into his political policies and his ideas on how Japan should respond to the challenges it faced in the mid-to-late 1850s, let’s spend a day or two talking about Ii’s character and background.

Questions
1. Tyrannical. Arrogant. Manipulative. Close-minded. Deceptive. Machiavellian. Disrespectful to the Imperial throne. These are all words or phrases that have been traditionally used to describe Ii Naosuke. Do you really think these words accurately describe him? Can anybody, based on what can be found in the suggested reading list, shed some light on Naosuke’s character?

2. What about Naosuke’s background? Why is it so unlikely that somebody of his origins was able to rise to the highest halls of power within the Tokugawa Bakufu? Was it just because of his hereditary status or was he actually a gifted and intelligent person of ability? Thoughts please.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm going to go with #2, for now, as I know where to find some info on that. Shiba Ryotaro doesn't seem to care much for Naosuke, but in some ways that forces him to explain how he could have risen to such a state.

What's odd is that although Naosuke is the son of the daimyo of Hikone, he is the 14th son--a long way from being anywhere in the line of inheritance, it would seem. In fact, he's pretty much living with mom and dad into his 30s. He'd attempted to marry into power, but without much success.

His fortune turns, it seems, through a series of unfortunate events (though not starring Jim Carrey). First, there is the death of his nephew, son of his brother Ii Naoaki (previous head of the Hikone domain). Naoaki names his brother, Naosuke, as heir, and then ends up passing away himself. Suddenly, Naosuke is the head of the Ii family, raking in a 350,000 koku stipend. From here, Shiba intimates that he attempted to buy his way into politics, offering 30 pieces of gold to Matsudaira Tadagata, who apparently thought he was just an idle dabbler.

I'll have to break off there. Although Ryotaro goes into detail about when Naosuke became Tairo, he says very little about how he achieved it. He does mention that he apparently was in cahoots with the Kii family, who were pushing for Yoshitomi to succeed Iesada.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ummm...you may want to read your copy of Agitated Japan. I don't think Naosuke was living at home with mom and dad in the sense that we think of people who live in the basement of their parents houses, watching Star Trek reruns all night long, but the image cracked me up. Laughing Would somebody who has read Agitated Japan care to chime in? While Shiba's portrayal of Naosuke may have a lot of truth to it, it is fairly negative and I believe it is done intentionally to paint a contrast to the pro-Keiki (Yoshinobu) theme of The Last Shogun.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
1. Tyrannical. Arrogant. Manipulative. Close-minded. Deceptive. Machiavellian. Disrespectful to the Imperial throne. These are all words or phrases that have been traditionally used to describe Ii Naosuke. Do you really think these words accurately describe him? Can anybody, based on what can be found in the suggested reading list, shed some light on Naosuke’s character?


This is a great question. There are really two very different schools of thought on this, and even academics seem to have some disagreements.

Naosuke never had any expectation of achieving the position he did. At a young age, he spent a great deal of time studying "military exercises and literary pursuits". So he was both intelligent, well read, and aware on some level of military affairs.

In those pursuits, he proved to be "remarkably strong willed and of firm decision". He is also described as "earnest and serious in everything he attempted". Now on a basic level, those sound like the qualities one would want in a leader of a nation. This is important because if we evaluate the actions undertaken when he was Tairo, we see a resolute man firm in his convictions.

Another description (page 32- Agitated) reads "Once decided, he was as firm as a rock. No amount of difficulties would make him falter or find him irresolute. And what he had aimed at he would persevere in till he would win."

That sounds to me, that it could be mistaken for Arrogant. But lets keep in mind that here is a man who is being thrust into power at the highest levels of the Bakufu. The Shogunate is an establishment founded on military might. It is therefor imperative that its ruler, or in this case, defacto ruler, has to be comprised of some tyrannical attributes and certainly be somewhat manipulative in order to effectively run that system of government.

Was he close minded? No! Not at all. Actually the shogunate had many open minded retainers who were all to aware of what the rest of the world had in order. What were the consequences of saying no to the Americans? They probably would have blockaded rice imports to Edo. They could have used force, to which Naosuke knew Japan had no chance of repelling because of his experience in fortifications.

Naosuke was open minded (clairvoyant?) enough to see that an isolationist policy was doomed to fail in light of the circumstances.

My question in this regard, is did he go too far in his governance?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dash posted while I was writing so some of our points overlap.

The Last Shogun and Agitated Japan must both be read skeptically, I think, as they both are extremely partisan in their support of their subjects. Agitated Japan paints a not unsimilar picture of domestic bliss though (and I saw a kabuki play about Ii some time ago which portrayed the Tairo as a loving family man, though he was having problems deciding on whether to spend what would be his last night on earth with his wife or his mistress).

