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Dash101
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Sorry for my delay in adding to this conversation. Suffered a hard disk crash at home Friday evening. Will be back shortly.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
While Ieyasu didn't care about the Emperor's opinion, I'd say that gaining Imperial sanction was still something he coveted, if only because it gave him one more tool to legitimize his hegemony. This isn't a case of him petitioning the Emperor, though, but of making sure that the Emperor acted like a good little puppet and did what he said, so that Ieyasu could pass off what he was doing as having connections with older traditions.

This is the problem I see in the Bakumatsu--the Bakufu has lost control of the court. I'm not sure why--I assume it has to do with too much focus on the politicking in Edo combined with the foreigners. Somehow they seem to have neglected their control of Emperor Komei, which winds up causing problems with their attempts to bring the nation back into control and is another pebble in what is to become the landslide that takes the foundations out from under the Bakufu.

In other words, Ii's action would have been great to rally the nation if he had been able to force strong support from the Court. As it was, his actions and Abe's before him both undermined their positions because the Emperor actually had the option of saying 'no'.

Okay, back to lurk mode.


-Josh
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
While Ieyasu didn't care about the Emperor's opinion, I'd say that gaining Imperial sanction was still something he coveted, if only because it gave him one more tool to legitimize his hegemony.


I agree completely. One of the policies he pursued most doggedly was having the Tokugawa marry into the Imperial family for just that reason. If I'm not mistaken, Hidetada's daughter became Imperial Consort to Go-Mizunoo before he became Emperor (although I'll cut this short as I'm straying from the subject at hand).
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Good posts, Tatsu and Josh. Very Happy

I still think that it was the Bakufu’s attempts to make it look like they were “playing ball” with Nariaki and his supporters was ultimately responsible for giving the Chrysanthemum throne its voice back. But again, it cannot be forgotten that Kōmei’s support of the Bakufu was exceptionally strong. While I don’t buy into this conspiracy theory, there is one that says because Kōmei’s backing of the Bakufu and dislike of the shi-shi radicals was so strong, he continuously stymied those that were seeking an Imperial restoration via a violent overthrow of the Tokugawa regime. Therefore, with the help of radicals within the Court, the Sat-Cho gang had Kōmei poisoned, paving the accession of the young Meiji Emperor who was under the heavy guidance and influence of his pro-restoration regent and grandfather. Officially, Kōmei died of smallpox, I believe. Enough on that.

Tatsu- keep thinking about Kazunomiya’s marriage into the Tokugawa family. I want to tackle this as a part of Naosuke’s role in how he directly dealt with Nariaki’s Exclusionist faction and the pressure it was able to apply to the Bakufu.

But first, let’s talk about how did Naosuke help to settle Iesada’s succession and what do you think were his motivations were?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
But first, let’s talk about how did Naosuke help to settle Iesada’s succession and what do you think were his motivations were?


Ok getting back into this here. So Iesada's succession was between two familes. On one side Nariaki's son Keiki (Yoshinobu) and on the other side was Tokugawa Yoshitomi (Iemochi).

Iesada was not in favour of having Yoshinobu succeeding him but for reasons that are vague (it seems that Iesada was fearful of the families that supported Yoshinobu's claim such as Tokugawa Nariaki) he did not express his position publicly. The effect of this was that he basically dragged out this fiasco into the mud.

Naosuke was appointed Tairo for a slew of reasons as we've coverd and one of the first things Naosuke did when he was appointed Tairo was to get this succession issue done and over with.

The families that supported Hitotsubashi Keiki seem to believe that Keiki would make a good choice because he would insulate Japan from foreign contact. They believed that Keiki was strong enough to build that wall up and kick out the foreign threat as great shoguns of the past.

Naosuke however knew this was impossible. Ii Naosuke more or less put his foot down and made a decision that more or less coalesced with Shogun Iesada's wishes. The heir apparent would be Iemochi. Naosuke however didn't really smooth his decision over with Nariaki or anyone else. A passage from the book Agitated reads:

"Naosuke believed that investment with the power of government carried with it the right to meet emergencies according to the judgement of the person so invested".

