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Thread: The Tales of the Meiji Restoration

  1. #21
    Valkyria Black Lotus's Avatar
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    Hey everyone! This is the new chapter after a week of writing. For the most part I've played the part as an observer since there's not much I can do as Japan before the Meiji Restoration, but once that happens there will be some ahistorical stuff! Maybe we'll have a communist Japan...
    "Politics. As exciting as war. Definitely as dangerous... Though in war, you can only get killed once. In politics it can happen over and over."

  2. #22
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    So time for Japan to join the world. Or rejoin the world, as it were.
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  3. #23
    The Quixotic Emperor of Mexico Maximilliano's Avatar
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    Commie Japan?! Nooooooo! The Emperor must continue his reign! It's a good story so far, how soon will we see the Rising Sun over Beijing?
    "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." -Winston Churchill

  4. #24
    Excellent AAR Black Lotus. I'll be following this.

  5. #25
    Second Lieutenant DukeLeo's Avatar

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    Great AAR but a civil war sounds kinda nasty. i would try to avoid getting overly friendly with the AMerican's they can be deceptive...

  6. #26
    The Grand God of Fried Eggs Simon-1979's Avatar

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    like this one - enjoy the pictures and lookin forward to some nice imerialistic action be it conservative imperialism or commie "freeing the enslaved masses" it all work fine both ways

  7. #27
    Field Marshal Olaus Petrus's Avatar
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    Now that Japan has decided to open herself to the Western influences. I'll wait to see some imperialism in Asia.
    "Reddite ergo quae sunt Caesaris Caesari et quae sunt Dei Deo."

    -Iesus Nazarenus

  8. #28
    Fancy Feeble CarcassDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Lotus
    ...in order to defeat your enemy, one must understand his enemy first.
    nice reference to Sun Tzu's "Art of war" there

    Great AAR so far, Japan is a fun nation to play... keep it coming
    Hell is the impossibility of reason!

  9. #29
    Valkyria Black Lotus's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for your comments, the next chapter will be pretty big since it's about the Meiji Restoration, the Boshin War....and maybe the seeds of a Communist Japan

    After the Meiji Restoration is when the historical storyline will take a different course
    "Politics. As exciting as war. Definitely as dangerous... Though in war, you can only get killed once. In politics it can happen over and over."

  10. #30
    Second Lieutenant DukeLeo's Avatar

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    Why must there allways be communist revoluitions a good old britsh style constitutional monarchy works fine also are you intendinig to eka over Korea at some stage?

  11. #31
    Valkyria Black Lotus's Avatar
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    Chapter 3: Shades of Revolution (1867-1868)


    By this time in 1867, Japan was modernizing at a steady pace to prepare for the conflicts ahead either with foreign aggression, or domestic violence. Two years ago, Japan's first modern naval arsenal was built in Yokosuka by the French engineer Léonce Verny. In January 1867, a French military mission arrived to reorganize the Shogunate army and create an elite force, and an order was placed with the United States to buy a French-made ironclad warship, the CSS Stonewall. The Japanese Navy would have eight western-style steam warships around the flagship Kaiyō Maru, which would be the humble beings of the future Imperial Japanese Navy. These ships would be used to the utmost extent in the coming war, but for now progress with the modernization of the Japanese military was going smoothly in terms of the speed of which Japan reformed. New technologies were arriving on the Japanese shores each day, and the seeds of conflict were beginning to come clear.


    The Newly Formed Japanese Military


    On one side, there was the Imperialist Faction, who believed in the Westernization of Japan and on the other side was Tokugawa Shogunate, who believed in isolationistic policies for Japan. Though it is true that the Shogunate at first was committed to modernization, anti-western feeling would spread throughout the daimyo, which would taint the outlook of foreigns in Japan. The Imperialist forces would comprise of mainly the Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa clans in the south and opposing them would be the Shogunate which was comprised of the Japanese Army. The Tokugawa Shogunate would be the principal faction of the anti-imperialists, commanding the general army while Saigō Takamori was the leading figure in the Imperialist forces. Both sides were of equal stature and fame in Japan though the start of the conflict would actually be born with the death of the Shogun and the Emperor as well in 1866.

    Politics can be a very fickle thing when it comes to a tradition hierarchy of ruling. In late 1866, first Shogun Iemochi and then Emperor Komei died, respectively succeeded by Yoshinobu and Emperor Meiji. Tokugawa Yoshinobu and Emperor Meiji would be two very different people in terms in their outlook for Japan in the future, and their failure to reconcile their differences would be paid in blood. Emperor Meiji believed in a modern democratic Japan, which would of course completely change Japan socially, economically, and politically. Emperor Meiji from the point of view of the Tokugawa Shogunate who have held the real power in Japan since the first daimyo, saw him as a dangerous radical who would sell Japan's soul to the West for modernization.


