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heron
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Did the Arrow War have something to do with it? The Chinese were forced to sign the Treaty of Tientsin in June 1858. This Second Opium war brought home how vulnerable other nations were to the military threat from Western Powers.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dash101 wrote:
Ii was the last to hold the position.


I believe there was at least one more after Ii, a member of the Sakai family.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
You are correct. Here is the list of men who held the positions: (source Wikipedia). And the number is only 12, not 13. I counted Ii Naooki twice in my previous post.


Sakai Tadayo
March 12, 1636 - March 19, 1636

Doi Toshikatsu
November 7, 1638 - July 10, 1644

Sakai Tadakatsu
November 7, 1638 - May 26, 1656

Sakai Tadakiyo
March 29, 1666 - December 9, 1680

Ii Naozumi
November 19, 1668 - January 3, 1676

Hotta Masatoshi
November 12, 1681 - August 28, 1684

Ii Naooki
June 13, 1696 - March 2, 1700

Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu
January 11, 1706 - June 3, 1709

Ii Naooki (again)
February 13, 1711 - February 23, 1714

Ii Naoyuki
November 28, 1784 - September 1, 1787

Ii Naoaki
December 28, 1835 - May 13, 1841

Ii Naosuke
April 23, 1858 - March 3, 1860

Sakai Tadashige
February 1, 1865 - November 12, 1865
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
Did the Arrow War have something to do with it? The Chinese were forced to sign the Treaty of Tientsin in June 1858. This Second Opium war brought home how vulnerable other nations were to the military threat from Western Powers.

Hmmm. Interesting point, and this could have perhaps been a secondary reason, but I do believe that it was Hotta's failure to get the court's blessing for the Amity and Commerce Treaty that did it, in terms of being the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

And good answers, Tatsu and Dash on the meaning and history of the position of “tairō”! Cool

Now moving on, upon becoming tairō, Naosuke had to deal with 4 major issues, which in my opinion were as follows:
1) Restoring the power of the Bakufu (which relates to the next 3 issues)
2) How to deal with Harris and ratification of the American Amity and Commerce Treaty
3) Iesada’s succession
4) How to deal with Tokugawa Nariaki and his fellow exclusionists

Question:
I think we need to talk about the weakened state of the Bakufu in the summer of 1858 in a little more detail before we hammer through how Naosuke dealt with these above issues. There have been some scattered references to this already, but to tie it into the present discussion, does someone want to take a stab at guessing and then explaining what are the two events (at least in "MY" mind) that did the WORST damage to Bakufu authority from the time of Perry’s first voyage to Japan in 1853 up through Naosuke becoming tairō on June 5, 1858? This is a great chance to showcase your mind-reading skills! Just Kidding Hints: One involves Abe and the other is in regards to a hare-brained idea Hotta had and acted upon.
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Last edited by Obenjo Kusanosuke on Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
then explaining what are the two events (at least in mind)
"At least in mind" is strange English. Did you erase a "my"? Wink

One was probably this: After concluding the treaty with Perry, Abe took a novel step to bolster his position by obtaining imperial sanction for the treaty. (Reichauer East Asia: The Modern Transformation) Each shogun was appointed by the emperor (the document for Ieyasu's appointment was on prominant display at the Dai-Tokugawa Ten last year), but probably the emperor had never been asked to approve a bakufu policy, even as a mere formality. This made the imperial court a player in policy decisions.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
then explaining what are the two events (at least in mind)
"At least in mind" is strange English. Did you erase a "my"? Wink

One was probably this: After concluding the treaty with Perry, Abe took a novel step to bolster his position by obtaining imperial sanction for the treaty. (Reichauer East Asia: The Modern Transformation) Each shogun was appointed by the emperor (the document for Ieyasu's appointment was on prominant display at the Dai-Tokugawa Ten last year), but probably the emperor had never been asked to approve a bakufu policy, even as a mere formality. This made the imperial court a player in policy decisions.
Embarassed I did indeed erase a "my". It was in my original MS Word draft, but that's what I get for re-editing my entry in the posting box before sending it. Doh! But I am glad you understood what I meant--strange English and all. Smile

Regarding your answer, you are on to something regarding Abe, but he did something even more unusual before bringing the Perry agreement to Kyoto for imperial sanction that in my opinion was disastrous for the Bakufu. Once he did this, it probably seemed logical that he would next go to the Imperial court seeking approval for the deal with Perry. Does anyone else want to guess at what this unusual and Bakufu-weakening act was and explain why it was so damaging? Again, it’s been referred to before.