Meaning, it was an emergency, he made a decision, and there it was. As one can imagine it didn't make him too popular in Mito of course, but we'll get that later.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
And today is actually the anniversary of the signing of the Harris Treaty
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/255957/Harris-Treaty
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Shazam! Dash pretty much took it the rim and slammed it with that! Laughing We do know that Iesada’s influential mother was against the appointment of Keiki as successor. Of course the Bakufu, in general, was wary of Keiki because of the fact he was Nariaki’s son. If Keiki did become shogun, the fear was that Nariaki would hold the real reins of power.

It is very interesting that about a month after becoming tairo, within a period of ten days, Naosuke made two very key decisions regarding Iesada’s succession and the Harris Treaty’s ratification. It appears that some serious thought went into the decision making, but once he made up his mind, Naosuke was quick to enforce his decisions as state policy. Both Japan and the Bakufu were looking exceptionally weak and Naosuke wanted to take bold and decisive steps to remedy the situation. Do any of you see elements of Naosuke’s ichigo, ichi-e philosophy in these decisions and their enactment?

And yesss!! Heron has dialed in from long distance from Down Under with a clutch shot! (Sorry, I’m in Marv Alpert mode—a famous basketball play-by-play announcer in the US) Today is indeed the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Japan. Thank you for pointing this out, Heron! Very Happy

With this question effectively answered, it is now time to move on to the next one. How did Naosuke deal with Nariaki and his fellow Exclusionists? I see a two pronged approach here—one is to play hardball and the other is a “compromise of sorts” meant to toss the Exclusionists and those sympathetic to the Imperial Court a bone. And yes, both approaches were aimed at doing one thing: re-centralizing the Bakufu’s political power.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ii dealt swiftly with his opponents: Hotta took the blame for the treaty and was dismissed at the beginning of August. Nariaki was ordered into house arrest and forbidden to correspond with his allies; Keiki was banned from Edo castle, hence from public life; Matsudaira Shungaku was required to stand down as head of his domain, as was Tokugawa Yoshikimi of Owari. Yamauchi Yodo – forced into retirement in early 1859. Shimazu Nariakira – died end August 1858. His man Saigô Takamori - exiled; Shungaku’s man Hashimoto Sanai – executed. Iwase Tadanari and many other officials – demoted, sent off to manage shrines and temples, the dead end of bureaucracy. Activists among samurai were ordered to be recalled to their domains; some were arrested and later executed (Yoshida Shôin 1859)

Not so sure about what the sop (sorry, bone) was: Ii did take steps to try and get Court approval in the long run and in October 1858 sent Manabe Akikatsu (the one whom Shôin had a mad plan to assassinate) to Kyoto to try and mollify the outraged Court, whose first foray into politics had left them looking exposed and foolish. Kômei eventually made a somewhat ambiguous statement of support in early 1859.

For the moment the Bakufu looked restored but as Beasley says "the victory depended too much on one man, Ii Naosuke, to be enduring."
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
For the moment the Bakufu looked restored but as Beasley says "the victory depended too much on one man, Ii Naosuke, to be enduring."


That's the impression I get as well. Thinking about it Tokugawa Ieyasu was in a similar position when he first founded the Bakufu, but then he was able to engineer things so that he could step down and the second shogun could come to the fore, starting a tradition and a legacy that could be maintained.

I don't know why, but I sometimes wonder if Ii wasn't a little shortsighted: He knew that something had to be done, but once he had instituted his policies, did he have a plan to make it lasting? Or was his philosophy of 'ichi-go ichi-e' influencing his decisions such that he was acting within each moment, expecting that things would resolve themselves from there, or at least that he could deal with whatever came along?

-Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
Or was his philosophy of 'ichi-go ichi-e' influencing his decisions such that he was acting within each moment, expecting that things would resolve themselves from there, or at least that he could deal with whatever came along?

-Josh


It very well could have been. Instead of the theoretical foresightedness of the letter we discussed earlier, it seems his practical methods involved damage control-swifty resolving a situation without ascertaining what effect it would have on the long term picture. Of course, I also have the benefit of hindsight...
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
How someone plans and how someone deals with the moment may be two very different things.

