Background[ edit ] Although Satsuma had been one of the key players in the Meiji Restoration and the Boshin Warand although many men from Satsuma had risen to influential positions in the new Meiji governmentthere was growing dissatisfaction with the direction the country was taking. The modernization of the country meant the abolition of the privileged social status of the samurai class, and had undermined their financial position. At one point, he offered to visit Korea in person and to provoke a casus belli by behaving in such an insulting manner that the Koreans would be forced to kill him. Soon branches were established all over the prefecture.
See Article History Alternative Titles: Although his participation in the restoration made him a legendary hero, it also, to his mortification, relegated his samurai class to impotence. A giant among his contemporaries, he appeared frightening at first glance, with his large, piercing eyes and bushy eyebrows, but he was friendly and unassuming in manner.
Possessing all the samurai virtues—bravery, generosity, and excellent swordsmanship—he attracted friends and followers in great numbers.
He was impatient with details, making decisions quickly and preferring action over argument; his natural disposition was probably reinforced by his education, which included training in Zen Buddhism and the Neo-Confucianism of the Chinese philosopher Wang Yang-mingwho espoused sincere convictions and forthright action.
One of the inner group of decision makers in his own han, he also had wide contacts among the Imperial loyalist element throughout the country that was soon to overthrow the shogunate government.
Before dawn on Jan. A council of notables was summoned to which the young emperor read the Imperial rescript that was to inaugurate a new era for Japan. With a reliable military force under their control for the first time, the leaders of the restoration were able to take a vital step, which they considered the most daring taken so far: The change went smoothly and was followed by the disbandment of all han troops.
During this period, however, serious differences were developing over the question of introducing conscription. Some members of the government, influenced by a study of European army organization, insisted that universal military training was a necessity. Others felt that it was unwise to deprive the samurai class of their ancient monopoly on warfare.
It is known that he privately supported the plan, and there is general agreement that without his encouragement, conscription probably would not have been adopted by the government.
The question remains, however, as to why he could not bring himself to support it openly. During the summer ofthese emotions boiled over in connection with the problem of Korea. From his particular viewpoint, a war would also have the advantage of reinvigorating the samurai, many of whom were sulking or rebellious over the trend toward modernization that had set in with the restoration but who felt especially aggrieved by the conscription act.
While there he would contrive to behave in such a way as to provoke his own murder, thus affording Japan unquestionable justification for a declaration of war. After continued entreaties, he succeeded in having his proposal approved by the emperor on August 18, shortly before government leaders returned from a lengthy foreign trip.
Appalled at the decision, these men argued the priority of internal development over foreign adventure and were eventually able to have the plan canceled. Thus, his intransigence had irreparably split the leadership of the nation. Disaffected former samurai from all parts of Japan flocked to study under him.
It was estimated that by the students numbered about 20, To the government in Tokyo, however, it was a cause for concern: With samurai rebellions occurring in other parts of the country duringthere was real fear that Kagoshima might become the centre of a serious insurrection.
In an attempt to assert authority, the government took some ill-advised steps that only inflamed the already tense atmosphere, and on Jan. Government forces blocked his advance at Kumamoto, and full-scale war ensued for the next six months. With a few hundred men, he returned to Kagoshima to make his last stand on a hill overlooking the city.
Of the 40, troops he had led in February, only some remained to surrender. Losses on both sides were estimated at approximately 12, dead and 20, wounded. The conscript army had defeated the samurai; never again would the government fear local uprisings or samurai threats. He became a legend: Legacy Such a complex character must necessarily have had detractors as well as admirers.
His critics have called him changeable, because he joined a government he did not believe in and then left it; insincere, because he proposed offering negotiation to Korea although he was hoping for war; and undignified, in seriously proposing to have himself murdered by the Koreans.
Yet there are few who would call him a rebel: To say this is to say that he was a tragic figure, possessed of undeniable talent, who, although he had had much to do with bringing a new age to birth, could not make a complete adjustment to it in his own mind, and finally sought escape in the only way that seemed honourable to him:May 30, · Takafumi Saigo stands beside a portrait of Saigo Takamori, his great-grandfather and leader of the Satsuma Rebellion, in Hioki, Kagoshima Prefecture.
>Saigō Takamori and Ōkubo Toshimichi of Satsuma, were young samurai of modest rank, but they did not represent in any sense a class interest.
Indeed, their measures destroyed the samurai class. Iwakura, Okubo, and Kido join win out, Saigo and others resign.
samurai get mad that SAigo left. leads Satsuma Rebellion in , eventually commits suicide after 6 months of fighting. death makes him a tragic yet noble figure who fought for what he believed. Saigo Takamori, who would be the leader of the Satsuma Rebellion, was particularly worried about the political corruption, after all he had supported the reforms of the Meiji government in the first place, he had even helped to create the imperial army he would face.
A leader of Japan’s 19th-century drive to modernize, and at the same time a defender of its ancient samurai values, Saigo Takamori's . Saigo Takamori helped to replace the Bakufu to install the Meiji restoration. During the Boshin war (), Saigō Takamori led the Meiji army.
Disagreeing on the reforms put in place by the new power, he left the court and went back to Kagoshima in Satsuma. As a clan leader, he was right to.