Tokugawa Yoshinobu

Last updated
Prince
Tokugawa Yoshinobu
徳川 慶喜
1867 Osaka Yoshinobu Tokugawa.jpg
Yoshinobu in 1867
Shōgun
In officeAugust 29, 1866 — 19 November 1867
Predecessor Tokugawa Iemochi
Successor Position abolished
Itō Hirobumi (as Prime Minister of Japan)
Monarch
Member of the House of Peers
In office1902–1910
Born(1837-10-28)October 28, 1837
Edo, Japan
DiedNovember 22, 1913(1913-11-22) (aged 76)
Bunkyō, Japan
Burial
Spouse Ichijo Mikako  [ jp ]
House Tokugawa clan
Father Tokugawa Nariaki
Mother Arisugawa Yoshiko
Signature Tokugawa Yoshinobu kao.jpg
Japanese name
Kanji 徳川 慶喜
Hiragana とくがわ よしのぶ
Katakana トクガワ ヨシノブ

Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu (徳川 慶喜, also known as Keiki; October 28, 1837 – November 22, 1913) was the 15th and last shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. He was part of a movement which aimed to reform the aging shogunate, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He resigned his position as shogun in late 1867, while aiming at keeping some political influence. After these efforts failed following the defeat at the Battle of Toba–Fushimi in early 1868, he went into retirement, and largely avoided the public eye for the rest of his life.

Contents

Early life

Tokugawa Yoshinobu was born in Edo as the seventh son of Tokugawa Nariaki, daimyō of Mito. Mito was one of the gosanke , the three branch families of the Tokugawa clan which were eligible to be chosen as shōgun . His birth name was Matsudaira Shichirōmaro (松平七郎麻呂) [1] His mother, Princess Arisugawa Yoshiko, was a member of the Arisugawa-no-miya, a cadet branch of the imperial family; through her, he was a third cousin (once removed) of the then-Emperor Ninkō. Shichirōmaro was brought up under strict, spartan supervision and tutelage. [2] His father Nariaki followed the example of the second Mito daimyo, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1661-1690), who had sent all his sons after the firstborn to be raised in Mito. Shichirōmaro was seven months old when he arrived in Mito in 1838. He was taught in the literary and martial arts, as well as receiving a solid education in the principles of politics and government at Kōdōkan. [3]

Yoshinobu in ceremonial dress Tokugawa yoshinobu.jpg
Yoshinobu in ceremonial dress

At the instigation of his father, Shichirōmaro was adopted by the Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa family in order to have a better chance of succeeding to the shogunate [4] and changed his first name to Akimune (昭致). He became family head in 1847, coming of age that year, receiving court rank and title, and taking the name Yoshinobu. [5] Upon the death of the 13th shōgun, Iesada, in 1858, Yoshinobu was nominated as a potential successor. [6] His supporters touted his skill and efficiency in managing family affairs. However, the opposing faction, led by Ii Naosuke, won out. Their candidate, the young Tokugawa Yoshitomi, was chosen, and became the 14th shōgun Iemochi. [7] Soon after, during the Ansei Purge, Yoshinobu and others who supported him were placed under house arrest. [8] Yoshinobu himself was made to retire from Hitotsubashi headship.

The period of Ii's domination of the Tokugawa government was marked by mismanagement and political infighting. Upon Ii's assassination in 1860, Yoshinobu was reinstated as Hitotsubashi family head, and was nominated in 1862 to be the shōgun's guardian (将軍後見職, shōgun kōken-shoku), receiving the position soon afterwards. [9] At the same time, his two closest allies, Matsudaira Yoshinaga and Matsudaira Katamori, were appointed to other high positions: Yoshinaga as chief of political affairs (政治総裁職, seiji sōsai shoku), [10] Katamori as Guardian of Kyoto (京都守護職, Kyoto Shugoshoku ). [11] The three men then took numerous steps to quell political unrest in the Kyoto area, and gathered allies to counter the activities of the rebellious Chōshū Domain. They were instrumental figures in the kōbu gattai political party, which sought a reconciliation between the shogunate and the imperial court. [12]

In 1864, Yoshinobu, as commander of the imperial palace's defense, defeated the Chōshū forces in their attempt to capture the imperial palace's Hamaguri Gate (蛤御門, Hamaguri-Gomon) in what is called the Kinmon Incident. This was achieved by use of the forces of the AizuSatsuma coalition. [13]