Naosuke may have planned the big picture, but then dealt with individual moments impulsively; perhaps with an eye towards his larger goal, but without a true roadmap of how he was going to get from point A to B.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
He seems to have got rid of a whole range of competent people within the government, which in the end left that government severely weakened after his death.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
He seems to have got rid of a whole range of competent people within the government, which in the end left that government severely weakened after his death.


I think Heron and James are right in that Ii certainly cleaned house. And this is interesting because there are two very distinct sides to the purge that Ii must have been aware of during his planning this. On one side, he did what was necessary to get the Shogunate back in full control and full authority (in my view an important distinction) against "those who had presumed to influence shogunal decisions" (Jansen).

Instead of somehow trying to incorporate the views of those like the men Heron mentioned above or somehow working with them, it was easier to say 'Ok, here's what we're doing... You guys are out and this is the way its gonna be'. But of course this also made him a much hated man and perceived to be a "despotic and evil figure". (again, Jansen). And as Heron again pointed out, left the corridors of power somewhat hollowed. Actually, reading the list of names that Heron mentioned, its like a who's who walk of fame. And Naosuke basically trumped them all at that point.

At the same time though, where the bakufu saw the need to clean house, Naosuke made a very big mistake in my view that he punishes the moderates as well as the extremists in his purge raising the question of "Did he go too far?"

Once example of this is how he treats the Tosa han daimyo. Yamauchi Yodo was a friend to the bakufu though perhaps he did not agree with all of Iesada's decisions and didn't see eye to eye on several key policies. Yodo could certainly have been persuaded and had much to offer the bakufu. He was a very intelligent and loyal man, as represented by the way he clings to his Tokugawa loyalty even in the midsts of transformation years later.

Naosuke's hard line was exactly what the bakufu needed, but clearly was also the key element that more or less sealed his own fate. In my mind this makes him all the more interesting and I would love to know how he examined and weighed his options when it came to deciding on this critical action.

EDIT:
Quote:
Who the heck is James? Laughing Did you mean Josh?


Oops, sorry! Yes Josh, sorry about that.


Last edited by Dash101 on Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
WOW!! Some very good posts, people! I like it. It’s good! Actually, I’m lovin’ it! This has been a fantastic discussion group! Dash, again, you came up with a very good post, but one nagging question. Who the heck is James? Laughing Did you mean Josh?

Oh, and the “bone” that Naosuke threw to the middle-of-the-roaders and ‘moderate” Exclusionists that I previously referred to was kōbu gattai –the idea of a union between Court and camp—but more on that another time.

James, err…Josh also made an interesting comment about Naosuke’s short-sightedness in some of his decisions. I don’t have an easy answer for that, though. As Tatsunoshi pointed out, hindsight kind of gets in the way of allowing us to objectively look at this particular issue. Naosuke probably had to rationalize a few things when he initiated the Ansei Purge. He likely knew that some good people would get caught in the purge’s snare, but if that was the price that had to be paid for re-invigorating the central power of the Bakufu, then so be it.

I think the quote from Beasley that Heron dug up is very succinct and to the point. I really like it as the quote drives the crux of the situation home very clearly. “The victory depended too much on one man, Ii Naosuke, to be enduring” and this really does ring true. What was Naosuke thinking? Was he just trying to hold on until Iemochi was old and wise enough to rule on his own as a strong Tokugawa Shogun of yesteryear was meant to? I don’t really know, but I do firmly believe that the Bakufu was rudderless without some strong central authority figure to send policy decisions down the Tokugawa Confucian hierarchy. These obvious authority figureheads would have been the Shogun himself, the head of the rōjū or a tairo. And once Naosuke does leave the scene, there was nobody of superior ability at the top of that rigid hierarchy to give the Bakufu bureaucracy the direction it needed. And don’t get me started on that puffed-up and squawky rooster, Ando! Laughing

I do believe that Naosuke knew he was going to get himself a nasty reputation as a draconian tyrant and make himself very unpopular with some of the hotter heads in Mito and other domains. After all, Mito’s living heart and soul, Nariaki, and his son Keiki, whom many Exclusionists had their hopes pinned on, were under house arrest and were correctly believed to be rotting away in seclusion. So, yeah, in the eyes of many contemporaries, Naosuke must have been perceived as a black-hearted villain who was a traitor to the state. This perception has survived into the 21st century and is evident in the portrayal of Naosuke in the current NHK taiga drama, “Atsuhime”.

