Act Seven: Death always comes unexpectedly …
White chrysanthemum -
Here are the scissors in front of her
Frozen for a moment …
At about nine o'clock on a cold evening on November 15, 1867, Nakaoka Shintaro from Tosa Khan arrived at the Omiya inn with three companions. Then one of the samurai who were here asked his servant if Mr. Saya was staying here - that was Ryoma's nickname. The unsuspecting servant replied in the affirmative and led the guests up the stairs. And then one of the samurai drew his sword and stabbed him in the back, then all four ran up the stairs and went deep into the dark corridor. Opening the sliding doors leading to Ryom's room, one of them shouted, "Mr. Saya, how I looked forward to this meeting!"
Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu defends Osaka Castle. Japanese picture in the uki-yo genre. Los Angeles Regional Museum of Art.
Ryoma raised his head and the assassin stabbed him, leaving a wound on the side of his skull.
While trying to draw his sword, Ryoma received another stab in the back. The third blow fell on Ryom's scabbard, and immediately he was wounded again in the head. In the cramped room, in the heat of the battle, Nakaoka Shintaro suffered at the hands of another assassin; he tried to run out into the corridor, but was wounded again. The killers left the inn in a hurry, not even having time to finish off their victims. Ryoma saw the reflection of his face on the blade of the sword, whispered, "Wounded in the head … I'm finished," and passed out. Nakaoka Shintaro, lying unconscious, was found by the innkeeper. He died two days later, but managed to tell in detail what happened that fateful evening. So Sakamoto Ryoma died on his thirty-second birthday.
Bronze sculpture of Ryoma Sakamoto at Kazagashira Park in Nagasaki.
Who was responsible for Ryoma's death, the Japanese still argue. The fact is that the shugo, the chief of police in Kyoto, were subordinate to two police organizations: the shinsengumi and the mimawarigumi. When Matsudaira Katamori, Lord of Aizu, was appointed to the position of shugo, his warriors lived at the Komyoji Temple. The Mimawarigumi occupied one of the annexes of the Ko-myji temple and performed their duties in the temples of the city. Ryoma was considered a criminal because he shot one of the police officers with a revolver during the attack at the inn, Teradaya, so it is not surprising that the police were after him. In the memoirs of Teshirogi Suguemon, a Shinsengumi employee under Matsudaira Katamori, it is said that it was Katamori who ordered Ryoma to be killed, and a source like Suguemon can be trusted. But if Ryoma was a criminal, why were the Mimawarigumi police hunting him down? And - the main thing is why it was necessary to kill him, because it would have been much easier to arrest him and, for the edification of everyone else, to judge and punish according to the law!
An image of an alien used as a target for shooting.
If it’s not about the police’s desire to take revenge, then who would benefit from Ryom’s death? The answer seems to be simple: those who wanted to deal with the bakufu by force, but could not, since the most authoritative voice spoke out against the civil war.
Ryoma's name means "dragon horse". He appeared on the political arena in Japan, when the days of the samurai class were already numbered and swept through it like a dragon across the sky. He became a man who united all those who wanted Japan to turn from a backward feudal society into a modern prosperous power, and he passed away tragically, in the prime of life. His dream of making Japan a free country open to international trade was only fully realized after World War II.
Eighth act. You can't live without blood!
The soldiers are wandering
Huddled together on a muddy road
What a cold!
To the delight of the Choshu radicals, in December 1867, Emperor Komei, who disliked the warlike samurai and young ambitious aristocrats from Choshu, died of smallpox. His death was so timely and convenient for Choshu that a rumor spread across Kyoto that the emperor was killed by aristocratic extremists. The heir to Mutsuhito. Emperor Meiji, was only fourteen years old, and in this difficult situation he was completely helpless: his guardians were able to deal with enemies, hiding behind the imperial flag. After Ryoma's death, no one could stop Choshu and Satsuma from taking revenge on Tokugawa. Yamanouchi Yedo of Tosa Khan strongly rebelled against extreme measures and offered a compromise acceptable to the shogun: his title should be abolished, but he should be left with the lands and the post of prime minister, head of the council of influential daimyo. However, this proposal did not suit Choshu and Satsuma. During a meeting at the court, the radicals threatened Yodo with reprisals so that he would not interfere with the activities of the conspiracy against the shogun Keiki. So Ryom's dreams of a peaceful transfer of power from the shogun to the emperor died with him.
