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Book Title: The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu|
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The author of the book: Ryōtarō Shiba
Edition: Kodansha America
Date of issue: August 20th 2004
ISBN 13: 9781568363561
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 17.28 MB
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In Ryotaro Shiba's account of the life of Japan's last shogun, Perry's arrival off the coast of Japan was merely the spark that ignited the cataclysm in store for the Japanese people and their governments. It came to its real climax with the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1868, the event which forms the centerpiece of this book. The Meiji Restoration -- as history calls it -- toppled the shogunate, and brought a seventeen-year-old boy emperor back from the secluded Imperial Palace in Kyoto to preside over what amounted to a political and cultural revolution. With this, Japan's extraordinary self-modernization began in earnest. Coming to power just as the Tokugawa regime was suffering the worst military defeat in its history, Yoshinobu strongly suspected that the rule of the Tokugawas -- the third and longest lived of Japan's three warrior governments - was swiftly becoming an anachronism. During a year of frenetic activity, he overhauled the military systems, reorganized the civil administration, promoted industrial development, and expanded foreign intercourse, with the farsighted aim of creating a unified Japan. Alarmed by these reforms, pro-imperial interests moved against him, precipitating the Boshin Civil War and the final defeat of the shogunal armies. To the surprise of his enemies, Yoshinobu capitulated. It was this surrender of authority at a crucial point that made the transfer of sovereignty relatively peaceful. He then retired to Mito and lived quietly for the rest of his life, studying the new art of photography. Ennobled a prince in the new European-style nobility of the Meiji era, he died in 1913.
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Read information about the authorRyōtarō Shiba (司馬 遼太郎)born Teiichi Fukuda (福田 定一 Fukuda Teiichi?, August 7, 1923 – February 12, 1996) in Osaka, Japan, was a Japanese author best known for his novels about historical events in Japan and on the Northeast Asian sub-continent, as well as his historical and cultural essays pertaining to Japan and its relationship to the rest of the world.
Shiba studied Mongolian at the Osaka School of Foreign Languages (now the School of Foreign Studies at Osaka University) and began his career as a journalist with the Sankei Shimbun, one of Japan's major newspapers. After World War II Shiba began writing historical novels. The magazine Shukan Asahi printed Shiba's articles about his travels within Japan in a series that ran for 1,146 installments. Shiba received the Naoki Prize for the 1959 novel Fukuro no Shiro ("The Castle of an Owl"). In 1993 Shiba received the Government's Order of Cultural Merit. Shiba was a prolific author who frequently wrote about the dramatic change Japan went through during the late Edo and early Meiji periods. His most monumental works include Kunitori Monogatari (国盗り物語), Ryoma ga Yuku (竜馬がゆく; see below), Moeyo Ken, and Saka no ue no kumo (坂の上の雲), all of which have spawned dramatizations, most notably Taiga dramas aired in hour-long segments over a full year on NHK television. He also wrote numerous essays that were published in collections, one of which—Kaidō wo Yuku—is a multi-volume journal-like work covering his travels across Japan and around the world. Shiba is widely appreciated for the originality of his analyses of historical events, and many people in Japan have read at least one of his works.
Several of Shiba's works have been translated into English, including his fictionalized biographies of Kukai (Kukai the Universal: Scenes from His Life, 2003) and Tokugawa Yoshinobu (The Last Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, 2004), as well as The Tatar Whirlwind: A Novel of Seventeenth-Century East Asia (2007).
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