What Abe did in terms of seeking the Emperor's approval of the agreement with Perry is in line with what I was thinking regarding what Hotta did with the Amity and Commerce Treaty. This was the second major blow to the Bakufu's authority that was floating around in my mind. (Darn, I just let one of the cats out of the bag! Just Kidding ) Maybe it's just me, but I think Hotta's decision to take the Harris treaty up to Kyoto was infinitely more damaging than Abe's desire to get imperial approval for the agreement with Perry. Thoughts?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
IIRC, Abe signed the treaty himself and *then* went to the Imperial Court. If I really am remembering that correctly, then this undermined the Bakufu by usurping its authority, and then raised further controversy by taking it to the Emperor to get signed. Because of the terms, it was a rallying point for Bakufu opposition, who could claim that Abe was taking on the powers of the Bakufu for himself.

That what you are thinking about?

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Does anyone else want to guess at what this unusual and Bakufu-weakening act was and explain why it was so damaging? Again, it’s been referred to before.
Was it asking the opinion of all, including collateral and outside daimyo? To me asking for opinions is less damaging to athority than seeking aproval of a treaty, but perhaps that is my modern perspective.
Quote:
Maybe it's just me, but I think Hotta's decision to take the Harris treaty up to Kyoto was infinitely more damaging than Abe's desire to get imperial approval for the agreement with Perry. Thoughts?
Why is that?
JLBadgley wrote:
IIRC, Abe signed the treaty himself and *then* went to the Imperial Court. If I really am remembering that correctly, then this undermined the Bakufu by usurping its authority, and then raised further controversy by taking it to the Emperor to get signed. Because of the terms, it was a rallying point for Bakufu opposition, who could claim that Abe was taking on the powers of the Bakufu for himself.
I am confused. As head of the Roju, wouldn't Abe be invested with the powers of the Bakufu? Who else in the bakufu would have signed it, (or have given the authority to sign it)? Did his opponents say he should have gotten the roju-kai to agree, or was he accused of usurping the powers of the shogun?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think the problem was that it should have been the shogun who signed it. However, because the shogun was either dead or incapacitated (I can't remember the timing), Abe took on that authority himself. This all assumes I'm correct, which, since I'm going off of memory of things read only once or twice, is quite possibly not the case.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think what Obenjo's going for is that Abe went to the daimyo of the land, hat in hand, to ask their advice on what to do about the problems with the foreigners. Whereas before the Shogunate had never consulted with them on anything, now they were-and the daimyo took it as a sign of weakness, encouraging people like Nariaki to be more bold and perhaps helping raise an air of rebellion in places like Choshu.
Why didn't the daimyo appreciate the fact that they were now being respected and asked for their advice, being brought into the loop of Shogunal politics? Why didn't this create an environment of cooperation? Think about it-the daimyo hadn't been asked for their opinions (officially) for hundreds of years, and now the Shogunate came to them for help. It made the Bakufu look helpless and clueless, and being asked for their opinions made many daimyo feel empowered and newly important. It created a situation where some thought, "If my opinion means that much, then maybe I should be calling ALL the shots...and it seems like the Bakufu is just weak enough for this to be plausible". Perhaps if the Bakufu had gradually started integrating more daimyo input into their decisions it might have worked (or if they had been a part of the process, however small, all along), but immediately giving the daimyo center stage in a big problem had the opposite effect.
It might help to put this concept in a smaller scale (not the greatest example, but...)-if your boss, who before had always made arbitrary decisions and never asked for your input suddenly came to you asking advice on a matter that involved the entire company's future, what might your reaction be? Most people would get a bit of a swelled head, think to themselves 'it's about time they brought me into this', and think 'they're losing it-it won't be long before I have their job'. It could almost set up a power struggle rather than solve the matter at hand-which is what happened in this situation.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Maybe it's just me, but I think Hotta's decision to take the Harris treaty up to Kyoto was infinitely more damaging than Abe's desire to get imperial approval for the agreement with Perry. Thoughts?


