This close look into the hearts and minds of those two-sworded men provides a deep insight into the political, cultural, and psychological roots of modern Japan. My books tell the story of the samurai revolution that spanned the third quarter of the 19th century aka Meiji Restoration. The samurai revolution transformed Japan from a country of hundreds of feudal domains under the control of the Tokugawa Shogun, into a modern industrialized world power under the unifying rule of the Emperor.
It is the historical era that Japanese writers generally refer to as the "Bakumatsu.
Ryoma : Life of a Renaissance Samurai
Soon after arriving in Japan I immersed myself in the study of the Japanese language, and later, Japanese history and culture. Most of my reading focused on the Bakumatsu. To get a closer feel for the Bakumatsu, I traveled to historical cities and towns around Japan where my samurai subjects lived and died and where the revolution unfolded. While writing my first book, "Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai," I worked as a writer for a popular weekly magazine in Tokyo and later as a contributing journalist to a number of other Japanese publications.
I published "Ryoma" in , after moving back to California. It is the only biographical novel in English about Sakamoto Ryoma, the most charismatic leader of the samurai revolution. Since then I've written a series of books on the subject. It is a comprehensive history of the Meiji Restoration from the perspective of one of its most important men, Katsu Kaishu. It is based largely on Kaishu's journals, memoirs, histories, and letters. So why do I write about a culture and history completely foreign to my own?
Because it is spellbinding. And though it's a lot of hard work, hearing from my readers that they have become engrossed in my writing makes my work worthwhile. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description Ridgeback Pr, Condition: New. Seller Inventory M More information about this seller Contact this seller. Never used!. Seller Inventory P Brand New!. Seller Inventory VIB Book Description Ridgeback Pr. Seller Inventory NEW Book Description Ridgeback Press, First Edition - may be Reissue.
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All of the other men of the Kaientai were in Osaka or Nagasaki preparing for future business , but Ryoma was obligated to remain in Kyoto a while longer. The Bakufu toppled, the power restored to the Emperor and the blueprint for the new government completed, Ryoma still had to explain Mitsuoka's financial ideas to Saigo and Okubo.
He had already discussed them with Lord Iwakura. Ryoma no longer shared the goals of Nakaoka and the other leading actors of the Great Play. For while Saigo, Okubo. Katsura, Iwakura, Nakaoka and even Goto were preoccupied with political events in Japan, and the prospects of war with Aizu, the Dragon's. Just then the door slid open. They say their names are Ito Kashitaro and Todo Heisukc. Quickly, both of you out the back window. Ito and Todo were well-known swordsmen who had formerly practiced at the Chiba Dojo in Edo, but Ryoma felt no sense of camaraderie for either.
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Until recently Ito had been a staff officer of the Shinsengumi, and Todo one of its op swordsmen. Having foreseen the downfall of the Bakufu, both men had quit the Tokugawa police force in the previous June, and formed their own corps which sided with the Loyalists, was secretly supported by Satsuma and which the Shinsengumi was intent on destroying. Then turning to Ryoma's servant, "But send them up anyway," he said.
Tokichi left the room, and returned momentarily with the two armed visitors. One of them, about Ryoma's age, bowed his head slightly upon entering. While Nakaoka assumed die formal sitting position, Ryoma sat with his legs crossed, sword on his lap, arms folded at his chest, and a scowl on his face. Perhaps it was because Ito and Todo were former members of me Chiba Dojo that Ryoma was less forgiving of their pasts than was Nakaoka. But whatever die reason, Ryoma could not forget that until recently they had been killing his comrades to defend the Tokugawa; then, when the downfall of die Bakufu seemed inevitable, tticy were quick to jump on die Loyalist bandwagon.
Five days later, Ito and Todo were assassinated by men of the Shinsengumi.
The night of November 15 was extremely cold. Ryoma bad come down widi. Not only was this room warmer and closer to the latrine, but it had an alcove built into one of its walls where Ryoma hung a scroll he had received from a friend this evening.