    Emperor Meiji in Full Uniform


    It would be Emperor Meiji however who would make the first move against the Shogunate. A secret order was issued in 1867 to Satsuma and Choshu by the Emperor himself, authorizing the "slaughtering of the traitorous subject Yoshinobu." Tokugawa Yoshinobu coincidentally resigned prior to that order following a proposal by the daimyo of Tosa. Yoshinobu resigned his post and authorities to the Emperor, agreeing to call a general assembly of daimyo to create a new government. The Tokugawa Shogunate had ended technically without a spill of blood, though the following assembly would change the hopes for peace in Japan.

    Yoshinobu's surrender to Emperor would leave a void in the highest levels of authority in the Shogunate, but strangely enough the apparatus of the Shogunate continued to exist. Moreover, the Tokugawa family would remain a prominent force in the evolving political order and would retain many executive powers, which the hard-liners from Satsuma and Choshu found intolerable. Events came to a head in, 1868 when these elements seized the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, and the following day had Emperor Meiji declare his own restoration to full power. Although the majority of the Imperial Assembly was happy with the formal declaration of Imperial rule and favorable to a continued collaboration with the Tokugawa, Saigō Takamori threatened the assembly into proclaiming the abolition of the title of "Shogun" and the confiscation of Yoshinobu's lands.

    Yoshinobu would be outraged by this threat from Takamori and was quoted saying "that he would not be bound by the proclamation of the Restoration and called on the court to rescind it." Yoshinobu prepared his forces to attack Kyoto which was at this time occupied by the Choshu and Satsuma clans. His decision to attack was also prompted by the recent burning of Edo Castle (The main residence of the Tokugawa) by Satsuma insurgents which made conflict inevitable. With Yoshinobu's surprise attack and subsequent burning of Kyoto and the Imperial Place, the conflict known only as the “Boshin War” would begin, and it would only be a matter of time until the entire population of Japan would be drawn into the conflict. The question of modernization or isolation would be answered in this civil war, and the lives of thousands would be in the hands of the few. The Boshin War would determine whether Japan would rise onto the world stage, or succumb into the depths of history as a nation that would have challenged the West...
    "Politics. As exciting as war. Definitely as dangerous... Though in war, you can only get killed once. In politics it can happen over and over."

  12. #32
    Captain Chesterton's Avatar
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    Good update. This AAR is getting better and better.

    I'm quite interested in this period of Japanese history. Granted, you'll be going ahistorical after the Restoration, but I look forward to see what will happen to Japan.
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  13. #33
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Bloodless revolutions never long remain that way.

    This is one of those 'make or break' moments.
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  14. #34
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    Price of the great reforms often has to be paid in blood.
    "Reddite ergo quae sunt Caesaris Caesari et quae sunt Dei Deo."

    -Iesus Nazarenus

  15. #35
    Very bloody and trialling times. You will be better for it in the long run. I hope.

  16. #36
    Fancy Feeble CarcassDK's Avatar
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    Tensions are up!... good work so far, i like your writing style.

    Just finished a japan game myself, its a really fun nation to play once youre civilized

    Hope we get so see a kick ass Emperial Fleet to protect you islands (and maybe colonies) later in game
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  17. #37
    Major rhynoclemmis's Avatar
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    I'd say Emperor Meji is a handsome enough guy to lead Japan into Communism.

    *subscribing*

    Keep up the good writing, it's very informative and interesting!
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  18. #38
    Valkyria Black Lotus's Avatar
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    Chapter 4: The War of the Last Wolves (1868-1876)


    On January 27, 1868, the Shogunate forces attacked the forces of Choshu and Satsuma, clashing near Toba and Fushimi, at the entrance of Kyoto. Some parts of the 15,000-strong Shogunate forces had been trained by French military advisers as mentioned earlier, but the majority remained medieval samurai forces. Meanwhile, the forces of Choshu and Satsuma were outnumbered 3:1 but fully modernized. The initial engagement would be later known as the battle of Toba-Fushimi with the Imperialist forces gaining a decisive victory.

    The battles themselves during the Boshin War would be a testament to the cause both sides were fighting for. Typically by the late 19th Century, most European nations only fought using modern Napoleonic tactics but in Boshin War, both old and new styles of warfare would take center stage. Clashes between armor and sword wielding samurai would fight against modern firearms from American and French armories. Howitzers and screw-driven steam warships would also make their debut in Japanese warfare, forever changing the face of war in the East.


    The Battle of Toba-Fushimi, like many others during the Boshin War


    The basic overall strategy for the Imperial Faction would be to sweep through lower Japan and work their way to Edo, the main city of Japan during this time. With superior technology and foreign training from various European nations such as America and Britain they would easily be able to defeat the Shogunate forces in the field. Though in more dense areas such as forests and mountain passes, the Shogunate was able to successfully attack using guerrilla warfare tactics. With the victory at Toba-Fushimi the road to Kyoto was clear.


