Act Five: Government Intrigues
They have no place in heaven -
The moon is shining there …
Although our hero is Sakamoto Ryoma, let's leave him alone for a while - let him rest with his young wife and bathe in hot springs, while we ourselves will see what events took place in Japan at that time.
On the station square of the city of Kochi, there is a monument to three heroes of Japan of the 19th century, natives of Kochi prefecture, samurai Takechi Hanpeita, Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro. Why was the monument erected to them? For the fact that they opposed their own samurai state, seeing that it was dilapidated and should be replaced with something more perfect, and most importantly - to return state power to the emperor.
Well, the events were both stormy and everyday at the same time. The Bakufu, for example, entered into a trade agreement with the United States, which was good for the country. But at the same time, she wanted to use Emperor Komei's dislike of foreigners to her advantage. When the supporters of the bakufu, that is, the Tokugawa shogunate, suppressed the attempted coup d'état undertaken by the Joi party from Choshu to Hamaguri Gomon in 1864, the bakufu had a good reason to convince the emperor to open the borders of Japan. However, the bakufu was simultaneously afraid of the possibility of losing the support of the emperor and therefore tried to pretend that he sympathized with Joi in some way. That is, everything is purely Japanese: we smile at both friends and enemies, but we smile more at enemies …
Meanwhile, in the same 1864, four powerful and influential Japanese daimyo gathered in Kyoto to discuss which way to take the country further, but they parted ways without deciding anything. Most of all, the bakufu feared that the daimyo would decide to open the borders of Japan and this would deprive the bakufu of the opportunity to take the initiative at the right time. Needless to say, the fate of the country worried the bakufu much less than the struggle for power. The shogunate made concessions to daimyo, tried to increase the degree of their independence, especially since many daimyos in Kyoto and its environs already had their own armed detachments. Meanwhile, cooperation with powerful daimyo was in the interests of both the court and the bakufu. And it was then that the next punitive expedition against the members of the Joi in Choshu was conceived, since the results of the first bakufu did not satisfy. They thought that Choshu should be taught a lesson again, and in 1865 they began preparations for a new campaign.
Sakamoto Ryoma did a lot in Japan for the first time. He was the first to change a samurai sword for an American revolver, was the first to create a company that began to insure merchant ships, and later turned into the world famous company Mitsubishi, the first to wear American boots, in which he is depicted in this photo.
However, it was at this time that foreign powers, frustrated by the fact that the terms of trade agreements were practically not fulfilled, sent warships to Osaka Bay. American, Dutch, French, and British ships reported that if the bakufu was not going to open the country's borders to trade, the Europeans would negotiate directly with the emperor. Then the shogun Iemochi met with the emperor in his palace - news that then, probably, amazed every Japanese. After all, this happened for the first time in 250 years! For us, Russians, it was as if our prime minister had not been to the Kremlin since 1766, but today, at last, he decided to visit it! However, everyone regarded this visit as a weakness of the shogunate.
The memory of Ryoma in Japan is preserved not only in the bronze of monuments. This is a street in the town of Fushimi. On the right are quite modern standard buildings. And on the left - here it is, the Teradaya hotel.
In general, the problem with the contract was resolved. After listening to the advice of one of the advisers, Emperor Komei changed his mind and agreed to open the country's borders. This eliminated the need for the bakufu to support two opposite sides at once. But Joi's court party, which fought against the bakufu, found itself in a very difficult situation. So many labors, and everything was resolved besides them!
However, the second punitive expedition to Choshu took place, though in the summer of 1866 and … suffered a crushing defeat. The government troops lacked fighting spirit (they did not really want to fight against the same Japanese, after all, 266 years of peace made themselves felt!) And modern weapons that the soldiers of Choshu Khan possessed in abundance. In addition, British ships did not allow the shogun's ships to conduct active military operations off the coast of Shimonoseki, which they themselves had recently bombed, since this could endanger other foreign ships. After the march to Choshu, the Tokugawa Iemochi shogun died in Osaka, and Hitotsubashi Keiki was elected the fifteenth Tokugawa shogun and took the name Yoshinobu.
