I BET you don’t know much about this war… neither did I until researching this spot in Japan featured in today’s photo. Below is from Wikipedia:
The Boshin War (戊辰戦争 Boshin Sensō, “War of the Year of the Yang Earth Dragon”), also known as the Japanese Revolution, was a civil war fought in Japan between the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate and supporters of the Imperial Court from 27 January 1868 to 27 June 1869.
The Tokugawa Shogunate’s handling of foreigners following the Opening of Japan during the 1850s and decline from increasing Western influence in the economy disillusioned many kazoku nobles and young samurai warriors, who sought to return power to the Emperor’s Imperial Court in Kyoto after 683 years of Shogunate rule. An alliance of court officials and western samurai, particularly from the domains of Chōshū, Satsuma and Tosa, supported by the United Kingdom secured control of the Imperial Court. Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the sitting shōgun, abdicated political power to the young Emperor Meiji hoping that the House of Tokugawa could be preserved and participate in the future government. Military movements by Imperial forces, French support, partisan violence in Edo, and an imperial decree abolishing the Tokugawa promoted by Satsuma and Chōshū led Yoshinobu to launch a military campaign to seize the Emperor’s court in Kyoto. The conflict rapidly turned against the Shogunate, and Yoshinobu personally surrendered after a series of battles culminating in the surrender of Edo. Tokugawa loyalists retreated to northern Honshū where they joined the Northern Alliance against the Imperial faction, but were defeated several months later and fled to Hokkaidō. In January 1869, the Shogunate established the Republic of Ezo on Hokkaidō to continue their rule as a separate state and sued for peace. The Imperial faction invaded Hokkaidō and defeated the Shogunate at the Battle of Hakodate in June, ending the war.
The Boshin War made imperial rule supreme throughout the whole of Japan, completing the military phase of the Meiji Restoration and establishing the Empire of Japan. The victorious Imperial faction abandoned its objective to expel foreigners from Japan, and instead adopted a policy of continued modernization and industrialization to eventual renegotiation of the unequal treaties with the Western powers. Tokugawa loyalists were shown clemency due to the persistence of Saigō Takamori, a prominent leader of the Imperial faction, and many former Shogunate leaders and samurai were later given positions of responsibility under the new government. Around 120,000 men were mobilized during the conflict and of these about 3,500 were killed, and over time the war has been romanticized as a “bloodless revolution” because of the small number of casualties.
Daily Photo – Tsuruga-jō Castle in Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima
Believe it or not, I got really good at saying all these super-long Japanese names while I was there! I pretty much had to, since hardly anyone spoke English and I had to navigate the serpentine rail and bus system. I didn’t have much time in Aizuwakamatsu-shi, but I wanted to make sure this classic old castle was on the list… It took me down a whole interesting history lesson in one of the many Japanese civil wars.