Sorry about the digression, to continue: All Naosuke’s older brothers had been adopted into other families, apart from the eldest who succeeded their father.

“Naosuke still lived in his father’s territory. The pecuniary allowance he received from his family was so small he must needs lead a quiet life no better than that of an ordinary samurai. He had a small house built for himself where he spent the whole of his time in military exercises and literary pursuits. All his friends were of gentle but not lordly birth.” (AJ)

He moved to Edo until in 1850 he heard of the serious illness of his oldest brother, the Baron. He made plans to leave immediately for Hikone, but the news of his brother’s death reached him on the road and he returned to Edo. At 27 years he was appointed heir to the Ii domain. Two pages later AJ announces that this was in 1846, so it looks as if he was appointed heir 4 years before his brother’s death. However since he was born in 1815, at 27 the year would have been 1842. Michael Auslin states he was 43 when he became Tairo: that is in 1858.

Staying with Auslin for the moment, his opinion of Ii is that he saw the Western challenge as a problem to be solved and firmly believed he was the man to solve it. But his rigid approach brought him into conflict with the emerging powerful lords eg of Satsuma and Mitô, and also with the maritime defense officials (among the most powerful officials in the Shogunate bureacracy) like Iwase Tadanari, who were in favour of free trade. The Arrow War of 1858 put additional pressure on him. He could not deal with both problems (dangers from abroad, troubles at home). His choice was to face domestic opposition rather than risk foreign war. Really it was the only practical choice. The question is, why did Ii alienate all his possible allies, crushing opposition rather than using negotiation and compromise?

I think it’s all entangled with the succession question: Ii opposed Keiki strongly and irrationally partly because of his fear of and antipathy for Nariaki (also because he did not think it fitting to choose a lord because of his intelligence: this is to have inferiors choose their superiors and that is entirely the Chinese style: but this sort of choice on merit was precisely what the young bloods were all clamouring for). We’ve see Nariaki’s extremism and intractibility. Ii’s natural conservatism and loyalty to the Bakufu made him oppose Nariaki just as uncompromisingly.

I’ve seen it stated often that if Ii had lived the Shogunate would have weathered this particular challenge and lasted for many more years. As Craig says he did manage to bring back some of the traditional Tokugawa absolutism of the earlier period; he suppressed the internal squabbles and brought the reforming lords under control (putting most of them in domiciliary confinement). He also put pressure on the tozama han to control their own sonnô jôi radicals. But after his death the conciliatory policies of Andô etc let all the suppressed anger out of the bag, by which time it had increased ten-fold. So in the end the Ansei taigoku was totally counter-productive.

I can’t remember who it was who was originally said to be a clever man who only did stupid things, but I think that applies to Ii. There were good reasons for everything he did but nothing worked out, because he was trying to apply old solutions to new problems.
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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dash and Heron,

Very good and insightful posts!!! Very Happy Heron, I am always amazed at how you can make such sense and more importantly, can CLEARLY explain the byzantine nature of Bakumatsu politics. Daydreaming Maybe we should collaborate on a non-fiction book on the topic! Just Kidding

Dash-- based on what you wrote about Naosuke's firmness of mind once he made a decision, I'm going to add a little more to this from an angle that wasn't covered in Agitated Japan or any of the other works that have been cited. Just need a little free time to collect my thoughts on it and should have something posted later today. Again, good going!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Ummm...you may want to read your copy of Agitated Japan. I don't think Naosuke was living at home with mom and dad in the sense that we think of people who live in the basement of their parents houses, watching Star Trek reruns all night long, but the image cracked me up. Laughing Would somebody who has read Agitated Japan care to chime in? While Shiba's portrayal of Naosuke may have a lot of truth to it, it is fairly negative and I believe it is done intentionally to paint a contrast to the pro-Keiki (Yoshinobu) theme of The Last Shogun.


I agree... and the point of the 'mom and dad' comment was as much my mood at the time of writing as anything else. Ryotaro does mention that Naosuke spent that time working on refining his poetry and becoming a fairly respected scholar, with quite elegant prose--not an image typically emphasized when talking about Naosuke whom I have more often seen depicted as the Bakufu strongman. I think that image has a lot to do with the Ansei purge, but I may be getting ahead of things.

And I agree that Ryotaro is bias. In fact, I was commenting to Obenjo that this is a problem of this entire period--it is so complex, it is usually easier to reduce people to 1-dimensional caricatures than to explore them, because it only makes a complex situation that much more complex.

I also imagine we are just now getting over some of the cultural bias latent in any relatively recent history.

Okay, I have a lot more reading to do, so I may be quiet for a while.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
based on what you wrote about Naosuke's firmness of mind once he made a decision, I'm going to add a little more to this from an angle that wasn't covered in Agitated Japan or any of the other works that have been cited. Just need a little free time to collect my thoughts on it and should have something posted later today. Again, good going!


