005: Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun’s Last Samurai

In this episode, Joe interviews Romulus Hillsborough about his recent book, Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun’s Last Samurai (Tuttle Publishing, ISBN 978-4805312353). Hillsborough writes a lively account of the painful transformation of Japan during the Meiji Restoration of the 19th century. Well-documented, Hillsborough had done extensive research in Japan, translating his own sources which had never been published in English. The “Last Samurai” as seen in the subtitle refers to Katsu Kaishu whose accounts form a critical part of the research. The work is divided into two books, the first covers the fall of the Shogunate. The second book covers the rise of Imperial Japan up to the famous Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, a revolt of disgruntled samurai against the new order.

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