Shōgun (1866–1867)

Members of the French military mission to Japan, invited by Tokugawa Yoshinobu for the modernization of his forces, in 1867 Members of French Military Mission to Japan in 1867.png
Members of the French military mission to Japan, invited by Tokugawa Yoshinobu for the modernization of his forces, in 1867

After the death of Tokugawa Iemochi in 1866, Yoshinobu was chosen to succeed him, and became the 15th shōgun . [14] He was the only Tokugawa shōgun to spend his entire tenure outside of Edo: he never set foot in Edo Castle as shōgun. [15] Immediately upon Yoshinobu's ascension as shōgun, major changes were initiated. A massive government overhaul was undertaken to initiate reforms that would strengthen the Tokugawa government. In particular, assistance from the Second French Empire was organized, with the construction of the Yokosuka arsenal under Léonce Verny, and the dispatch of a French military mission to modernize the armies of the bakufu . [16]

The national army and navy, which had already been formed under Tokugawa command, were strengthened by the assistance of the Russians, and the Tracey Mission provided by the British Royal Navy. Equipment was also purchased from the United States. [17] The outlook among many was that the Tokugawa Shogunate was gaining ground towards renewed strength and power; however, it fell in less than a year.

Boshin War (1868–69)

Fearing the renewed strengthening of the Tokugawa shogunate under a strong and wise ruler, samurai from Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa formed an alliance to counter it. Under the banner of sonnō jōi ("revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians!") coupled with a fear of the new shōgun as the "Rebirth of Ieyasu" (家康の再来) who would continue to usurp the power of the Emperor, they worked to bring about an end to the shogunate, though they varied in their approaches. In particular, Tosa was more moderate; it proposed a compromise whereby Yoshinobu would resign as shōgun, but preside over a new national governing council composed of various daimyōs . To this end, Yamanouchi Toyonori, the lord of Tosa, together with his advisor, Gotō Shōjirō, petitioned Yoshinobu to resign in order to make this possible. [18]

On November 9, 1867, Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor and formally stepped down ten days later, returning governing power to the Emperor. [19] He then withdrew from Kyoto to Osaka. However, Satsuma and Chōshū, while supportive of a governing council of daimyōs, were opposed to Yoshinobu leading it. [18] They secretly obtained an imperial edict [18] calling for the use of force against Yoshinobu (later shown to be a forgery) [20] and moved a massive number of Satsuma and Chōshū troops into Kyoto. [21] There was a meeting called at the imperial court, where Yoshinobu was stripped of all titles and land, [22] despite having taken no action that could be construed as aggressive or criminal. Any who would have opposed this were not included in the meeting. [21] Yoshinobu opposed this action, and composed a message of protest, to be delivered to the imperial court; [23] at the urging of the leaders of Aizu, Kuwana, and other domains, and in light of the immense number of Satsuma and Chōshū troops in Kyoto, he dispatched a large body of troops to convey this message to the court. [24]

When the Tokugawa forces arrived outside Kyoto, they were refused entry, and were attacked by Satsuma and Chōshū troops, starting the Battle of Toba–Fushimi, the first clash of the Boshin War. [25] Though the Tokugawa forces had a distinct advantage in numbers, Yoshinobu abandoned his army in the midst of the fight once he realized the Satsuma and Chōshū forces raised the Imperial banner, and escaped to Edo. [26] He placed himself under voluntary confinement, and indicated his submission to the imperial court. However, a peace agreement was reached wherein Tayasu Kamenosuke, the young head of a branch of the Tokugawa family, was adopted and made Tokugawa family head; [27] On April 11, Edo Castle was handed over to the imperial army, [28] [29] and the city spared from all-out war.

