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Posts Tagged ‘Meiji Restoration’

Book Review: Samurai Assassins: “Dark Murder” And The Meiji Restoration 1853-1868 By Romulus Hillsborough

June 25, 2017 2 comments

This first-ever account in English of the assassins who drove the revolution details one of the most volatile periods in Japanese history!

Samurai Assassins coverHillsborough refers to this, his latest book, as ‘a study of the ideology and psychology behind the “samurai revolution”’ and that it certainly is. Thankfully for once, it is not a book that focuses on or sensationalises the assassinations of ‘foreign barbarians’ in a period in Japan when political assassinations flourished, not least of which were those of the foreigners residing in Japan. This a fact attested to by the British Legation’s interpreter Thomas McClatchie, himself a student of Kenjutsu under Sakikabara Kenkichi, in his 1879 letter to Morita Kan’ya’s invitation to visit the Kabuki theatre – ‘In Japan people like the so called rōnin with their katana swords have long been in Read more…

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An English translation of ‘Meiji Gekidan: Ranpu No Moto Ni Te’ (Talks On Meiji Era Theatre: Under The Lamp) By Okamoto Kidō

April 14, 2014 2 comments

Translation was undertaken for Kabuki fans who are unable to read Japanese!

Okamoto KidoBorn October 15th 1872 to Okamoto Keinosuke (a samurai retainer of the Tokugawa Shōgunate who, after the Meiji Restoration, went to work for the British Legation as an interpreter) Okamoto Kidō is best known outside of Japan for his mystery novel ‘The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi’. His family were avid Kabuki fans and well-connected in the theatre world. Though Kidō announced his intention at an early age to become a Kabuki playwright as a consequence of his father’s bankruptcy he had to skip University and Read more…

Art Exhibition: Kabuki – Japanese Theatre Prints

November 11, 2013 3 comments

Come face to face with Kabuki theatre’s most famous characters!

Miya, from the series Tokaido gojusan-tsugi no uchiVenue: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Date: 4th October 2013 – 2nd February 2014

The opening up of Japan to the rest of the world after Commodore Perry’s 1853 visit sparked a craze in the West for Japanese art and design. Called Japonisme it began in the late 1850s and peaked with and after what is considered by some the most pivotal event in the history of Japanese art in the West; the exhibition of Sir Rutherford Alcock’s collection of Read more…

Shinsengumi in, Kyōto: Part Two – Around Kiyamachi Street (Kiyamachi Dōri)

September 30, 2013 4 comments

Concluding story of Shinsengumi: Japan’s “Special military police force”!

Furutaka Shuntaro    Hijikata ToshizōIntroduction

In the lead up to the Meiji Restoration supporters of the Meiji Court, the National Patriots, Ishin Shishi, were formed mainly from the Tozama Daimyo, the Oustide Lords, those who had submitted to the Tokugawa only after their defeat at the battle of Sekigahara and who were predominantly made up of Read more…

A True-Life Kabuki Crime Story: An Actor And His Geisha Mistress Murder Her Patron

July 9, 2012 3 comments

An historical tale of love and murder that resulted in the death penalty!

Between 1868 – 1869 Kobayashi Kinpei, the boss of a successful money lending business, had prospered as a result of the economic downturn caused by the Boshin Wars between the Imperial and Shōgunate forces which led to the Meiji Restoration and the modernisation of Japan. In 1869 he met and bought the contract of a Geisha, Yoarashi Okinu and set her up in Saruwaka-cho in a shōtaku (a house in which a mistress is kept) and with a haneri (kimono under collar) shop in the Read more…

Lecture: Lesley Downer – The New Japan and the Last Samurai

Monday 18 June 2012 at 6.45pm 

The Oriental Club Stratford House 11 Stratford Place London W1C 1ES

Free – booking recommended

A pay bar is available before the lecture Please note: Oriental Club rules require gentlemen to wear jacket and tie Read more…