The Last Shogun Summary

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In the Novel “The Last Shogun” written by Rotaro Shiba, talked about the end of the Shogunate, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, and the restoration of Meiji Emperor in 1860s. Shiba mainly focused Yoshinobu’s political career in the period of 1862 to 1868 that Yoshinobu was appointed by the Emperor as Shogunal Guardian, until he went back to Edo and surrendered the Edo castle to the Imperial forces in 1868. As the most popular writers of historical fiction in Japan, Shiba’s novels are on the basis of the historical events and it is easy to learn the history from his novels. “The Last Shogun” as a historical fiction, some plots and the descriptions of the characters which are invented in order to create impression and attract the readers. The eloquence of…show more content…
According to Jansen’s book, Hitotsubashi Keiki granted, he was too moderate and also was not eager for the appointment and indecisive; and granted further that he was distrusted by many of the Edo “regulars” (Jansen, 305,307). His image in the history seemed that he was the doll who controlled by Bakufu and did everything passively because of the decisions of officials. But in “The Last Shogun”, Yoshinobu showed his talent of debating with the officials in order to persuade them to agree with his ideas. For example, when Yoshinobu held a meeting on the ground of the imperial court to discuss the issue of opening the port of Hyogo in 1867, Yoshinobu lasted the meeting all night long and on into the next day and he claimed that everyone must sacrifice their rest in order to resolve the crisis. He kept talking for the whole night to talk about his ideas of opening the port and no one had the ability to argue with him, finally all the daimyo agreed to open the port of Hyogo (Shiba, 196-197). These plot showed that Yoshinobu’s eloquence on persuading someone to agree his ideas and he is not like the description in history book who was indecisive and changed his plan easily. It also proved that the writer wants to stand out Yoshinobu’s aim that Japan should change step by…show more content…
In “The Making of Modern Japan”, Yoshinobu who was considered unreliable was recalled to Edo to handle the case of against Choshu which it tried to start Tobaku movement (305). In this case, it showed that Yoshinobu was incapable because Bakufu saw Yoshinobu as a puppet who only granted a shogun title but did not have any power to make decision. When there was a situation that Bakufu cannot handle, Bakufu hid behind Yoshinobu and pass the buck to a powerless shogun. But on the other hand, in “The last shogun”, Yoshinobu turned to be a very wise person who predict the future of Japan and he tried his best to save Japan and his family. For example, in dealing with the problem of opening the port of Hyogo, Yoshinobu stated that Japan could no longer be run under the old system and the Tokugawa Bakufu was destined to fall like a dead tree felled by the wind (Shiba, 162, 164). It proved that Yoshinobu foresee the Bakufu would disappear naturally and he tried to persuade the daimyo to open the port in order to form alliances with the powers and avoid being a colony. Also, after Yoshinobu gave back the power to the emperor, Saigo said Yoshinobu is as crafty as a fox because after he yielded power, he succeed to gain sympathy and minimized the damage that he and the
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