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Old 01-02-2010, 04:33 AM   #41
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 16

Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I just read Shiba Goro's REMEMBERING AIZU: The Testament of Shiba Goro, a memoir of Aizu after the defeat in the Boshin war. It is such a sad story, including an ethnic cleansing for several years, where many were moved to the north of Japan to an utterly desolate area where survival was almost impossible - many starved. Many of the men spent time in prison camps before being released. I wonder what happened to the Takeda family during that period. Is it possible that Takeda Sokaku was either separated from his family - all or in part - for a few years after the Boshin war, or if the whole family spent some years scrabbling among the rocks of that desolate landscape trying to survive. Who else died in his life during this period?

Hello Ellis,

Akemashite omedetto gozaimasu. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

I have read Shiba's memoir, in Japanese and English. In fact, as you will see from TIE 17, I think it makes an excellent point of comparison with Tokimune's memoirs of his father. The English translation has an excellent introduction by Teruko Craig, whose husband Albert, incidentally, wrote a definitive study of the Choshu han during the Meiji Restoration. It is unfortunate that Mr Craig stopped with the downfall of the Shogunate and did not tell the story--from the Choshu side--of the Boshin War and the campaigns in the northeast.

Tokimune records in Part 2 of his biography of Sokaku that Saigo Tanomo escaped from Aizu castle before it fell, in order to contact the army outside the castle. He was accompanied by Sokichi Takeda, who stayed in Sendai when he heard that Aizu castle had fallen. Tokimune mentions that Saigo travelled to Hakodate and took part in the Battle of Goryokaku with Kamajiro Enomoto. This Enomoto (if it is the same man) is also known as Takeaki and surrendered Goryokaku to government forces on 27 June 1869. Enomoto was imprisoned, but pardoned in 1872. Saigo surrendered with Enomoto, but I am not sure what happened to him immediately afterwards.

Since Tokimune records that Sokatsu, Sokaku's elder brother, also assisted his father during the siege of Aizu castle, but had clearly returned to Aizubange-cho before his death in 1876. As had Sokichi, according to Tokimune's memoirs (Part 5). I think the reason why the Shiba volume is important is that it shows the big difference between high-ranking samurai, like the Shibas, and those of much lesser rank, like the Takedas, who were not important enough to be sent into exile.

When examining Tokimune's memoirs, I think it is very important to have a good grasp of the entire Boshin Civil War, which also entails a knowledge of the geography of northeastern Japan.

Best wishes,


PS. Anyway, I am still working on TIE 17 (which I am afraid will not be ready in time to meet Jun's deadline for January) and am waiting for the Japanese text of Aizu Han Kyoiku Sho, used by Kono Yoshinori in his Aiki News article on Kanenori Dengoro Kurokochi.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 01-02-2010 at 04:42 AM.

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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