I'm not sure Hotta's methods were more damaging. Both certainly had their impact on the bakufu and society as a whole. As Tatsunoshi said, the fact that the bakufu were now gathering opinions was a huge break from tradition. A military dictatorship cannot realistically be a democracy and while that wasn't exactly the intention, first asking Daimyo for their opinion (Abe) then asking the Emperor for his blessing and getting the rascally court nobles involved together proved to be huge problems the Shogun that marks in my mind the mid-point to the end.

Hotta appointed a commission to workout the Harris Treaty. It was far more elaborate then Perry's. Actually most of you will remember that we had a discussion here on the Treaty of Peace and Amity vs the Harris Treaty. Anyways while Abe's 9 point agreement basically said "Lets be friends" Hotta's 12 point treaty gave away the store in my view. And I think there were many court nobles who could be made responsible.

Hisho Saito wrote the following in his book A History of Japan:

"When in 1856 the United States sent a consul in the person of Harris with the commission to obtain a definitely better treaty of commerce, Hotta Masahiro received him as he wished at Yedo, and introduced him to the Shogun in person, a proceeding quite at variance with prevailing custom. He, moreover, appointed a commission for the purpose of working out a treaty of commerce, which held its meetings in the Shogun's palace."

Further on it reads:

"In order to be legal, the treaty required the signature of the Emperor. But at that time the imperial capital, Kyoto, was the seat of the chief leaders of the imperial party. They worked zealously fr the removal of the Shogunate, and sought to make opposition to the foreigners serve their purpose, while for their party they supported the entire exclusion of foreigners. The Emperor refused his signature, although Hotta asked for a personal audience".

So what does all this mean? Well the military strong-men of the Shogunate looked like lame ducks after this refusal. Not only could they not push out the foreign threat from Uraga, but now here they had the Palace basically saying no. After that, the Shogunate wasn't just acting against the wishes of the public or the people, but they were now going against the wishes of the Imperial Palace and the Emperor, the 'spiritual leader' of the country.

I think it should be pointed out here as well that the actual title of Shogun is Seii-tai-Shogun meaning roughly foreign barbarian quashing generalissimo.

So not only were the shoguns NOT quelling the foreigners, but they were going against imperial opinion in order to negotiate an unfair treaty.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
I think what Obenjo's going for is that Abe went to the daimyo of the land, hat in hand, to ask their advice on what to do about the problems with the foreigners. Whereas before the Shogunate had never consulted with them on anything, now they were-and the daimyo took it as a sign of weakness, encouraging people like Nariaki to be more bold and perhaps helping raise an air of rebellion in places like Choshu.
Why didn't the daimyo appreciate the fact that they were now being respected and asked for their advice, being brought into the loop of Shogunal politics? Why didn't this create an environment of cooperation? Think about it-the daimyo hadn't been asked for their opinions (officially) for hundreds of years, and now the Shogunate came to them for help. It made the Bakufu look helpless and clueless, and being asked for their opinions made many daimyo feel empowered and newly important. It created a situation where some thought, "If my opinion means that much, then maybe I should be calling ALL the shots...and it seems like the Bakufu is just weak enough for this to be plausible". Perhaps if the Bakufu had gradually started integrating more daimyo input into their decisions it might have worked (or if they had been a part of the process, however small, all along), but immediately giving the daimyo center stage in a big problem had the opposite effect.
It might help to put this concept in a smaller scale (not the greatest example, but...)-if your boss, who before had always made arbitrary decisions and never asked for your input suddenly came to you asking advice on a matter that involved the entire company's future, what might your reaction be? Most people would get a bit of a swelled head, think to themselves 'it's about time they brought me into this', and think 'they're losing it-it won't be long before I have their job'. It could almost set up a power struggle rather than solve the matter at hand-which is what happened in this situation.
Tatsunoshi, how the heck did you manage to crawl into my head? Shocked You PERFECTLY conveyed what I was thinking. It is amazing how you were able to peer into my cranial bowl and see what was floating around so clearly! Laughing I believe Abe opened up Pandora's box and no matter what Naosuke or others such as Keiki tried to do to close it, they couldn’t. It was too late.