Yet, let’s pull out that hindsight tool again and this time use it to look at the Ansei Purge. For the sake of argument, I am willing to say that the Ansei Purge was not as draconian as it could have been. Naosuke had absolute authority to do what he needed to restore the Bakufu’s power and to set a framework for Japan’s continued peace and prosperity. To do this, Naosuke simply could have had Nariaki and others brought up on charges of treason and ordered them to commit seppuku. After all, this wasn’t the first time Nariaki had gotten himself in trouble with the Shogunate and maybe it was simply a matter of “enough is enough”. But Naosuke never issued an order for Nariaki’s head, or for Matsudaira Shungaku’s, who also stepped out beyond the rigid ceremonial and hierarchical structure of Edo-period Japan. Others did pay for their outspokenness with their lives, such as Yoshida Shoin, as Heron pointed out. But was this the norm or the exception? Yoshida, it could be said, was a little too outspoken and therefore became a prime target to be used as an example. What are your thoughts? Did Ii Naosuke really go too far with the scope and depth of the Ansei Purge?
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Not do derail your question, but I have one of my own on central authority:

Did Tokugawa Ieyasu set up the Bakufu to require a strong, central authority, or did he build in safeguards? Remember, Hidetada often comes under criticism as being not the sharpest nail in the drawer. Did Ieyasu really leave his legacy to the hope that his progeny would all be strong figures, or did he realize that not all of them would be savants? If the latter, where were these safeguards by the time of Naosuke's time?

I'm wondering here if a romantic idea of what the Bakufu *should* be affected Naosuke's views, thus causing him to get rid of so many gifted people whom he may have seen as unnecessary complications (since gifted people also tend to be the ones who ask annoying questions like "why are we doing this?")

I think it is also relevant to note that Ii Naosuke probably didn't see a picture of the Bakufu without him--at least not yet. And how many of us are truly thinking about what the world would be like if we weren't here tomorrow? He probably figured that by the time he straightened out this mess, he could then reinstate a strong, stable bakufu. His own assasination never really entered his mind.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
Not do derail your question, but I have one of my own on central authority:

Did Tokugawa Ieyasu set up the Bakufu to require a strong, central authority, or did he build in safeguards? Remember, Hidetada often comes under criticism as being not the sharpest nail in the drawer. Did Ieyasu really leave his legacy to the hope that his progeny would all be strong figures, or did he realize that not all of them would be savants? If the latter, where were these safeguards by the time of Naosuke's time?

I'm wondering here if a romantic idea of what the Bakufu *should* be affected Naosuke's views, thus causing him to get rid of so many gifted people whom he may have seen as unnecessary complications (since gifted people also tend to be the ones who ask annoying questions like "why are we doing this?")

I think it is also relevant to note that Ii Naosuke probably didn't see a picture of the Bakufu without him--at least not yet. And how many of us are truly thinking about what the world would be like if we weren't here tomorrow? He probably figured that by the time he straightened out this mess, he could then reinstate a strong, stable bakufu. His own assasination never really entered his mind.

-Josh
Hmmm. Interesting questions, Josh. I read your post late this morning from my cell phone and I've been thinking about it all day. It then dawned on me that I have a PDF file about the founding of the Tokugawa Bakufu. It is a fascinating chapter out of an unknown book by an unknown author that I downloaded off a Columbia University site a long time ago. I dived into this soon as I could to try to find an answer to your question "Did Tokugawa Ieyasu set up the Bakufu to require a strong, central authority, or did he build in safeguards?"

From the PDF, I found this:
"It is more realistic to see the Tokugawa system as the result of improvisation in the face of ever changing political opportunities and internal and external pressures. Of course, it is possible to formulate a number of maxims and guiding concepts at some level of aggregation, but typically, such abstractions were never alluded to or invoked when the bakufu was formulating its policy. True to its military background, the bakufu issued orders—specific, ad hoc commands that were intended to settle a certain issue or to attain a concrete objective; it did not engage in involved reflections on the reasons for choosing a certain policy, and did not try to defend its choices in general, moral or rational terms."