Together with Kamenosuke (who took the name Tokugawa Iesato), Yoshinobu moved to Shizuoka. Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, had also retired to Shizuoka, centuries earlier. Iesato was made the daimyō of the new Shizuoka Domain, but lost this title a few years later, when the domains were abolished. Even after losing his position as ruling shogun, Yoshinobu strove to promote his son Iesato's political career so that he could attain the highest level of influence in the Japanese Imperial court, and also serve as a bridge between old world Japan and modern emerging Japan both domestically and internationally. The close relationship between father and son is highlighted in the illustrated biography on Prince Tokugawa Iesato titled The Art of Peace. [30]

Tokugawa Yoshinobu in court uniform Yoshinobu Tokugawa 2.jpg
Tokugawa Yoshinobu in court uniform

Many of the hatamoto also relocated to Shizuoka; a large proportion of them did not find adequate means to support themselves. As a result, many of them resented Yoshinobu, some of them to the point of wanting him dead. [31] Yoshinobu was aware of this, and was so afraid of assassination that he redesigned his sleeping arrangement to confuse any potential assassin. [32]

Later life

Kyudo was one of his elaborate hobbies, and it is said that he continued to draw a bow every day until the spring of his 77th year. Tokugawa Yoshinobu Kyudo with Yumi.jpg
Kyudo was one of his elaborate hobbies, and it is said that he continued to draw a bow every day until the spring of his 77th year.

Living a life in quiet retirement, Yoshinobu indulged in many hobbies, including oil painting, kyudo (archery), hunting, photography, and cycling. [33] Some of Yoshinobu's photographs have been published in recent years by his great-grandson, Yoshitomo. [34] His other great-grandson, Yasuhisa Tokugawa of the Mito line, is the former Chief Priest at Yasukuni Shrine and current Kaicho of the Kokusai Budoin (IMAF).

In 1902, the Emperor Meiji allowed him to re-establish his own house as a Tokugawa branch (bekke) with the highest rank in the peerage, that of prince (kōshaku), for his loyal service to Japan. [35] He took a seat in the House of Peers, and resigned in 1910. Tokugawa Yoshinobu died on 21 November 1913 at 16:10 and is buried in Yanaka Cemetery, Tokyo.

On 9 January 1896, his ninth daughter Tsuneko Tokugawa (1882–1939) married Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu, a second cousin to both Emperor Hirohito and Empress Kōjun and nephew of Prince Kan'in Kotohito.

On 26 December 1911, his granddaughter Kikuko Tokugawa was born. She married Prince Takamatsu, the brother of Emperor Hirohito, to become Princess Takamatsu.

Portrait of Tokugawa Yoshinobu in his later years TOKUGAWA Yoshinobu.jpg
Portrait of Tokugawa Yoshinobu in his later years

Honors

Order of precedence

Eras of Yoshinobu's bakufu

The years in which Yoshinobu was shōgun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō .

Family

His grandson Tokugawa Hiromi graduated as part of the 65th Class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in March 1938.[ citation needed ] On July 12, 1943, he was killed in action during World War II when his ship, the submarine Ro-101, was fired on by the destroyer USS Taylor in Indispensable Strait near Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.[ citation needed ] Shrapnel cut down Tokugawa and two enlisted lookouts, but the submarine was able to dive and escape. Tokugawa was posthumously promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

See also

Notes

  1. Takano, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, p. 26. Sons of the lord of Mito did not bear the name Tokugawa unless they themselves became the next lord.
  2. Tokugawa, Tokugawa yonbyakunen no naishobanashi, pp. 138–140.
  3. Takano, p. 28.
  4. Takano, p. 38.
  5. Takano, p. 48.
  6. Borton, Japan's Modern Century, p. 40.
  7. Borton, pp. 39–40.
  8. Takano, pp. 12–13.
  9. Murray, Japan, p. 362; Kobiyama, Matsudaira Katamori no shōgai, p. 75; Bolitho, Collapse of the Tokugawa Bakufu, p. 9.
  10. Kobiyama, p. 75.
  11. Takano, pp. 132–133.
  12. Kobiyama, pp. 84–87; Totman, p. 45; Takano, p. 20.
  13. See Japan 1853–1864, Or, Genji Yume Monogatari, trans. by Ernest Mason Satow. (Tokyo: Naigai Shuppan Kyokai), for more.
  14. Borton, p. 63.
  15. Tokugawa, Tokugawa yonbyakunen no naishobanashi, vol. 2, p. 162.
  16. Sims, French Policy Towards the Bakufu and Meiji Japan, 1854–95, p. 236.
  17. Treat, Japan and the United States: 1853–1921, p. 89
  18. 1 2 3 Beasley, The History of Modern Japan, p. 96.
  19. Takano, p. 256.
  20. Yamakawa, Aizu Boshin Senshi, pp. 7–9.
  21. 1 2 Beasley, p. 97.
  22. Beasley, p. 97; Yamakawa, Aizu Boshin Senshi, p. 148–151.
  23. Totman, p. 416. For a copy of the original text of the message, see Yamakawa, pp. 89–90.
  24. Totman, p. 417.
  25. Sasaki, pp. 23–24; Bolitho, pp. 420–422.
  26. Kobiyama, p. 124.
  27. Griffis, The Mikado: Institution and Person, p. 141.
  28. Takano, p. 267.
  29. Tokyo, an administrative perspective. Tokyo Metropolitan Government. 1958. p. 21. Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  30. "Introduction to The Art of Peace: the illustrated biography of Prince Iyesato Tokugawa". TheEmperorAndTheSpy.com. 2019. Archived from the original on 2020-08-05.
  31. Tokugawa Munefusa, Tokugawa yonbyakunen no naisho banashi, vol. 1, p. 131
  32. Tokugawa, pp. 131–133
  33. Tokugawa, pp. 136–138.
  34. For an example of Yoshinobu's photography, see: Tokugawa Yoshitomo, Tokugawa Yoshinobu-ke e yōkoso, p. 73.
  35. Takano, p. 273.
  36. Ibaraki Prefecture e-newsletter Archived 2007-12-02 at the Wayback Machine