I can find no precedent in the previous 240 years of the Tokugawa Bakufu’s history of going outside of the rōjū for the advice of both fudai AND tozama daimyō on a matter of national policy. This action in itself was in my opinion, the most damaging blow to the Bakufu’s tenuous hold on power following the tumultuous events of the preceding Tempō era. Ieyasu must have rolled over in his grave at what Abe did! I therefore view Abe’s decision to do this as infinitely worse than what he then did regarding asking for imperial sanction of the Perry agreement. Why? Simply because, if I am not mistaken, the complete content of the Kanagawa treaty was not released to the Imperial Court and the daimyō until a year after it was signed and concluded by the Bakufu! Therefore, what Hotta did by actually going to Kyoto for Imperial sanction before ratifying the Harris treaty is a further erosion of Bakufu power of the worst kind. Abe may have opened Pandora’s box, but Hotta pulled her out of it by the hair, making her quite angry. Laughing

Also, bear in mind that Hotta personally went to Kyoto to get the Court’s assent to the terms of the Harris Treaty, and he failed. It was this failure that ultimately resulted in Ii Naosuke being named tairō, and I’m now going to try to put this in a context that I haven’t seen in print yet, so here it goes. As Hotta was head of the rōjū, was he not the embodiment of the Bakufu? I mean, apart from the shogun himself going to Kyoto to make a case for ratifying the treaty (which was UNTHINKABLE at the time considering precedent and the fact that the reining shogun was Iesada), we have to agree that Hotta, for all intents and purposes, WAS the Bakufu. As he personally failed to sway the Court, did this not severely flood the Shogun, his advisors, the other rōjū members and senior bureaucrats in a wave of embarrassment associated with a terrible, and I repeat, TERRIBLE loss of face? Therefore the need for a tairō was absolutely necessary if the Tokugawa shogunate was going to regain face and reverse the erosion of its power. Hence, enter Ii Naosuke, a man of iron will and a sense of deep duty and loyalty to the Shogunate. He was the perfect man for the job, if there ever was one.

Bethetsu, Josh and Dash—you all posted some interesting answers and raised some very good questions and issues. I cannot say Tatsunoshi and I are right and you are wrong or vice-versa. My question asked for answers as a matter of opinion and I appreciate what you all have written. I also feel a little guilty by springing a trap of sorts, but that has helped make this portion of the discussion very interesting and worthwhile! Very Happy

The decision to let Hotta to go to Kyoto was shockingly bad and utterly stupid with a little hindsight. Perhaps in their eagerness to outmaneuver Nariaki by trying to appear that they were playing along with aspects of his game, both Abe and Hotta sowed the seeds of their beloved shogunate’s destruction. I have to agree with what was presented by Sato in Agitated Japan in regards to the notion that the Bakufu did not need approval from Emperor Kōmei or the daimyō to exercise a mandate that it already possessed regarding the right to determine the affairs of state. Any further thoughts on this? I think we can get a few more interesting posts out of this topic before moving on.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
have to agree with what was presented by Sato in Agitated Japan in regards to the notion that the Bakufu did not need approval from Emperor Kōmei or the daimyō to exercise a mandate that it already possessed regarding the right to determine the affairs of state.


The only point I would follow up on this before moving on might be an examination of what kind of man Kōmei (Tenno)was because it was the bakufu's mistakes in dealing with the court in Kyoto that, really, made it possible for Naosuke to rule as Tairo.

I think it needs to be said that had the imperial throne be seated by someone else less emotional then perhaps the bakufu's mistakes would not have had the impact they did. Ii Naosuke was a hardline decision making man and Kōmei was much the same. Not only did the shogunate need someone like Naosuke to handle the foreign question, but Komei didn't make it easy for the bakufu either and that too would fall to Naosuke.

I searched around and found this description from Emperor of Japan: Meiji and his World (Donald Keene).

"[Komei's] surviving letters and other documents make it plain that almost every development during his reign infuriated him, and his response to each was not merely angry but frustration over his inability to prevent the impending changes in government and society"

Additionally a section on page 8 reads
"Komei never swerved in his antiforeign sentiments, even though at times, powerless to do otherwise, he reluctantly agreed to allow the foreigners to remain in Japan temporarily until the moment had arrived to drive them all into the sea. His xenophobia was formed early in his life and remained with him to the end. Surely it was one of the elements that contributed to the fierceness of the expression in his portrait." [Referring to an image in the book]
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Dash101 wrote:
Quote:
have to agree with what was presented by Sato in Agitated Japan in regards to the notion that the Bakufu did not need approval from Emperor Kōmei or the daimyō to exercise a mandate that it already possessed regarding the right to determine the affairs of state.


