Shinsengumi The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps Ebook or epub By Romulus Hillsborough

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Shinsengumi The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps

Assassination were rampant By the end of 1862 hordes of renegade samurai called ronin had transformed the streets of the Imperial Capital into a sea of bloodThe shogun's administrators were desperate to stop the terror A band of expert swordsmen was formed It was given the name Shinsengumi Newly Selected Corps and commissioned to eliminate the ronin and other enemies of the Bakufu With unrestrained brutality bolstered by an official sanction to kill the Shinsengumi soon became the shogun's most dreaded security forceIn this vivid historical narrative of the Shinsengumi the only one in the English language author Romulus Hillsborough paints a provocative and thrilling picture of this fascinating period in Japanese histo. As the only book available in English about the Shinsengumi this detailed and well researched account should be essential reading for anyone interested in the bloody upheaval of the Bakumatsu era and Meiji Restoration especially those whose Japanese skills much like mine are unfortunately nowhere near sufficient to avail themselves of the numerous works by Japanese authors on the subject that have never been translated and thereby made available to an international audience Hillsborough draws on many of those works for his book and includes numerous excerpts from eyewitness accounts translated by himself for use in this account such as Nagakura Shinpachi s memoir which I would cheerfully commit murder to get my hands on in translation damn it which alone make this an absolute gem for the non Japanese history buff as fascinated by the subject of the Shinsengumi as I am

review ✓ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ó Romulus Hillsborough

Shinsengumi The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps is the true story of the notorious samurai corps formed in 1863 to arrest or kill the enemies of the Tokugawa ShogunThe only book in English about the Shinsengumi it focuses on the corps' two charismatic leaders Kondo Isami and Hijikata Toshizo both impeccable swordsmen It is a history–in–brief of the final years of the Bakufu which collapsed in 1867 with the restoration of Imperial rule In writing Shinsengumi Hillsborough referred mostly to Japanese–language primary sources including letters memoirs journals interviews and eyewitness accounts as well as definitive biographies and histories of the eraThe fall of the shogun's government Tokugawa Bakufu or simply Bakufu in. So what do the Hell s Angels and the Shinsengumi have in common They both had a propensity for violence a strict internal code of conduct and an alarmingly excessive reaction to insult real or perceived Also they probably would have slaughtered each other on sightA couple of years ago Japan s national TV network NHK aired a Sunday night drama about the Shinsengumi a band of samurai who operated in Kyoto at the end of the Edo period While I didn t watch it mainly because I was working and even if I had I wouldn t have understood my students kept me updated and it sounds like NHK did a nice job of romanticizing the group Indeed if the sudden upswing in traffic around Mibu temple is any indication NHK made them look positively heroicRomulus Hillsborough which for the record is an awesome name takes a different approach to the Shinsengumi story proving once again that in history as with so many other things how you see things depends on where you standThe 1860s were a bad decade Every American schoolchild can tell you that But it was bad in Japan as well on a similar level You see for the previous 250 years Japan had pretty much shut itself off from the Western world There was limited contact with China and Korea but as for Europe and the Americas Nothing Japan wanted nothing to do with the white devils and did a fantastic job keeping us outBut the march of progress is inescapable and by the mid 1800s word got round to the Shogun that Great Britain had been working its way across Asia taking out India and China through treaty deception and conuest This naturally worried the Shogun who although being the military head of the country had not fought a significant military battle since Sekigahara in 1600 well not the same shogun but you get what I mean The Tokugawa family ruled over a peaceful landthe Emperors stayed out of the way in Kyoto and everything was copaceticIn other words ripe for some rampaging foreign power to take overLucky for Japan the first rampaging foreign power to show up on their doorstep was the United States Admiral Perry and his Black Ships arrived in Edo now Tokyo in 1853 with trade agreements and heavy cannon and announced that they would be happy to start trading with the land of the rising sun And if the land of the rising sun wasn t too keen on that well maybe a few well placed shells would change their mindsThe shogun at the time Tokugawa Iesada was no idiot In 1854 a Treaty of Peace and Amity was signed in Kanagawa opening Japanese ports to western ships for the first time and basically ending the era of seclusionThat s when all hell broke looseMost of the people living in Japan at the time had never seen a foreign person and could rely only on rumor and misinformation to know what Westerners were like pale skinned long nosed blondes as it turned out No one knew what to expect from their new neighbors and frankly no one wanted to find out Despite the Amity of the treaty everyone knew that the only reason the American and British and Dutch had been let in was because they had better guns Everyone from the Shogun to the Emperor all the way down to the lowest burakumin wanted the foreigners kicked as far out of the country as they could get With the possible exception of Sakamoto Ryoma but we ll get to him laterTwo factions opened up There were the Imperial loyalists who wanted to overthrow the Tokugawa bakufu and restore the Emperor to power while kicking out the foreigners And there were the Tokugawa loyalists who stood behind their lord and master and who would fight to the death to keep him in power While kicking out the foreigners The famed Samurai who had really nothing to do for two and a half centuries but collect their stipends and harass commoners finally had their chance to see some action Many of them left their homes and became ronin ready to fight for whomever would give them a chanceThe city of Kyoto was the Imperial city and if Tokugawa Wosshisname there were four Tokugawa shoguns between 1853 and 1868 were to keep the imperial loyalists in line he would have to do it there So a man named Matsudaira Katamori a close personal friend of the shogun s head of the Matsudaira clan and Lord of Aizu and came up with an idea for keeping order in Kyoto With the help of longtime friend and violence enthusiast Kiyokawa Hachiro they got together the best of the wandering ronin and brought them to the village of Mibu in Kyoto where I now live They made uite an impact on the community and were soon given the cute nickname of Mibu WolvesThe Mibu Wolves were soon shaped and molded into the Shinsengumi The Newly Selected Group by three iron willed men Kondo Isami Hijikata Toshizo and Serizawa Kamo Each of these men left lasting impressions on the Shinsengumi and on Japanese historySo what was the impression Well the Shinsengumi were a kind of police force for Kyoto keeping the locals in line and watching for any threats against the shogunate Unlike a regular police force however they had almost limitless power within the city Their word was enough to arrest convict and execute someone There was no slight too small to provoke violence and murder and no length they would not go to to destroy the enemies of Tokugawa They fought to the end to keep the Shogun in power even after Tokugawa Yoshinobu the fifteenth and final Tokugawa shogun abdicated control of the country to Emperor MeijiYou could take the NHK view that the Shinsengumi were on the wrong side of history trying to uphold the virtues of their fathers and grandfathers and that they were trying to keep the nation they loved from falling apart or changing irreparablyHillsborough takes the point of view that the Shinsengumi were deluded with the germ of self importance That they couldn t see the broader picture of history unfolding around them and reacted to change the only way they knew how with their swords That they were thugs and bullies relics of an age that should have ended long before it did Perhaps the Shinsengumi were inevitable perhaps they were even necessary for the Meiji Restoration to take place But if even half the stories about them were true they are not a group of men that I would really want to hang out withIt s a very informative book if a little too short Hillsborough says in the beginning that you re reading a historical narrative which should be taken carefully Given the lack of primary sources knowing exactly what happened when is difficult Many texts on the Shinsengumi contradict each other and for a long time they were not a polite subject of research Think about it from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 through the surrender to the United States in 1945 the Emperor was a living god and a subject of reverence among the people of Japan Who then would have the balls to do research into the group that was actively opposing imperial ruleStill it s a good read It s even better when you actually live in Kyoto I can see Mibu temple from my balcony I ve walked past the site of the old Ikeda ya where the Shinsengumi foiled a plot to burn down Kyoto and kidnap a high ranking Tokugawa ally hundreds of times I can walk to the site where Ito Kashitarou was assassinated for splitting from the group History becomes much fun when you re right where it happened