    Overall Military Movements during the Boshin War


    Though the first battles were won by the Imperialists, the Shogunate overall had more troops and more power throughout Japan and it would be on February 5th that the balance would shift to Saigō Takamori and Emperor Meiji. As the Imperialist forces went through Toba-Fushimi, several local daimyo, previously faithful to the Shogunate, started to defect to the side of the Imperial Court. These included daimyo of Yodo on the 5th, and the daimyo of Tsu on the 6th , which would tilt the military balance in favor of the Imperial side.

    It would also be at this time that Emperor Meiji would give his official pennant to his troops, and named as General in Chief one of his relatives, Komatsumiya Akihito, making his forces officially an Imperial Army. This act was symbolic and important at the same time because it legitimized the Emperor's troops as a separate opposing force against the Shogunate so that they could not be claimed as a rebellion by the European onlookers.


    Saigō Takamori and his military staff, now reorganized as an Imperial Army


    The battles after Toba-Fushimi would be similar in their outcome with the Imperialist forces crushing the Shogunate and making them retreat farther north in Japan. The only real victories that the Shogunate would gain would be out at sea with the naval battle of Awa, showcasing the first test of Admiral Enomoto's skill at leading. The naval battle of Awa would cover the retreating Shogunate forces to the northern areas and delay the Imperialist navy from becoming too powerful.


    The Naval Battle of Awa


    On the diplomatic front, the ministers of foreign nations, gathered in the open harbor of Hyōgo in early February, issued a declaration according to which the Shogunate was still considered the only rightful government in Japan, giving hope to Tokugawa Yoshinobu that foreign nations (especially France) might consider an intervention in his favor. A few days later however an Imperial delegation visited the ministers declaring that the Shogunate was abolished, that harbors would be open in accordance with International treaties, and that foreigners would be protected. The ministers finally decided to recognize the new government, proclaiming that Emperor Meiji's faction were the rightful leaders of Japan.

    It would be the Hokkaido Campaign that would seal the Shogunate's fate in the Boshin War. With the losses at Toba-Fushimi, and subsequent losses at Kōshū-Katsunuma, and Ueno the Shogunate would lose valuable harbors to shelter their fleet leading to its demise at the naval battle of Miyako. With both control of the land and the sea, Tokugawa Yoshinobu retreated his forces to the northern island of Hokkaido to make their last stand as true to the tradition of the samurai under the command of Admiral Enomoto. In April 1869, Emperor Meiji dispatched a fleet and an infantry force of 7,000 to Ezo, starting the Battle of Hakodate. The Imperial forces progressed swiftly and won the naval engagement at Hakodate Bay, Japan's first large-scale naval battle between modern navies. Eventually, the Shogunate's forces were defeated and with Admiral Enomoto's surrender soon after, the Imperial forces had won the Boshin War making Emperor Meiji the sole ruler of Japan.

    Following victory, the new government proceeded with unifying the country under a single, legitimate and powerful Imperial rule. The military and political power of the various daimyo was progressively eliminated with their lands being transformed into prefectures, and many samurai converted to administrators. The southern domains of Satsuma, Choshu and Tosa, having played a decisive role in the victory, occupied most of the key posts in government for several decades following the conflict. The Imperial side did not turn its back on foreign interests in Japan, but instead shifted to a more progressive policy aiming at the continued modernization of the country and the renegotiation of unequal treaties with foreign powers. In the aftermath, over 120,000 were mobilized during the Boshin War with both sides losing around 1,500. Though the number of casualties were small, the Boshin War was the first large scale modern military conflict in the East with Western style guns, artillery, and steam ships being used by both sides. The “Gatling Gun” would also be used in the Boshin War, primarily by the Imperialist forces in repelling samurai boarding parties during the various naval battles. By 1876* military phase of the Meiji Restoration was done, and a new government reigned all throughout Japan, one based on laws and on European principals.


    The Meiji Restoration


    The Meiji Restoration would be a source of pride for the Japanese, as it and the accompanying industrialization allowed Japan to become the preeminent power in the Pacific and a major player in the world within a generation. In 50 years (1836-1876) Japan was able to completely civilize and show the world the power of the Japanese people. The coming years would be an experimental phase for the Japanese and their course of action following the Meiji Restoration would send them in a collision course with the “Old Powers” of Europe and America. The “Land of the Rising Sun” would begin to shine across all of Asia and it would up to the Japanese people to guide their new nation through the hardships of the modern way of life.


    Author's Notes:

    *Technically the Boshin War ended in 1869 of which the Meiji Period began. Because of Victoria's random events, my “Restoration” came in 1876.

    ** In the Meiji Restoration picture, it talks of Mutsuhito and of Emperor Komei, Mutsuhito was Emperor Meiji's personal name, while Emperor Komei was his father.
    Last edited by Black Lotus; 16-12-2006 at 13:01.
    "Politics. As exciting as war. Definitely as dangerous... Though in war, you can only get killed once. In politics it can happen over and over."

  19. #39
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Excellent. A good overall history of the civil war. And now Japan is ready to make her mark on the wider world.
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  20. #40
    Field Marshal Olaus Petrus's Avatar
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    How soon do you plan to attack against Korea and other uncivs?
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