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Samurai Revolution

samurai revolution awa katsu book recommendation meiji jidai edo

I finished this book by Romulus Hillsborough today. I thought I knew a lot about the end of feudalism in Japan and the beginnings of the Meiji Era, but most of the contents of this book were new to me. I highly recommend reading it.

Some of my favorite parts dealt with places I have visited in Japan. For instance, the story of Katsu Kaishu (勝海舟) having to make a large donation to Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) before they would take his sword, a symbol of the historic peace accord he had just negotiated on Miyajima, brought back fond memories of my time there (as well as memories of how shrines ask for money for just about everything, including offerings required for the shrine to burn the object that you had to pay the shrine for to use as a good luck charm the prior year).

You will also learn about the entire back story that ultimately resulted in this statue in Ueno (and why it is in Ueno).

I’ve spent many hours in Akasaka in Tokyo so hearing about what it was like in the 19th Century was fascinating.

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