Heron, you impress all of us with your ability to clearly communicate thoughts. (I'm lucky on some days if I can order a proper bowl of Yoshinoya Gyudon!) he he j/k.

Obenjo, well received. Looking forward to it! This is a really exciting topic so I hope others will start chiming in also!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:36 am    Post subject: Re: All about Ii... Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:

Questions
1. Tyrannical. Arrogant. Manipulative. Close-minded. Deceptive. Machiavellian. Disrespectful to the Imperial throne. These are all words or phrases that have been traditionally used to describe Ii Naosuke. Do you really think these words accurately describe him? Can anybody, based on what can be found in the suggested reading list, shed some light on Naosuke’s character?

2. What about Naosuke’s background? Why is it so unlikely that somebody of his origins was able to rise to the highest halls of power within the Tokugawa Bakufu? Was it just because of his hereditary status or was he actually a gifted and intelligent person of ability? Thoughts please.



I believe that Naosuke was indeed quite gifted and intelligent, having spent most of his life studying, reading, and devoting himself to intellectual pursuits. He had the right combination of traits and the 'stubborness' and single-mindedness that many people in the political arena show-a quality which (along with his views on Shogunal succession) made him the perfect candidate (in the eyes of the Bakufu) to head up the Shogunate as 'Tairo'. The Shogunate had become indecisive, seeking out the advice of the Imperial court and other daimyo in the matter of foreign diplomacy instead of following the tradition of deciding such matters on their own. This had the effect of creating the impression that the Shogunate was weakening, encouraging dissidents and fanning the flames of rebellion rather than creating a spirit of cooperation and solidarity against the foreigners. When Ii was put in charge, this did much to reestablish the authority of the Shogunate and temper many of the disloyal elements for a short while.
However, like many people who have spent much of their life studying and very little applying it or learning how to interact with others effectively, I believe Ii might have been at a disadvantage when trying to deal with negative elements in the best manner. There's a fine line between establishing your authority and being a tyrant-one that's its quite possible he crossed at times. But when you're beset with enemies from both within and without, it's best to go after the ones closer at hand first, and to do so in a decisive manner.

I don't believe he was disrespectful to the Imperial throne-or at least, no more disrepectful than anyone had been for hundreds of years. Sometimes hard and quick decisions have to be made, and there's no time for long winded debate.

And I agree wholeheartedly with Heron on the Agitated Japan book-it's good for a very general background, but the tone of it was overwhelmingly 'that Ii bloke, he was the only one loyal and wise enough to give us what we wanted and make his country civilized.' If I read the passage 'no impartial judge would find him guilty of...fill in the blank' just once more, I would be donning the お化け面具 again.
But those forwards were priceless for giving the late 19th century Western position on Japan-how civilized, farsighted, and peaceful they had become (shortly before the wars with China, Russia, etc...).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Can anybody, based on what can be found in the suggested reading list, shed some light on Naosuke’s character?



Ii Masahiro and Ii Fumiko talk about Ii Naosuke.(Japanese)
http://www.toeisha.co.jp/tugi/teidan2.html


Quote:
正弘 明治の初めぐらいに生まれた彦根の古老からいろんな話を聞いたのですけれど、 直弼が供を二、三人連れて彦根の馬場町という真っ直ぐな通りを歩いているときに、 浜の御殿に行っていた直なお亮あきが表屋敷に帰るというので、ダーッと馬でその馬場町を来るのが見えたらしいのです。 それで、 通りを歩いている人はそこに平伏して迎えなくてはいけないのですが、みんなを平伏させるのはかわいそうだというので、 前供がターッとやって来て、 なるべく隠れろ、 みんな家に入れ入れと先に言ったらしいのです。そうすると直弼は、 自分の兄ですけれど藩主が馬で来るというので、 びっくりして近くの家の門の中へ隠れて、直亮が通るのを見送ったという話を聞きました。
 そういうふうに、 下々の人の生活を自分自身が体験しています。自分が殿様で走って通り抜けるというだけでなしに、 隠れなくてはならないほうも体験しているわけですから、下々のこともよく知っていたのではないかと思います。 普通の殿様だったらそういう体験はしていないだろうと思います。

Interesting episode.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
As promised, here are few other points about Naosuke’s character. For instance, did anybody know that he was something of a “tea celebrity” before rising to high-office? That’s right. Not only was Naosuke a respected poet and student of military strategy, he was a noted master of tea ceremony. Actually Naosuke was something of a tea ceremony maverick, as he advocated and allowed women to participate in tea ceremonies as guests as well as servers. Until this time, it was considered taboo for women to join tea ceremonies. I know it is hard to believe but it’s true. I wouldn’t go as far to say Naosuke was an advocate of women’s rights—he was a conservative believer in Confucian thought—but this is an interesting point on which he made a stand and made a clear break with tradition.