In Japanese hotels, rooms were not numbered, but were named after flowers, plants, and animals. The room Ryoma was in when the police attacked was called the plum room. View of the gallery in the hotel and the tokonoma niche (left), where his portrait and swords are visible. However, most likely, these are just swords, because the Japanese did not sign their weapons.
Act Six: Surrender of the Bakufu
Having been under your feet, He became beautiful in a different way, the leaf is withered …
And here it was not without Ryoma Sakamoto either. Just in June 1866, he commanded a warship of the Choshu principality in the battle with the Tokugawa fleet at Shimonoseki, that is, he showed that he not only knows how to trade and shoot a revolver, but also knows a lot about naval affairs and is not afraid of the roar of cannons. However, it was guns that he considered a much less convincing means of changing people's behavior than the method of negotiation and persuasion. It was on board his ship that Ryoma drew up a plan for the peaceful transfer of state power from the hands of the bakufu to the hands of the emperor. He was the first to propose a parliament consisting of two chambers, designated the role of advisers under the emperor, which would include both daimyo princes and court aristocrats, and representatives of the public. Sakamoto even included a list of possible members of the country's future government to his plan.
This is how he looked, judging by the work of a Japanese artist.
Ryoma's plan was initially disliked by his associates. It got to the point that they began to accuse him of treason, they say, the only way out is an armed struggle against the shogunate, and no compromise with him is possible. But Ryoma managed to insist on his own. Moreover, the plan written by him was transferred to the shogun's palace. This was the first formal proposal received by the shogun regarding his relinquishment of power. Then there were others, but this was the very first, and it was Ryoma who wrote it. 11 days passed, and the last of the Tokugawa clan shoguns resigned as the military ruler of the country, and returned all state power to the emperor. The matter was resolved peacefully, without bloodshed or shots.
And here is the same bath in which Ryo washed herself that very day …
However, before this happened, Goto Shojiro, an advisor to the daimyo Tosa, reported to Ryoma Sakamoto in Nagasaki. He suggested that he buy the Kameyama-satu company and reorganize it to help the khan's economy. In April the company was renamed "Kayentai" - "Marine Aid Company", Ryoma was appointed its head. The employees were well paid, and the company itself quickly became economically independent. In that year 1867, while sailing from Nagasaki to Kyoto, Ryoma and Goto Shojiro developed a fundamental political program for the future government, which contained eight articles that spoke about the transformation in Japan. The program emphasized that the supreme power should belong to the emperor, and Ryoma wanted the transition from the bakukhan system to the restoration of the emperor to be accomplished peacefully. He decided to try to convince the bakufu to return power to the emperor; this procedure was called Taiseihokan. At first Ryoma, as before, asked Matsudaira Shungaku for help, but the daimyo Etigen remained indifferent to his ideas. Ryoma then turned to Yamanouchi Yodo, the daimyo of Tosa Khan. Yodo was a conservative by nature, but aspired to play a prominent role in history as the closest vassal of the bakufu.
On October 13, 1867, the daimyo Khan Tosa sent his petition to the bakufu with a proposal to return power to the emperor, and the Tokugawa Keiki shogun ordered his advisers to consider it. Naturally, the daimyo Khan Satsuma approved this proposal, and the very next day the bakufu presented the emperor with a document for the execution of the Taiseihokan procedure, which was also approved by the court.
The last shogun of Tokugawa Yoshinobu (Tokugawa Keiki), Osaka, 1867.
The previous alliance between Satsuma and Choshu supposed to overthrow the bakufu by force, but Ryoma believed that in the critical situation in which Japan found itself, a peaceful transfer of power would be more useful for the country. If the bakufu returns power to the court, then Satsuma and Choshu will have no reason to destroy the bakufu and there will be no reason for civil war. A peaceful change of power would help the Keiki shogun extricate himself from a difficult situation when he was under pressure from both the Joi party and foreign powers; but he would retain his position as Japan's most powerful daimyo. Ryoma praised Keiki's decision, confirming his wisdom and his ability to lead Imperial Japan into the future.
Thus, it was on October 14, 1867 that the fate of Japan was decided. And a month later, on November 15 of the same year, Sakamoto Ryoma was killed by unknown persons. On that day he was only 32 years old!