The scroll was a present for Ryoma's thirty-second birthday, on which his friend, a well-known artist of Kyoto, had painted in black Chinese ink winter camellias amidst plum blossoms. In the alcove, bencadi the painting, was Ryoma's sword, and in me opposite comer stood a large folding screen , whose gold-painted background was adorned widi poems and paintings. On the upper left portion of die screen was a landscape of a snow-covered Mount Fuji, by a famous artist of die Kano School.
At the bottom of the screen was the disturbing likeness of a cat, standing on all fours next to a blossoming peony bush. Ryoma was pale with fever, and to keep warm wore a cotton vest under a short coat with a thick cotton lining, and over diis a heavy black jacket of soft silk.
Sitting next to Ryoma was a boy by the name of Minekichi, the son of a local bookshop owner, who idolized him. Okamoto had come from the nearby Tosa headquarters, having heard that Ryoma was down with a cold. Nakaoka had also stopped by earlier in the evening to discuss the matter of taking custody of a certain Tosa man who had recently been arrested by the Shinsengumi.
The four men sat around a brazier, next to which stood a paper lantern, casting a dim light on die cat which stared curiously at Ryoma. Ryoma," Nakaoka said grimly. It's dangerous for you to be in the main part of the house. It seemed that recently Okamoto and the girl had become quite friendly, at least that was Nakaoka's deduction as he took this opportunity to rib his younger comrade. Okamoto turned red in the face. The attack came shortly after Okamoto and the boy had left. Tokichi, who was in the next room, heard someone calling at the front door. When the former sumo wrestler went downstairs to see who it was, he found a man who introduced himself as a samurai from Totsugawa?
Tokichi took the calling card , which indicated to the stranger that Sakamoto Ryoma, alias Saitani Umetaro, was indeed in the house. Then, just as Tokichi turned around to ascend the stairs to inform Ryoma, he was attacked from behind, his back sliced wide open.
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Tokichi's loud scream and the crash of his heavy body to the floor, then the subsequent rumbling of footsteps racing up the wooden staircase at the end of the long corridor, must have sounded like horseplay to the two men who were talking upstairs, because Ryoma's immediate reaction was simply to holler from behind the closed door, "Be quiet! The next instant the door slammed open, and two men, their swords drawn, burst into the room, with several others following.
Blood covered the Dragon's face as he lunged toward the alcove for his sword, and felt his back cut open from his right shoulder to the left side of his spine. As the force of the blow sent the tip of his scabbard crashing into the ceiling, Ryoma took another attack on the forehead and the room went black. When he regained consciousness moments later he drew his sword in the light of the lantern, but the assassins had already gone, and Nakaoka lay face down in a pool of blood.
Nakaoka had fought with his short blade until, after being cut in nine different places, he passed out. Before Nakaoka Shinlaro died two days later, he told his friends who had found him mortally wounded, "Not having my sword at hand was the mistake of my life. Be sure that none of you do the same. Then realizing that he too was drenched in blood.
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Ryoma wiped his head with his hand, and discovered bits of gray matter among the red. Shinta, my brains are coming out. She dreamt that Ryoma. At around the same time, in Fukui Castletown. Mitsuoka Hachiro.
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Indeed, Sakamoto Ryoma died on this very night, his thirty-second birthday, just one month after toppling the Tokugawa Bakufu. Had he lived, the war may never have broken out in the following January between forces loyal to the Bakufu and the combined Imperial forces of Satsuma. Choshu and Tosa; and perhaps Katsu Kaishu, recalled to head the Tokugawa Navy, would not have been obliged in the following March to spare the city of Edo from the torch by personally surrendering the Shogun's castle to Saigo Kichinosuke, commander of the Imperial forces.
These things Ryoma would never know, just as he would be spared the knowledge that izu would continue to resist until September, when its castle would fall to the Imperial Army, and that war would not end until the last Tokugawa forces finally surrendered on the far-northern island of Ezo. Download 1. Main page east coast. First they would go to Choshu to plan with their allies the deployment of troops to the Imperial capital, after which they would return to Kagoshima to inform Lord Hisamitsu of the turn of events in Kyoto.
That'll give me time," Ryoma said.
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