I also think Hidetada was all the proof Ieyasu needed to be aware of the fact that future shoguns may not be as sharp as he would like. Therefore, certain safeguards were indeed built in to guarantee that there was some sort of strong center at the top of the Tokugawa hierarchy to communicate orders and policy down through the bureaucracy. For instance, if the shogun was a dolt, there was always the roju and its chief elder to get things done. If the roju and its elder were not up to snuff, then it was possible to appoint a tairo to act as a regent on a temporary basis. As the Bakufu was a military government, there had to be a strong chain of command in order for it to function. However, by the 1840s, this chain of command and rigid adherence to its orders began to buckle under the weight of the Tempō troubles and the subsequent reforms that sprung up among the various han as they were left to their own devices to tackle their problems. The Bakufu couldn’t and wasn’t about to bail out daimyō when it had its own problems to sort out.

I doubt that Bakufu officials in the 1850s were able to fully realize how the troubles of the Tempō-era a decade before had helped to weaken Edo’s central power. If people like Ii Naosuke did completely understand this, perhaps he would have done a few things differently. You could be very right that he was striving to bring back a romantic idea of what the Bakufu *should* be, when in reality, nothing like that ideal had existed since the time of at least Yoshimune.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think Ii's actions in the Ansei Purge only seem really bad when you look back on things with a modern sensibilty and the advantage of knowing exactly where these actions landed him. Put yourself in the man's place and consider the political landscape of the day, and I don't think his actions were out of line at all with the established way of doing things.
Ii was surrounded by enemies from both within (the purg-ees) and without (the Americans, French, Russians, English...). More and more foreign ships were arriving daily, and more and more pressure being put on the Shogunate to 'open up...or else'. It seemed obvious that the foreign powers were not going to wait for Ii to open the issue up for a long debate. And while this was happening, opportunists from all directions emboldened by the recent perceived weaknesses of the Shogunate were attempting to undermine and block any action that it might take in order to gain power for themselves. When one is surrounded by snakes, one gets rid of the serpents inside the house first (or as Oda Nobunaga might have said, 'They had it comin'' Just Kidding ).
In our modern age, the worst thing that might happen in a conflict between politicians (at least in the industrialized countries) is harsh words and political retaliation when and if it's feasible. However, that wasn't the case in 1850's Japan. There was always the threat that political enemies would rise up, assassinate leaders, and plunge the country into civil war (which is pretty much what happened). Ii's response actually seems to be rather mild when this is kept in mind-I was rather surprised to see how mild the 'Ansei Purge' really was when I actually began to look at it seriously, with many more exiles than deaths (and just like every other era of Japanese history, exile proved to be usually little more than an inconvenience for a samurai). It's also possible that the preponderance of Meiji-era accounts from the ultimate victors that villified Ii have done their job over the years of making the Ansei Purge seem worse than it was.

What it boils down to is that Ii, the Shogunate, and Japan were in a bad situation all the way around. No decision was a perfect decision, which is why there had been so much waffling up to then. Ii took bold steps that fell into the 'High Risk, High Reward' category. If he hadn't been killed, it's likely the Shogunate would have reaffirmed their power, retained their control much longer and more effectively, perhaps even surving and evolvong into a new type of government under his stewardship (all idle speculation, yes). But the 'High Risk' was indeed the price that had to be paid, and as Heron pointed out, Ii's death meant that the Shogunate found itself without many capable leaders and without direction because of it.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
For the moment the Bakufu looked restored but as Beasley says "the victory depended too much on one man, Ii Naosuke, to be enduring."



Love this quote!

And in your list of leaders who fell subject to the purge, don't forget Date Munenari*, who was to go on to become a very important and influential Meiji era politician.


