Boshin War: Summary of the Boshin War 

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An abandoned house as a result of war
An abandoned house as a result of war

Boshin war

The Boshin War, also referred to as the Japanese Revolution or Japanese Civil War, was a civil war in Japan fought between forces loyal to the Tokugawa shogunate and those seeking to restore political power to the Imperial Court from 1868 to 1869.

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The conflict found its origins in dissatisfaction among many nobles and young samurai towards the Shogunate, as Japan faced threats to its economic growth and political legitimacy. Throughout the Edo period, the Shogunate’s policy of national isolation ( “sakoku”) enjoyed the cooperation of the “daimyō” class. However, with the advent of mass commerce in the Tokugawa territories, many “daimyō” came to resent what they visualized as a threat to their economic interests and political power.

Summary of the boshin war 

The Japanese revolution was roughly divided into three phases:

  • The Battle of Toba and Fushimi phase resulted from a power struggle between the Sat-Cho and the Shogunate under the new government.
  • The Tohoku War phase included the Hokuetsu War and the Aizu War.
  • In the Hakodate War phase, members of the previous Shogunate staged their last uprising.

The Sign (forces in the west) and Sat-Cho (forces in the east) on the side of the new government, and the Togun (forces in the east) on the side of the former Shogunate, may all be referred to as the Imperial forces. Still, in this section, they are more conveniently referred to as the new government’s forces and the former Shogunate forces. The allied forces in the Tohoku conflict are referred to as being from Teppan. This all happened before the colonial period.

The 15th Shogun, Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, restored political authority to the Imperial Court (Taisei Hokan) near the conclusion of the Edo period amid political unrest and lessened the justification for the campaign to topple the Tokugawa Shogunate. Because the Imperial Court lacked administrative duties, the former Shogunate would continue to dominate politics even under the new administration. The anti-Shogunate camp (including the Satsuma and Choshu Domains and some court nobles like Tomomi IWAKURA) planned a coup to combat the political weakness.

The Japanese monarchy was restored after Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, and the pro-Tokugawa court nobility was expelled. This formed the basis of the new system, centered on the Sat-Cho group but excluded the former Shogunate and nobles from the higher court classes. Additionally, it was resolved during a meeting to demand that Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA resign from his role as inner minister (naidaijin) and return a portion of his domain (jikan-nochi). 

Furthermore, the Satsuma Domain had instructed its retainers to cause a disturbance in Edo. Thus, the old Shogunate forces moved to quiet Kyoto under the flag of “the statement to the Emperor on avenging Satsuma” (to-satsu-hyo). The Boshin War got underway when the forces of the former Shogunate and the new government engaged in combat.

How did the Europeans help japan in the Boshin war

After the restoration, foreign influence in Japan was initially restricted to trade and remained moderate until the takeover of Nagasaki in 1864. During the Boshin War, however, Western European powers such as France, Britain, the United States, and other nations sent military help to the pro-Tokugawa faction

The reformist faction saw a chance to utilize the troops under their control. The French, hosting the Japanese ambassador, had also ordered warships and weaponry to be sent to the Imperial forces for use in battle. France’s involvement was significant, and some believe this was a factor in the decisive battle of Fushimi-Fuji, which cost the former Shogunate.

Explain how the people were affected by the Boshin war

The people were also affected by the Boshin War. Because of the war, merchants and villagers had to find new livelihoods, including poorer ones in mining, weaving, and the like. While many prospered in this environment (for example, Utagawa Rengetsu), others suffered, leading to a decline in farmers’ quality of life. 

What were the causes of the Boshin war?

1. The opposition of the Shogunate to Westernization and industrialization.

2. The court nobles supported the Shogunate but wanted to be economically independent of them. They demanded that Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA return the land he was holding.

3. The pro-shogunate forces, who were pro-Westernisation, had lost their main supporter after the Shogunate was overthrown. Thus a conflict erupted between them and the pro-imperial court forces over ownership of Kyoto.

The significance/importance of the Boshin war

The Boshin war is significant because it was the first time the opposition forces could overthrow their rulers. This victory established a precedent, which would be used during World War II and by other opposition groups in the following years.

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Categories: History