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokugawa Nariaki</span> Japanese daimyo

Tokugawa Nariaki was a prominent Japanese daimyō who ruled the Mito Domain and contributed to the rise of nationalism and the Meiji Restoration.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Boshin War</span> 1868–1869 Japanese civil war

The Boshin War, sometimes known as the Japanese Revolution or Japanese Civil War, was a civil war in Japan fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and a coalition seeking to seize political power in the name of the Imperial Court.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokugawa Iemochi</span> 14th shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan

Tokugawa Iemochi was the 14th shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, who held office from 1858 to 1866. During his reign there was much internal turmoil as a result of the "re-opening" of Japan to western nations. Iemochi's reign also saw a weakening of the shogunate.

<i>Shinsengumi</i> 19th century Japanese special police force

The Shinsengumi was a small, elite group of swordsmen that was organized by commoners and low rank samurai, commissioned by the bakufu during Japan's Bakumatsu period in 1863. It was active until 1869. It was founded to protect the shogunate representatives in Kyoto at a time when a controversial imperial edict to exclude foreign trade from Japan had been made and the Chōshū clan had been forced from the imperial court. They gained considerable fame in the Ikedaya incident and the August 18 coup events, among others. The men were drawn from the sword schools of Edo.

<i>Fudai daimyō</i> Class of daimyō (warlords) during the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Fudai daimyō (譜代大名) was a class of daimyō (大名) in the Tokugawa Shogunate (徳川幕府) of Japan who were hereditary vassals of the Tokugawa before the Battle of Sekigahara. Fudai daimyō and their descendants filled the ranks of the Tokugawa administration in opposition to the tozama daimyō and held most of the power in Japan during the Edo period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matsudaira Katamori</span> Japanese samurai

Matsudaira Katamori was a samurai who lived in Bakumatsu period and the early to mid Meiji period Japan. He was the 9th daimyō of the Aizu Domain and the Kyoto Shugoshoku. He initiated and established the Shinsengumi in 1863. During the Boshin War, he led Aizu Domain against the incipient Meiji government, but was severely defeated at the Battle of Aizu. Katamori's life was spared, and he later became the head kannushi of the Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine. He, along with his three brothers Matsudaira Sadaaki, Tokugawa Yoshikatsu, and Tokugawa Mochiharu, had highly influential roles during the Meiji restoration and were called the "four Takasu brothers".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokugawa clan</span> Japanese noble family which ruled as a shogunate from 1603 to 1867

The Tokugawa clan is a Japanese dynasty which produced the Tokugawa shoguns who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867 during the Edo period. It was formerly a powerful daimyō family. They nominally descended from Emperor Seiwa (850–880) and were a branch of the Minamoto clan through the Matsudaira clan. The early history of the clan remains a mystery.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matsudaira clan</span> Japanese samurai clan