French military mission in Japan. The British supported the emperor, but the French relied on the shogun, but lost with him.
In January 1868, the young Emperor Meiji, who fell under the influence of radicals, announced that from now on, all power in the country belongs only to him. Cunningly placed in a position where he was forced to either disobey the emperor, or lose his possessions, the last shogun left Osaka Castle, along with 15 thousand of his warriors, and headed to Kyoto.
Soon, the Tokugawa army met in the battle at Toba-Fushimi with the "imperial" army of the principalities of Choshu, Satsuma and Tosa, led by Saigo Takamori. True, the Takamori army was three times inferior in number to the enemy, but it was armed with British snider guns and better prepared. His opponents went into battle with match rifles and only a few had French "snuff" rifles. As a result, the last Keiki shogun was defeated, fled to Edo, and surrendered to the emperor two months later.
Act Nine: The Last Canto of the Poem.
how fast have you grown, -
you can't roll!
So imperial power was restored thanks to the coordinated actions of Choshu and Satsuma many years after their ancestors were defeated at the Battle of Sekigahara. True, even after the Meiji restoration, individual cases of desperate resistance to the imperial troops still arose. So, in Aizu-Wakamatsu in the summer of 1868, young men and even girls took part in hostilities under the command of Matsudaira Katamori, suffering huge losses. In Nihonmatsu Khan, twelve-year-old boys were given guns and sent to fight against the imperial troops. But there was nothing they could do. In 1869, the Meiji government abolished the rigid class hierarchy of the Tokugawa period. From now on, all Japanese belonged either to the nobility or to commoners, and the latter were granted the freedom to choose their occupation and residence, however, this did not mean that the Japanese at once threw off all the shackles of feudalism. Nevertheless, in 1871, the daimyo had already lost their power, and the khans were replaced by prefectures subordinate to the central government. The castles and armies of daimyo disappeared forever, representatives of all classes began to be conscripted into the army. After 700 years of history, the samurai have completely lost their status, since the need for them has disappeared. In 1876, a decree was issued prohibiting the wearing of swords to anyone except the military itself.
Sakamoto Ryoma's grave in Kyoto.
As for all the other political figures in this story, they all, as expected, died at the time appointed for them, but died in different ways. Saigo Takamori died in the arms of a devoted servant from wounds sustained in the last battle in the suppression of the Satsuma uprising, which he led in Kyushu in 1877. In 1899, Katsu Kaishu died of apoplectic stroke in his home. Representatives of Satsuma, Choshu, and Tosa formed the government of Emperor Meiji, and their parochialism, which Ryoma Sakamoto fought against, eventually plunged Japan into a debilitating world war.
As for Sakamoto Ryoma Sakamoto, then … in modern Japan he is considered a national hero. In Kyoto, his grave is always crowded, incense is smoked here, flowers and garlands of traditional paper cranes lie, and even bottles of sake, which Ryoma is said to be very fond of. Surprisingly, people who find themselves in a difficult situation even today turn to him for advice, as if they hope that his kami will enlighten them. Moreover, there are about 75 Sakamoto Ryoma fan societies in the country who study his life and try to resemble their idol in it, for example, they wear American boots and not any other shoes. T-shirts for sale with the inscription: "I love Sakamoto Ryoma" - that's how it is! In the city of Kochi, in his homeland, on the shore of the ocean, a large monument was erected to him, very clearly demonstrating both his dedication and openness to everything new. On it he is depicted in American leather shoes, but with a traditional samurai sword.
Ema plaques in the courtyard of the Teradaya Inn, dedicated to the spirit (kami) of Sakamoto Ryoma.
The role that Ryoma Sakamoto played in the history of the country is also evidenced by the results of a survey of employees of the 200 largest Japanese corporations, conducted several years ago. So, although the question "Which of the people of the last millennium would be most useful for overcoming the current financial crisis in Japan?", Sakamoto Ryoma received the largest number of votes, as a tribute to his ability to feel new, peacefulness and political wisdom.