Ichigo, Ichi-e
Naosuke even published a famous work called “Cha-no-Yu Ichie Shu” (“Collection on the Oneness of the Tea Ceremony"). This work is still referenced today as a landmark treatise because in it, Naosuke took Sen Rikyu’s philosophy to a new level by coining the phrase ‘ichigo, ichi-e’ to describe the essence of what a tea ceremony was supposed to be about. Ichigo, ichi-e means ‘one encounter; one opportunity’ and I’m going to skip over what this means in the context of the fuzzy spiritual nature of a tea ceremony but let’s give this some thought in terms of how it defines Ii Naosuke’s core modus operandi. I could be on a limb here, as I haven’t seen this connection anywhere else before, but I believe Naosuke carried forth this philosophy into his political career and how he made decisions that affected the affairs of the state. He saw each dilemma and decision that needed to be taken as a one-time ‘encounter’ that had one ‘opportunity’ to bring about the desired outcome. I think this also explains why he was so resolute in carrying out his decisions once his mind was made up. There was no vacillation; only a relentless action designed to bring about a desired end to a means.

I know people familiar with the Japanese Way of Tea or the Ways of Budo may want to kick me for re-visioning what Naosuke meant by ‘one encounter; one opportunity’ by deleting the connection to how that particular one encounter and its one opportunity is supposed to relate to the impermanence of all things, but I do feel that it is too metaphysical and doesn’t fit into the real-politick world of the Bakumatsu very nicely. What I’d like to know are your thoughts about this side of Naosuke as well as my hypothesis about ichigo, ichi-e defining the way he approached decisions of state. Does this help paint a more multi-dimensional picture of the man rather than the cookie cutter or "Momo Taro ame"image we have seen in so many other books and forms of media?

After some discussion on this we’ll move on to discuss Abe’s solicitation of advice from the nation’s daimyō and Naosuke’s response as the head of the politically powerful fudai han of Hikone.
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Last edited by Obenjo Kusanosuke on Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:49 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ichi gô, ichi e 一合一会 is extremely famous as a tea saying (as proved by the fact I know it), but I had no idea that Naosuke originated the phrase.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
He moved to Edo until in 1850 he heard of the serious illness of his oldest brother, the Baron. He made plans to leave immediately for Hikone, but the news of his brother’s death reached him on the road and he returned to Edo. At 27 years he was appointed heir to the Ii domain. Two pages later AJ announces that this was in 1846, so it looks as if he was appointed heir 4 years before his brother’s death. However since he was born in 1815, at 27 the year would have been 1842. Michael Auslin states he was 43 when he became Tairo: that is in 1858.

According to J-Wiki (which agrees with what I read elsewhere), Naosuke's brother Naoaki was daimyo of Hikone. He had no children, so, as was very common, he adopted a much younger brother as his son and heir, Naomoto, his father's 11th son. But Naomoto died in 1546, so Naoaki then adopted Naosuke as his son and heir. As the formal heir, Naosuke received court rank, probably in the assignments at the end of that year. In 1846 Naosuke was 32 years by the Japanese count (see SA-Wiki), or 30 or 31 by Western count.
By the way, when adopting a brother as heir, preference seems to have been given to a much younger brother,thus often a half-brother, presumably so they would not have to change lords so often. So the age issue in whether the shogun's heir should be Yoshinobu or the young lord of Kii was a real one.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Ichi gô, ichi e 一合一会 is extremely famous as a tea saying (as proved by the fact I know it), but I had no idea that Naosuke originated the phrase.
Believe me, I was also shocked when I learned this. As Josh pointed out, we kind of have these one-dimensional views of a lot of these Bakumatsu-era people that have been cultivated through a steady barrage of media biases. Historical figures like Naosuke, Ryoma, Harris, Saigo, etc. all are portrayed the same way all the time. It is like they are all perfect little "Momo Taro ame", the exact same, every time. Laughing Thus, when you learn that Naosuke had a kinder, gentler, cultured or scholarly side, it comes as a surprise.
So through researching Ii Naosuke in preparation for this study group, I learned that he certainly isn't the "Momo Taro ame" I expected!

*Momo Taro (Peach Boy) is a famous and very old Japanese children's story. Momo Taro ame is a kind of hand-made hard candy that have been popular since the Edo period that bears a likeness to the character on each of its sides. When the confectioner cuts the roll of candy into little pieces, you can see the exact same Momo Taro, every time in every piece. "Momo Taro ame" is a Japanese expression similar to how we use "cut from the same mold" or "cut from a cookie cutter" in English.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I prefer Wonder Momo cookies.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
I prefer Wonder Momo cookies.
I'm sure Mr. Crackers does! Naughty naughty Laughing
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