*part of the famous, glorious Date family who always behaved grandly according to Bushido and never once had treacherous or self-serving thoughts, no sirree
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Beasley is still the Man (or at least one of them Very Happy )

I agree about the Ansei Taigoku. When I first read about it I remember being surprised at its comparative mildness. This morning I went and looked it up in various places and found only eight people were actually executed, (Yoshida Shoin, Hashimoto Sanai, Rai Mikisaburo, Ajima Tatewaki, Ugai Kichizaemon, Ugai Kokichi, Chinone Iyonosuke: the last four were all from Mito. Ajima committed seppuku, it's not clear exactly how the others died, though Yoshida, Rai, and Hashimoto were all definitely beheaded. Kokichi is stated as being executed and pilloried. Umeda Unpin died in prison. Over 100 people were affected in various ways, domiciliary confinement, exile and so on.

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/安政の大獄

(and some of these names may be a bit skewed as they were mostly unfamiliar to me. There's also one on the jp Wiki list 飯泉喜内 which I can't read and no one's written about him yet: )

But this is a very mild purge compared to some others that come to mind in the course of World History. It sounds so much worse than it actually was.

As for Date I think I momentarily wiped his name from my mind in some kind of reaction of self-defence Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:34 am Post subject:
JLBadgley wrote:
Not do derail your question, but I have one of my own on central authority:

Did Tokugawa Ieyasu set up the Bakufu to require a strong, central authority, or did he build in safeguards? Remember, Hidetada often comes under criticism as being not the sharpest nail in the drawer. Did Ieyasu really leave his legacy to the hope that his progeny would all be strong figures, or did he realize that not all of them would be savants? If the latter, where were these safeguards by the time of Naosuke's time?

I'm wondering here if a romantic idea of what the Bakufu *should* be affected Naosuke's views, thus causing him to get rid of so many gifted people whom he may have seen as unnecessary complications (since gifted people also tend to be the ones who ask annoying questions like "why are we doing this?")

I think it is also relevant to note that Ii Naosuke probably didn't see a picture of the Bakufu without him--at least not yet. And how many of us are truly thinking about what the world would be like if we weren't here tomorrow? He probably figured that by the time he straightened out this mess, he could then reinstate a strong, stable bakufu. His own assasination never really entered his mind.

-Josh
Hmmm. Interesting questions, Josh. I read your post late this morning from my cell phone and I've been thinking about it all day. It then dawned on me that I have a PDF file about the founding of the Tokugawa Bakufu. It is a fascinating chapter out of an unknown book by an unknown author that I downloaded off a Columbia University site a long time ago. I dived into this soon as I could to try to find an answer to your question "Did Tokugawa Ieyasu set up the Bakufu to require a strong, central authority, or did he build in safeguards?"

From the PDF, I found this:
"It is more realistic to see the Tokugawa system as the result of improvisation in the face of ever changing political opportunities and internal and external pressures. Of course, it is possible to formulate a number of maxims and guiding concepts at some level of aggregation, but typically, such abstractions were never alluded to or invoked when the bakufu was formulating its policy. True to its military background, the bakufu issued orders—specific, ad hoc commands that were intended to settle a certain issue or to attain a concrete objective; it did not engage in involved reflections on the reasons for choosing a certain policy, and did not try to defend its choices in general, moral or rational terms."


I've been thinking about this a lot too, because we have not yet really come to the background of ideas in the late Edo/bakumatsu period. When people (historians like in the Mito school and intellectuals in the various kogaku and kokugaku schools) started looking at the history of Japan they also started examining the basis of its institutions, the imperial system and the Tokugawa government. Of course you couldn't examine the bakufu too openly without running into deep trouble, so the emphasis was on the Emperor. What purpose did he serve and why? Was he only a kind of priestly intermediary between the country and the gods or was he meant to be an administrative leader too? I think by the 1850s there was considerable (although still mostly tacit) uncertainty as to the actual legitimacy of the bakufu, precisely because it was never founded on any constitution or abstract reasoning: it had all come together in an ad hoc way which made it really difficult to defend, apart from the outdated notion of 'loyalty to the Tokugawa' because the ancestors of various daimyo houses had recognised Ieyasu's military supremacy.

