CHIKANOBU TOYOHARA (1838–1912)
Beautiful triptych with fresh colors, representing the defeat of the
famous Saigo Takamori, considered as the last samurai, during the
rebellion of Kagoshima (Satsuma)"Born into a family of humble Satsuma officers, Saigō Takamori nonetheless enjoyed rapid promotion and was given special assignments by his daimyō to work for the entry of daimyōs into the shōgunal government. While in Kyoto, in 1858, during the repression organized by the bakufu in the imperial capital, he fled to his stronghold, then, involved in the dynastic quarrels of the seigneurial family, he lived in disgrace, most of the time, until 1864. He He then made himself the man of negotiations and narrowly succeeded in averting the first civil war between the bakufu and Chōshū, he commanded a detachment of the Imperial Guard and, against his will, was brought in to repel the companies of Chōshū who were attacking Kyoto. It was later that he was gradually convinced of the need to overthrow the shōgunate. He met Kido Takayoshi in 1866 and gradually realized the rapprochement between Satsuma and Chōshū, until the bakufu's second campaign against Chōshū, in 1867.One of the architects of the coup d'etat of January 3, 1868 by which the imperial court proclaimed the "return to the old monarchy", he commanded the army which conquered the main domains of the shōgun, between Kyoto and the Kantō, and secured Edo's unconditional surrender. However, convinced that it was necessary to mobilize the traditional forces, he shunned for a while the new regime which was moving towards modernization. He nevertheless agreed to enter the Executive Council in 1870, and offered the assistance of his army to make the abolition of the fiefs effective. When Kido Takayoshi and Ōkubo Toshimichi left Japan with Iwakura Tomomi's embassy, he remained in the Tokyo government. In order to bring together the bushi dissatisfied with the reorganization of the army, he planned to force Korea to open up, aware that his approach would probably end in war. Prevented by Ōkubo, returning from Europe, in 1873, he resigned from the government and returned to his old stronghold. There, he opened a school for young people and formed an army: Satsuma then became a de facto autonomous enclave. Ōkubo, impatient with this dissent, provoked war and had Satsuma occupied by the modern army, in 1877. Knowing the inevitable defeat, Saigō Takamori committed suicide. A character full of paradoxes, he was both one of the main founders of the Meiji regime and the greatest rebel that the renovated monarchy has known: he remains one of the most popular figures in Japan.in: Universalis Encyclopedia..