Sogoro's Rebellion

1389 Words6 Pages
Protest activity, prompted by prolonged inequality, arises from the frustrations of men who feel socio-economically disadvantaged and are displeased with the government’s approach towards society’s issues. Protests present different experiences and voices which are not immediately perceptible in normal instances, but based on a particular socio-political movement they may resurface. The Tokugawa and Meiji periods encountered several instances of uprising amongst the peasantry—most notably those led by Oshio Heihachiro, Tanaka Shozo, and Sakura Sogoro. The story of Sakura Sogoro—a protest in which an archetypal heroic peasant martyr appealed directly to elites in response to harsh taxes—acted as counter-mythistory as peasants used it as inspiration…show more content…
Sakura Sogoro’s revolt was in response to unfair taxes enforced upon the peasantry as enacted by Hotta Masanobu. Sogoro’s protests illustrated the idea of gekogojo, a phenomenon that grew increasingly common as the lower classes began to disrupt the power of higher up officials. Frightened by social mobility, the Tokugawa regime tried to suppress these protests that were in response to the bad economic conditions, but failed to as they were overpowered by the larger peasantry. Those involved in Oshio Heihachiro’s revolt were responding to rice production. Oshio critiqued the government’s actions "in the recent upsurge in rice prices the Commissioner of Osaka . . . ignored the benevolence which pervades all things." Their corruption lied in that they decided to put the priority on Edo as they worried that the bakufu’s legitimacy would be severely undermined as the public began to stage uprisings. Tokugawa’s policy towards peasants was keeping them ignorant. This reveals the manipulative nature of the Tokugawa regime and the poor socio-economic conditions as peasants were made to be kept clueless. Tanaka Shozo’s philosophy became integral to Tokugawa’s transformation. "In the process . . . the older Tokugawa thought was fundamentally transformed with the inclusion of doku" where "complete trust in nature is abandoned in favor of a mutual relation . . . that must be constantly managed in order to prevent the accumulation of poison and to ensure an accumulation of freedom." Tanaka Shozo’s argument critiqued the idea of the Meiji regime’s limited economy; despite the beginning of the industrialization movement, the Meiji regime continued to poorly handle the economy. Consequently, dissatisfied men staged uprisings in response to
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