The only point I would follow up on this before moving on might be an examination of what kind of man Kōmei (Tenno)was because it was the bakufu's mistakes in dealing with the court in Kyoto that, really, made it possible for Naosuke to rule as Tairo.

I think it needs to be said that had the imperial throne be seated by someone else less emotional then perhaps the bakufu's mistakes would not have had the impact they did. Ii Naosuke was a hardline decision making man and Kōmei was much the same. Not only did the shogunate need someone like Naosuke to handle the foreign question, but Komei didn't make it easy for the bakufu either and that too would fall to Naosuke.

I searched around and found this description from Emperor of Japan: Meiji and his World (Donald Keene).

"[Komei's] surviving letters and other documents make it plain that almost every development during his reign infuriated him, and his response to each was not merely angry but frustration over his inability to prevent the impending changes in government and society"

Additionally a section on page 8 reads
"Komei never swerved in his antiforeign sentiments, even though at times, powerless to do otherwise, he reluctantly agreed to allow the foreigners to remain in Japan temporarily until the moment had arrived to drive them all into the sea. His xenophobia was formed early in his life and remained with him to the end. Surely it was one of the elements that contributed to the fierceness of the expression in his portrait." [Referring to an image in the book]

It could very well be that I don't understand the relevance between the point you are trying to make between Kōmei's personality and the Bakufu's decline but let me take a chance here. My below response is based on what I believe you are trying to convey and please forgive me if I have misinterpreted your post. I don't get it

Again, forgive me, but I do think it really is irrelevant what kind of person Kōmei was if the Bakufu had ruled as Ieyasu intended it to rule and not gone “soft” in seeking actual Imperial sanction for the Harris Treaty as Hotta had done. Since when had the Tokugawa Shogunate ever cared what Kyoto thought about how it politically ruled the “tenka”? Wasn’t it supposed to be a part of the deal, for better or worse, that Kyoto should steer clear of the political problems of state? Wasn’t this a key tenant of the baku-han system set up by Ieyasu? Earlier this evening, while dabbling in The Emergence of Meiji Japan while chomping on some yakitori and washing it down with a tasty sake from Saga prefecture made from red rice, I found this very relevant quote from Harold Bolitho. “Under this system, political authority was delegated by the emperor (whether he liked it or not) to the shogun, the head of the Tokugawa house. The shogun in turn, while commanding an establishment of his own to coordinate certain national functions like foreign affairs and defense, delegated much of the responsibility for local administration to 264 local rulers.”

Again, it was not intended for Kyoto to have a role in national policies beyond the obligatory rubber stamping of documents that were dictated by the Bakufu. Really, Hotta’s error in judgment coupled with Nariaki’s ceaseless ranting on the national stage about his political leanings that favored Kyoto, helped to give Kōmei a real and yes, “perceived” voice that never should have been heard beyond the confines of the imperial palace.

Also, that quote from Keene’s book is somewhat misleading in the context it is presented. I feel compelled to point out yet again that although it was absolutely true that Kōmei was afflicted with a virulent form of xenophobia, his support of the Bakufu and his belief in its necessity as an institution was unwavering. If there was one thing Kōmei hated slightly less than the horrid foreigners, it was the anti-Bakufu zealots from Chōshū and other domains that committed wonton acts of political violence and destruction in the name of “imperial reverence”.

Lastly, I’d go a step further in daring to say that the policy of kōbu gattai (union of court and camp), as supported by Naosuke before his death and as it was adopted as policy by the Bakufu, had nothing to do with trying to appease Kōmei and give him a bigger say. I feel it was yet another attempt to dupe the exclusionists and troublesome radicals at Court into believing that the Bakufu was taking some of the recently deceased Nariaki’s policies onboard in order to preserve a unified national polity in a time of crisis. Once Kōmei’s sister was married to the boy-shogun Iemochi, did anyone in the Bakufu really have any inclination to yield a single shaku of its actual political power to the white-powdered faced “clowns” in Kyoto? I don’t think so. As the marriage of Kazunomiya to Iemochi was in reality a ceremonial bond and nothing more in the eyes of those who held the reigns of the Bakufu’s leadership, this is one of the many reasons why kōbu gattai was doomed to fail.

