9 Nov: The Last Shōgun

Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu (徳川 慶喜) was the 15th and last shōgun of the Tokugawa shōgunate of Japan. On November 9, 1867, Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor.

This restored traditional rule for the first time in over 250 years, yet also progressively reformed the country; ushering in the Meiji era, under an Emperor who was just 14 years old.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the country’s policy of isolationism had come to be tested – first by Portugese, then Dutch, and then American interlocutors; explain why this tumultuous transition of power split the urban and rural Japanese; and consider why even bloody uprisings look nice in screen-print…

Further Reading:

• ‘From Meiji to Modernity: How Japan Reinvented Itself Through The 20th Century’ (HistoryExtra, 2021): https://www.historyextra.com/period/20th-century/japan-traditional-reinvention-20th-century/

• ‘Meiji Restoration: Edo Period & Tokugawa Shogunate’ (HISTORY, 2009): https://www.history.com/topics/japan/meiji-restoration

• ‘Tokugawa Yoshinobu : The Last Shōgun’: (JAPANquickies, 2021):

… want even more?

In this week’s bonus bit, exclusively for 🌴 CLUB RETROSPECTORS 🌴members, Arion, Rebecca and Olly discuss how the end of the shogunate changed Sumurai hairstyles, evolved the Army so it was able to score victory over Russia, and precipitated the global recognition of Japan as one of the big five powers in the world… get this and exclusive Sunday episodes by joining 🌴 CLUB RETROSPECTORS 🌴 now.

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill. Edit producer: Sophie King

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.