I think Ii did have a romantic notion of restoring things to how they should be: a lost cause. Sad
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Heron wrote:
they also started examining the basis of its institutions, the imperial system and the Tokugawa government. Of course you couldn't examine the bakufu too openly without running into deep trouble, so the emphasis was on the Emperor

According to the introduction to Told round a brushwood fire : the autobiography of Arai Hakuseki (translated and with an introduction and notes by Joyce Ackroyd. University of Tokyo Press, 1979)
Hakuseki (1657-1725), who seems to be considered extremely Edo-orthodox, did discuss the emperor-shogunate relationship, so discussion of politcal theory was not forbidden in the Edo Period. (I don't have the book, so I cannot check.) Ackroyd said there were several (about 4?) theories of the relationship, though the theory that the shogun was an ursurper did not develop until long after Arai's time.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
First of all, I think it is safe to say that we've reached the conclusion that with the help of our friend, Hindsight-san, that the Ansei Purge was not as evil and draconian as it could have been. Ii Naosuke kept his katana sheathed for the most part. Tatsunoshi and Heron helped back up my thinking on that, so you both get some special Ii Naosuke "Hikonyan" points!
Laughing


heron wrote:
I think by the 1850s there was considerable (although still mostly tacit) uncertainty as to the actual legitimacy of the bakufu, precisely because it was never founded on any constitution or abstract reasoning: it had all come together in an ad hoc way which made it really difficult to defend, apart from the outdated notion of 'loyalty to the Tokugawa' because the ancestors of various daimyo houses had recognised Ieyasu's military supremacy.

I think Ii did have a romantic notion of restoring things to how they should be: a lost cause. Sad


Heron, I agree with you on this but there is something that is nagging away at me about the above quote and some of the emerging political thinking that began to challenge the legitimacy of the Tokugawa shogunate. How could these *scholars* rationalize that the bakufu was illegitimate when in theory and practice, every shogun was officially anointed by the Emperor (albeit it was a rubber stamp)? How long had it been since an emperor wielded actual political power in Japan? Were these kogaku and Mito school scholars also not conjuring up romantic notions about something that hadn't truly existed since before the Fujiwara regency? I think the pro-Tokugawa and pro-Imperial factions were both living in self-romanticized fantasy lands. And this may now be a good time to start talking about kōbu gattai in order to see how this concept attempted to bind the two fantasies into a political marriage of convenience that was doomed to fail for a variety of reasons, as we shall soon see.
As I stated before, Naosuke must have known he wasn’t very popular as a result of the Ansei Purge, which was in now in full-swing. Additionally as a student of Chinese history and classic teachings, he also must have known what fate had in store for those who ruled oppressively and without the mandate of heaven (or in this case, it’s son!). It was probably clear to Naosuke that he would now have to offer a skillfully prepared cup of his famous matcha to wash away the sourness that Ansei Purge was leaving in the mouths of those moderates who were sympathetic to Nariaki’s sermons about the importance of Imperial reverence. And wouldn’t it be nice if by gaining the support of the Imperial Court, daimyō and members of the general population, national harmony could be restored AND the bakufu’s power could be reinvigorated?

The Union of Court and Camp
Another one of the “main men” of Bakumatsu scholarship, Conrad Totman, wrote in his essay “Ethnicity in the Meiji Restoration” that , “The kōbu gattai strategy was first undertaken in 1859 by the dictatorial bakufu leader Ii Naosuke, who believed that Tokugawa Nariaki was the cause of misguided and selfish policies. Ii intended kōbu gattai to mean a cooperative solidarity of court and bakufu that commanded loyal obedience of the daimyo and through them control and exploit the resources of all samurai and the entire nation”. In other words, Naosuke intended to use kōbu gattai as a means to foster a spirit of unity among a disharmonious Japan and bring the nation back under the firm control of the Tokugawa bakufu, using the prestige of the Court as a means to this end.