I hope this makes sense. It's late, I am tired and need sleep after spending nearly 2 hours writing this post! Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Also, that quote from Keene’s book is somewhat misleading in the context it is presented. I feel compelled to point out yet again that although it was absolutely true that Kōmei was afflicted with a virulent form of xenophobia, his support of the Bakufu and his belief in its necessity as an institution was unwavering. If there was one thing Kōmei hated slightly less than the horrid foreigners, it was the anti-Bakufu zealots from Chōshū and other domains that committed wonton acts of political violence and destruction in the name of “imperial reverence”.


Point taken. Perhaps it was off the beaten track now that I read back a little bit. Well said, we can move on when your ready. Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
those wonton acts that landed them in the soup?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
those wonton acts that landed them in the soup?
Embarassed Laughing Absolutely!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
re Dash's comments which I don't have time to go into in detail, I think it is true that the Court at this time was starting to feel its power. Komei certainly had more of a voice in politics, tiny as it was, than any previous emperor, and there were many energetic young nobles like Sanjo Sanetomi, and his allies, who were totally frustrated by being relegated to being 'white-faced clowns', and who agitated for more personal fulfilment and power. This coincides with the perceived weakness in the bakufu - maybe no more than the zeitgeist, but definitely part of the whole mix in the late 1850s and 1860s.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
We are now entering the home stretch of this discussion group. Again, this has been a great one and the participation has been great! As the Sakurada gate incident is almost within sight, I think things are going to get even more interesting so let’s keep going forward.

Previously, I listed four issues of vital importance that Naosuke had to deal with upon becoming tairō. Again, here they are:
1) Restoring the power of the Bakufu (which relates to the next 3 issues)
2) How to deal with Harris and ratification of the American Amity and Commerce Treaty
3) Iesada’s succession
4) How to deal with Tokugawa Nariaki and his fellow exclusionists

Question: How did Naosuke handle the issue of ratifying the Amity and Commerce Treaty and HOW did this tie into his plan to restore the power of the Bakufu?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
American ships came to Shimoda and sailed into Edo on July 24, 1858 and on the 27th came reports that Russian ships has also also arrived, shortly to be followed by English and French ships that had just worked over the Chinese. Townsend Harris made it clear during the negotiations at Kanagawa that the position of the USA was that the Japanese policy of exclusionism was no longer an option, and that a conclusion to the talks reflecting this should be made-and soon. The Japanese negotiators returned to Edo on July 30 and the Roju council was assembled to reach an opinion. With all the foreign ships hovering in and around Edo, Naosuke felt that the decision needed to be made quickly-and that if it was forwarded to Kyoto for approval (as with Hotta), the result was likely to be exactly the same. He therefore instructed Inoue and Iwase to return to Kanagawa and sign the treaty. In doing so, Ii also established the intention of the Shogunate to reassert its authority.
As one would imagine, this didn't sit well with Nariaki. He fired off a letter on August 1st to Ii stating that he shouldn't have signed anything before getting the Emperor's approval. On August 2nd, Ii sent a letter to the Imperial court telling them that what he had done was necessary but that the Shogunate would continue to insure the safety of Japan and the Emperor-in effect, reverting to the time honored policy of telling the Imperial court "Here's what we did-hope it's OK, but if not, tough".
Also on the 2nd, Ii summoned the daimyo of the land to Edo to announce the signing of the treaty-and basically told them the same thing. It was clear that the Shogunate no longer was planning to debate the issue with the court or daimyo.
On August 6, Hotta and Matsudaira also resigned their offices in the Roju and were replaced by Ota and Manabe. Replacing Hotta had the effect of removing a reminder of the humiliation of the Shogunate during its attempt to secure Imperial approval over the exclusion issue (not to mention removing Matsudaira, who had opposed Ii on the Shogunal succession issue).
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Very good, Tatsunoshi! Very Happy

