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Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corpby Romulu Hillsborough
Synopses & Reviews
andlt;iandgt;Shinsengumi: The Shogun's last Samurai Corpsandlt;/iandgt; is the true story of the notorious samurai corps formed in 1863 to arrest or kill the enemies of the Tokugawa Shogun. The only book in English about the Shinsengumi, it focuses on the corps' two charismatic leaders, Kondo Isami and Hijikata Toshizo, both impeccable swordsmen. It is a historyand#8211;inand#8211;brief of the final years of the Bakufu, which collapsed in 1867 with the restoration of Imperial rule. In writing Shinsengumi, Hillsborough referred mostly to Japaneseand#8211;language primary sources, including letters, memoirs, journals, interviews, and eyewitness accounts, as well as definitive biographies and histories of the era.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The fall of the shogun's government (Tokugawa Bakufu, or simply Bakufu) in 1868, which had ruled Japan for over two and a half centuries, was the greatest event in modern Japanese history.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The revolution, known as the Meiji Restoration, began with the violent reaction of samurai to the Bakufu's decision in 1854 to open the theretofore isolated country to "Western barbarians." Though opening the country was unavoidable, it was seen as a sign of weakness by the samurai who clamored to "expel the barbarians."andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Those samurai plotted to overthrow the shogun and restore the holy emperor to his ancient seat of power. Screaming "heaven's revenge," they wielded their swords with a vengeance upon those loyal to the shogun.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;They unleashed a wave of terror at the center of the revolutionand#8212;the emperor's capital of Kyoto. Murder and assassination were rampant. By the end of 1862, hordes of renegade samurai, called ronin, had transformed the streets of the Imperial Capital into a "sea of blood."andlt;BRandgt;The shogun's administrators were desperate to stop the terror. A band of expert swordsmen was formed. It was given the name Shinsengumi ("Newly Selected Corps")and#8212;and commissioned to eliminate the ronin and other enemies of the Bakufu. With unrestrained brutality bolstered by an official sanction to kill, the Shinsengumi soon became the shogun's most dreaded security force.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In this vivid historical narrative of the Shinsengumi, the only one in the English language, author Romulus Hillsborough paints a provocative and thrilling picture of this most fascinating period in Japanese history.
Book News Annotation:
Now back in his native California after 15 years of living and writing in Japan, Hillsborough presents his third book on samurai of the 19th-century Meiji Restoration. He concentrates on the spirit of the Shinsengumi and its leaders Kondo Isami and Hijikata and their place in history, rather than on details, especially where the many sources contradict each other. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Details the fall of the Shogunate of the Meiji restoration period.
The Tokugawa Shogunate, a group of military governors who ruled Japan until the late 1800s, stayed in power for more than two centuries. Their fall was one of the most important events in Asian history.
Also known as the Meiji Restoration, the shogun's ouster began as a reaction against the elite's willingness to "collaborate" with the West. The samurai took the shogun's position as a sign of weakness.
The samurai plotted to overthrow the shogun. Murder, assassination, and intimidation soon followed. By the end of 1862, hordes of renegade samurai had transformed the streets of Japan's capital streets into a sea of blood.
This vivid historical narrative captures one of the most enthralling and bloodied eras in Japanese history.
The Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan until the late 1800s, stayed in power for more than two centuries before falling during the Meiji Restoration. In this vivid historical narrative of the Shinsengumi, author Romulus Hillsborough uses letters, memoirs, interviews and eyewitness accounts to paint a provocative and thrilling picture of a fascinating period in Japanese history.
About the Author
andlt;bandgt;Romulus Hillsboroughandlt;/bandgt; is a native Californian who lived in Japan for over fifteen years. Fluent in spoken and written Japanese, he is the author of two other books on the samurai, andlt;iandgt;Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samuraiandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;Samurai Sketches: From the Bloody Final Years of the Shogunandlt;/iandgt;, he lives in the San Francisco area with his wife and son.
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