Ii Naosuke didn’t actually invent the concept of kōbu gattai. It was the brainchild of Naosuke’s ally within the Imperial Court, the kampaku Kujō Hisatada. As Emperor Kōmei’s chief minister, Kujō must have been in a very difficult position—as he had to keep his opinionated boss placated while also trying to check the anti-bakufu courtiers from adding fuel to Kōmei’s rage about the Harris Treaty and the Ansei Purge. Then one day it dawned on Kujō that if Kōmei’s young sister, Kazunomiya, could somehow be married off to the new boy shogun Iemochi, this may be the cure-all for the nation’s political ills. Kujō passed on his idea to Naosuke’s main man in Kyoto, Nagano Shuzen, who eagerly embraced the idea and forwarded the plan back to Edo. After taking six weeks to deliberate the pros and cons of the plan and how to mold it into his grand strategy, Naosuke enthusiastically backed the idea. Why? Besides what was already stated, in essence, the Imperial family was sending a hostage, just like the Sengoku Period of yesteryear, guaranteeing Kyoto’s good behavior. A marriage between Court and Camp would make the Shogun and Emperor brother-in-laws, creating another level of family ties. Also, any anti-bakufu activity could now be seen as an attack against the “imperial family”. Thus, plans were put in place make kōbu gattai happen.


Ii Naosuke would not live long enough to see the marriage of Iemochi to Kazunomiya and after his death, many difficult negotiations had to be concluded before Kōmei would give his consent to the marriage proposal. In exchange for giving his sister’s hand to Edo, he expected the bakufu to cancel all treaties with the hated Westerners and go back to being a closed country. The bakufu knew this was impossible, but was willing to tell the Emperor what he wanted to hear as it desperately needed kōbu gattai to succeed on its terms if the regime was going to survive without Ii’s iron leadership.

Questions: Although Kōmei wasn’t necessarily keen at first about sending Kazunomiya to Edo castle, he was along with other courtiers and daimyo very much in favor of kōbu gattai. Why? We know why the Bakufu was supportive of the concept, but what was in it for the Court and daimyō? How would every faction’s support for kōbu gattai ultimately lead to its failure?
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Last edited by Obenjo Kusanosuke on Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:09 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
First of all, I think it is safe to say that we've reached the conclusion that with the help of our friend, Hindsight-san, that the Ansei Purge was not as evil and draconian as it could have been. Ii Naosuke kept his katana sheathed for the most part. Tatsunoshi and Heron helped back up my thinking on that, so you both get some special Ii Naosuke "Hikonyan" points!
Laughing




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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Heron wrote:
they also started examining the basis of its institutions, the imperial system and the Tokugawa government. Of course you couldn't examine the bakufu too openly without running into deep trouble, so the emphasis was on the Emperor

According to the introduction to Told round a brushwood fire : the autobiography of Arai Hakuseki (translated and with an introduction and notes by Joyce Ackroyd. University of Tokyo Press, 1979)
Hakuseki (1657-1725), who seems to be considered extremely Edo-orthodox, did discuss the emperor-shogunate relationship, so discussion of politcal theory was not forbidden in the Edo Period. (I don't have the book, so I cannot check.) Ackroyd said there were several (about 4?) theories of the relationship, though the theory that the shogun was an ursurper did not develop until long after Arai's time.


I've only got extracts from this book so can't reply to your comment in detail - but I think 1) Hakuseki was a bakufu official who wrote to "clarify the legacy and achievements of the shoguns he served: Ienobu and Ietsugu," (Haruo Shirane) so he maybe wasn't very critical and 2) Publications were more restricted after 1725 when Yoshimune moved to control all books and plays. This was the year Hakuseki died.

Discussion may not have been technically forbidden, but what was in print was scrutinised very carefully.

(Shirane translates the title of Arai Hakuseki's autobiography as Record of Breaking and Burning Brushwood which I sort of like more than Told round a Brushwood Fire, which always sounds like the title of a collection of Australian bush yarns Very Happy)


Last edited by heron on Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:12 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
First of all, I think it is safe to say that we've reached the conclusion that with the help of our friend, Hindsight-san, that the Ansei Purge was not as evil and draconian as it could have been. Ii Naosuke kept his katana sheathed for the most part. Tatsunoshi and Heron helped back up my thinking on that, so you both get some special Ii Naosuke "Hikonyan" points!
Laughing




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ditto ditto Very Happy

Quote:
I think the pro-Tokugawa and pro-Imperial factions were both living in self-romanticized fantasy lands.


Do you think this has something to do with Confucianism which was always looking back to a Golden Age, and thinking in terms of 'restoration' rather than modernisation?

I'll try to think of some sensible things to say about kōbu gattai later today.
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