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Unformatted text preview: he shogunate,
but they are not especially important to Japanese cultural history and
hence may be briefly summarized here. The first wave of opposition to
the shogunate’s handling of foreign affairs came primarily from certain of
the larger tozama or outside han of western Japan, especially Satsuma and
Chòshû. These great domains regarded as anachronistic the Tokugawa
governing system whereby they were theoretically excluded from all participation in the conduct of national affairs at Edo. In the early 1860s, the
shogunate sought a reconciliation by bringing some of the more important outside daimyos into its deliberative councils. At the same time, it
attempted to strengthen relations with Kyoto by arranging a marriage
between the shogun and an imperial princess.
With these developments, the initiative in opposition to the shogunate’s policies was assumed by younger, activist samurai from Satsuma,
Chòshû, and other domains, many of whom renounced their feudal ties
to become rònin and thus free to pursue their own political convictions.
These samurai, also known as shishi or “men of high purpose,” formed
the nucleus of the loyalist movement that grew in intensity during the
next few years. By the middle of the decade, the loyalists were openly
calling for the overthrow of the shogunate on the grounds that, not only
had it usurped the rightful ruling powers of the emperor, it had failed
militarily to protect Japan against the intrusion of the Western barbarians.
For them, “Revere the Emperor!” became a call for imperial restoration Encounter with the West 237 and “Expel the Barbarians!” a demand that the shogunate do what in fact
was no longer possible: drive the foreigners from Japanese soil.
The climax to the confrontation between the shogunate and the loyalists, more and more of whom were congregating in Kyoto where they
aligned themselves with anti-Tokugawa ministers at the imperial court,
came in 1866 when the shogunate attempted for the second time in two
years to put down the loyalist faction in the most unruly of the domains,
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- Spring '13