I’ve already presented my opinion that the Bakufu didn’t need the permission of the Court to rule as it saw fit, nor did it need the approval of the daimyō of the land, many of whom weren’t the sharpest swords in the armory. So in the opinion of this discussion’s participants, was Imperial sanction of the Harris treaty really required or was Naosuke wielding Bakufu power as Ieyasu had intended?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Very good, Tatsunoshi! Very Happy

I’ve already presented my opinion that the Bakufu didn’t need the permission of the Court to rule as it saw fit, nor did it need the approval of the daimyō of the land, many of whom weren’t the sharpest swords in the armory. So in the opinion of this discussion’s participants, was Imperial sanction of the Harris treaty really required or was Naosuke wielding Bakufu power as Ieyasu had intended?

Dash wrote:Hisho Saito wrote the following in his book A History of Japan:
"In order to be legal, the treaty [with Harris] required the signature of the Emperor."
I wonder if that was the Bakufu or Meiji idea. The US constitution (1790) is very clear on what makes a treaty legal because of the importatnce of foreign relations, but Japan did not have a written constitution, and it seems unlikely that there was much customary law dealing with formal international treaties. I saw some programs on the Edo-period Korean embassies, and the emperor did not seem to be involved at all, and the Dutch certainly did not seem to think he was involved in the agreements with them, and as far as I know, the emperor was not involved with the Ashikaga shoguns' dealings with China.

As far a "changing the laws of our ancestors," the expulsion order was not made by Iemitsu, not even Ieyasu, so presumably the shogunate could reverse a law made by him.

So, I think you are right that there was no legal necessity under Japan's "constitution" for imperial agreement.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
With all the foreign ships hovering in and around Edo, Naosuke felt that the decision needed to be made quickly-and that if it was forwarded to Kyoto for approval (as with Hotta), the result was likely to be exactly the same. He therefore instructed Inoue and Iwase to return to Kanagawa and sign the treaty. In doing so, Ii also established the intention of the Shogunate to reassert its authority.
According to Statler's Shimoda Story,p. 550, in an emergency session of the Great Council "Only Naosuke and a junior councillor maintained that the Emperor's approval should first be obtained. Naosuke was confident that given time he could obtain that approval and he knew the Shogunate's vulnerability if he acted now without it. But the opinion of the men around him was overwhelmingly for signing. He retired to think alone. Then he summoned Inoue and Iwase and instructed them to use all their powers in urging Harris to agree to a delay, but if they failed in this, then to sign the treaty." The two arrived at the Powhatan the night of the 27th. Footnoted Akimoto Shunkichi Lord Ii Naosuke and New Japan (Japan Times 1909) (translation of Ii Tairô to Kaikô), pp. 156-9 , and Murdoch III, p. 656.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Good stuff, Bethetsu! Very Happy

But it is quite late and "I am going to retire for the evening to think alone about this". Wink

I'll rejoin the conversation tomorrow night JST from Nagoya. In the meantime, everyone, please feel free to keep the posts coming on whether or not official Imperial sanction was needed or not for the Harris Treaty.

I think with Saito's History of Japan, the book that Dash quoted from, the statement that the Emperor's consent was required stems from the fact that the book was written during the Meiji period and reflects the beliefs and political ideals of that particular time. Thus, anything the Bakufu did that restricted the "rightful" power of the Imperial Court was viewed as "bad" back then.

Also, throughout Japan's diplomatic dealings in the pre-modern era starting with Hideyoshi, the Imperial Court played no role that I am aware of regarding expulsion edicts, red seal trading voyages, the invasion of Korea, the re-establishment of diplomatic ties with both Korea and China, etc. Going back even further, the Imperial Court also played no role that I can find in Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu's dealings with China--and those even involved the sending of tribute in exchange for Ming recognition of Yoshimitsu as the "king" of Japan.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The Shogunate as run by Ieyasu didn't care one bit about what the Emperor might or might not think about his decisions. Much of his time after Sekigahara was spent doing whatever he could to effectively remove whatever small influence the Imperial court had on politics, and this policy was continued by his son Hidetada. This establishment of Nijo castle and the post of Kyoto Shoshidai (whose primary function was to keep an eye on the Imperial court) underlined this, along with the enforced visit of Emperor Go-Mizunoo in the 1620's (which effectively made the Emperor come to the Shogun rather than vice-versa).

Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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