The Matsudaira clan was a Japanese samurai clan that descended from the Minamoto clan. It originated in and took its name from Matsudaira village, in Mikawa Province. During the Sengoku period, the chieftain of the main line of the Matsudaira clan, Matsudaira Motoyasu became a powerful regional daimyo under Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi and changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu. He subsequently seized power as the first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan during the Edo period until the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Under the Tokugawa shogunate, many cadet branches of the clan retained the Matsudaira surname, and numerous new branches were formed in the decades after Ieyasu. Some of those branches were also of daimyō status.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Satsuma Domain</span> Japanese historical feudal estate

The Satsuma Domain, briefly known as the Kagoshima Domain, was a domain (han) of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan during the Edo period from 1602 to 1871.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Toba–Fushimi</span> 1868 battle of the Boshin War in Fushimi, Kyoto, Japan

The Battle of Toba–Fushimi occurred between pro-Imperial and Tokugawa shogunate forces during the Boshin War in Japan. The battle started on 27 January 1868, when the forces of the shogunate and the allied forces of Chōshū, Satsuma and Tosa Domains clashed near Fushimi, Kyoto. The battle lasted for four days, ending in a decisive defeat for the shogunate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Utsunomiya Castle</span> 1868 battle in Japan

The Battle of Utsunomiya Castle took place between pro-imperial and Tokugawa shogunate forces during the Boshin War in Japan in May 1868. It occurred as the troops of the Tokugawa shogunate were retreating north towards Nikkō and Aizu.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Hokuetsu</span> 1868 battle of the Boshin War

The Battle of Hokuetsu took place during the Boshin War of the Meiji Restoration, which occurred in 1868 in the northwestern part of Japan, in the area of modern Niigata Prefecture.

Yoshitomo Tokugawa was the 4th-generation head of the Tokugawa Yoshinobu-ke, the branch of the Tokugawa line started by the last Shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aizu Domain</span> Historical state

Aizu Domain was a domain of the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan during the Edo period from 1601 to 1871.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matsudaira Yoshinaga</span>

Matsudaira Yoshinaga, also known as Matsudaira Keiei, or better known as Matsudaira Shungaku (春嶽) was a Japanese daimyō of the Edo period. He was head of the Fukui Domain in Echizen Province. He is counted as one of the "Four Wise Lords of the Bakumatsu period", along with Date Munenari, Yamauchi Yōdō and Shimazu Nariakira. "Yoshinaga" is his imina and "Shungaku" is his .

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matsudaira Sadaaki</span>

Matsudaira Sadaaki was a Japanese daimyō of the Bakumatsu period, who was the last ruler of the Kuwana Domain. Sadaaki was the adopted heir of Matsudaira Sadamichi, the descendant of Sadatsuna, the third son of Hisamatsu Sadakatsu (1569–1623), who was Tokugawa Ieyasu's brother. His family was known as the Hisamatsu Matsudaira clan. It was to this family that Matsudaira Sadanobu also belonged.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokugawa Yoshikatsu</span>

Tokugawa Yoshikatsu was a Japanese daimyō of the late Edo period, who ruled the Owari Domain as its 14th (1849–1858) and 17th daimyō (1870–1880). He was the brother of Matsudaira Katamori. His childhood name was Hidenosuke (秀之助).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iyo-Matsuyama Domain</span> Administrative division in southwestern Japan during the Edo period (1608–1871)

Iyo-Matsuyama Domain was a feudal domain under the Tokugawa shogunate of Edo period Japan, in what is now central Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. It was centered around Matsuyama Castle, and was ruled throughout most of its history by the shinpan daimyō Hisamatsu-Matsudaira clan. Iyo-Matsuyama Domain was dissolved in the abolition of the han system in 1871 and is now part of Ehime Prefecture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tokugawa Akitake</span>

Tokugawa Akitake was a younger half-brother of the Japanese Shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu and final daimyō of Mito Domain. He represented the Tokugawa shogunate at the courts of several European powers during the final days of Bakumatsu period Japan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aomatsuba Incident</span> 1868 incident at Nagoya Castle, Japan

The Aomatsuba Incident took place from February 13 to 18, 1868 in Nagoya Castle, central Japan.

References

Further reading

Works of fiction

Military offices
Preceded by Sei-i Taishōgun
August 29, 1866 – January 3, 1868
Shogunate abolished
Preceded by TITULAR 
Sei-i Taishōgun
January 3, 1868 – June 19, 1868
Reason for succession failure:
Shogunate abolished
Succeeded by