And here is a very curious fact associated with the name of this extraordinary person. In the modern world, it is widespread practice to name large airports after famous politicians, outstanding figures of culture and art. Thus, for example, airports named after John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan appeared in the USA, there is Charles de Gaulle airport in France, in Italy the name of Leonardo da Vinci is immortalized in the name of the airport, and in Great Britain - John Lennon. But in Japan such airports did not exist for a long time. And so, on November 15, 2007, on the next anniversary of the birth and death of Ryoma Sakamoto, his name was given to the airport located on the island of Shikoku. Then, more than 70 thousand residents of the city of Kochi put their signatures on a petition in support of this proposal.
Monument to Nakaoka Shintaro, associate of Ryoma.
Epilogue. "There is no sadder story in the world …"
In the winter wind
The lonely bird froze -
It's cold poor thing!
Someone very correctly noticed that no matter how great a man is, some woman first of all suffers from his death, and only then his entourage and all those who considered him great. So Ryoma, when he died, left behind an unhappy woman. The woman who, as he believed, and she, and many others, was sent to him by fate itself. After all, the first thing that caught Ryoma and O-ryo's eyes when they had a chance to talk to each other (in addition to, of course, the attractive appearance of both) was the iconic coincidences in their names. One hieroglyph in Ryoma's name is also present in O-ryo's name and means "dragon." That is, they were both "dragons", and the dragon in Japan is a symbol of happiness and good luck!
Samurai girl. Photo from 1900. Everything had changed in Japan long ago, but photographs of girls with swords were still produced for the needs of foreigners.
"This is a sign of fate," - considered the Dragon-horse Ryoma and simply the Dragon O-ryo. And since the sky itself brought them together, it means that they simply had to love each other, because what kind of Japanese resists his karma? By the way, Ryo's fate itself was such that the girl turned out to be a match for him. She was the eldest daughter of Narasaki Ryosaku, a poor samurai and part-time doctor who belonged to the Choshu clan. In addition to her, there were two more girls and two younger boys in the family. The children received a good upbringing and education, but in 1862 O-ryo's father died, leaving practically nothing to the family. First, they sold the house and those things that had at least some value. Then they began to sell everything that could somehow be sold: kimonos, household utensils and all the furniture. It got to the point that in order to eat (and they ate once a day) they had to borrow dishes from neighbors. The youngest son Kenkichi, who was only five years old, was sent to one of the temples in Kyoto as a junior servant, but the most beautiful of Ryosaku's three daughters, 12-year-old Kimi, was sold to Shimabara in a maiko, that is, a geisha student. The mediator who helped with this without the knowledge of the mother and eldest daughter took with him the middle, 16-year-old Mitsue, to Osaka, with the explicit purpose of selling to a brothel. And what do you think O-ryo did? She, who at that time was only 22, went to Osaka alone, found this villain there and demanded to return her sister. The seller of "living goods" showed the girl his tattoos, they say, you see who you are dealing with and threatened to kill her. But O-ryo was not scared, and the villain relented and returned her sister to her.
It was then that O-ryo went, apparently, to work as a servant in Teradai's hotel. Last but not least, she got this place because of her good manners and good looks. Well, we already know that she was not only brave, but also an intelligent girl and managed to warn Ryoma Sakamoto of the danger in time.
Monument to Ryoma and O-Ryo in Kagoshima.
After his death, O-ryo lived for some time in the family of her late husband, along with his beloved sister Otome. At the age of 30, she married the merchant Niiimura Matsubei for the second time, much older than her for years. With the grief that remained in her heart, she often drank. And when she got drunk, she shouted to her husband: "I am Sakamoto's wife!" and watered him with the remains of sake. So much for the obedient Japanese women … Probably, his life with this woman was very difficult …
In 1874, when she was 34, O-ryo gave birth to a son, Nishimura Tsuru, but unfortunately he died at the age of 17. The last years of O-ryo's life were bleak. She tried to forget, drank a lot, and on November 15, 1906, when she was 66, she died of alcoholism. They buried her in Kyoto, next to her first husband Sakamoto Ryoma …