Romulus Hillsborough Ó 5 Free read

1868 which had ruled Japan for over two and a half centuries was the greatest event in modern Japanese historyThe revolution known as the Meiji Restoration began with the violent reaction of samurai to the Bakufu's decision in 1854 to open the theretofore isolated country to Western barbarians Though opening the country was unavoidable it was seen as a sign of weakness by the samurai who clad to expel the barbariansThose samurai plotted to overthrow the shogun and restore the holy emperor to his ancient seat of power Screaming heaven's revenge they wielded their swords with a vengeance upon those loyal to the shogunThey unleashed a wave of terror at the center of the revolution the emperor's capital of Kyoto Murder and. An ambitious attempt to write the first English treatment of this controversial unit Coverage of topics was broad which was good Resource list was big but I feel not diverse enough Concerning to me were also a number of translation and reading errors in renderings of Japanese names and uotes Overall in my opinion despite the author s having secured the aid of descendants the book feels like a first draft I feel it would have benefited greatly from the perspective and editorial assistance of people professionally trained in the field of Japanese history Finally the language was too flowery and too unnecessarily graphic for my tasteI recommend those who read this book and are interested in late Edo period law enforcement to read Professor Daniel V Botsman s book entitled Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan

10 thoughts on “Shinsengumi The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps

  1. says:

    So what do the Hell's Angels and the Shinsengumi have in common? They both had a propensity for violence a strict internal code of conduct and an alarmingly excessive reaction to insult real or perceived Also they probably would have slaughtered each other on sightA couple of years ago Japan's national TV network NHK aired a Sunda

  2. says:

    Initially i did not care for this book because i expected from it however that was 12 years ago so i have changed my review because i have read it 3 times since than The Shinsengumi are a fascinating topic and this is the first bio in English The star of this book is Hijikata Toshizo the charismatic pretty boy vice captain The group never achieved anything like Ryoma they were a bunch of young podunks from a suburb of

  3. says:

    Though this book is rich in historical detail that is difficult to find I do not like it very much Mr Hillsborough is very biased against the

  4. says:

    Shinsengumi tells the true story of the ruthless group of two sworded killers assembled by the Tokugawa Shogunate to stave off rebellion against its rule It is not perhaps the best starting point for a history of

  5. says:

    An ambitious attempt to write the first English treatment of this controversial unit Coverage of topics was broad which was good Resource lis

  6. says:

    Massively disorganized and spare of detail this book has been a chore to read Further should I encounter the phrase self im

  7. says:

    It's so sad I read this book in Romanian and I thought the translation was bad Then I searched for the English edition and

  8. says:

    As the only book available in English about the Shinsengumi this detailed and well researched account should be essential

  9. says:

    I should have read the reviews The book is very inconsistent and filled with too much personal opinions for a non fiction historical treatement

  10. says:

    I wanted to like the book I really did just for the subject matter alone I picked it up I'll be honest because the Shinsengumi are referenced uite a lot in Japanese animation There are monuments to these guys and an air of admiration and awe for the Shinsengumi But for what? I only had a bare minimum idea So I looked up books about it Appar

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