Monday, August 9, 2010

[Resources] The End of the Samurai: The Satsuma Rebellion

In 1877, the last of the major Samurai rebellions occurred in Japan. An ex-samurai and former leader in the Meiji government who supported the new reforms, Saigō Takamori, lead this rebellion as a response to perceived corruption in the new government.

Before he became a rebel, he believed that war with Korea would have been strengthening to the Japanese nation and the military - he wanted to provoke Korea by being so insulting during a visit that they would kill him and start the war.

After the government didn't take to his insult-them-so-they-kill-me-and-we-go-to-war plan, he retired in protest and seemed content to run a private academy that taught things like the Chinese classics as well as bushido with martial training.

Of course, the government in Tokyo was not pleased with this, and after a few bad situations occurred, like the police being sent to "protect" Saigo revealing under torture they were there to kill him and a naval vessel attempting to remove an arsenal from a nearby city (prompting a couple of raids from the academy students), the area was up in arms.

Saigo stepped in, reluctantly, and lead the rebellion. Between February 1877 and Autumn of that year, a number of battles occurred, from a failed attempt to gain access to Kumamoto castle early in the campaign to an eight day long battle in March, which lead to a retreat from Kumamoto. The final battle occured on September 24th, when the heavily outnumbered rebels charged down the throat of the Imperial Japanese army's gatling guns in one last mad-dash for glory, to predictable results.

This history is a perfect resource for an end of the Samurai game or even for a setting where the transition from one system (feudalism) to another (democracy) leaves a martial/noble class used to being in charge in the dust.

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