Togo and the Rise of Japanese Sea Power

Togo and the Rise of Japanese Sea Power

Togo and the Rise of Japanese Sea Power

Togo and the Rise of Japanese Sea Power


COMMODORE PERRY'S prologue to the new era did not constitute an epilogue to the old. The existing order died hard.

A furious campaign to undo the recent betrayal of the seclusion policy and to end the power of the Shogunate which had been guilty of fostering it took form under the Jo-i (Barbarian Expelling) party. Charter members were the dictatorial ghosts of the honourable ancestors. The less ethereal supporters came mostly from the provinces not under the control of Yedo, notably from Togo's Satsuma and from Choshu at the western extremity of the Main Island.

Honorary and unsought leadership of the Jo-i movement was bestowed upon the Mikado himself, in whose sacred name the presumptuous foreign trafficking of the Shogun was assailed.

The history of these years of prime transition could be set forth best in parallel columns of juxtaposed contemporary events. The inroads of commerce, diplomacy and culture would be presented opposite the acts of affirmative resistance by the hyper-nationalists. The latter, like all other conservatives, were dominated by the fear of losing what they possessed, in this case the spiritual and social integrity of their nation and race. Clutching frantically at the hands of the world's clock, they desperately strove to turn it back to the time before Perry.

Arrayed against these anti-Tokugawa and anti-foreign factions was the Bakufu or Shogunal party, supported by the adherents of the Yedo régime, the trade-minded merchants and those recently sprouted liberals who had no counterpart in any other section of Asia.

The great masses, often drawn into the controversy in one way or another, were intellectually inert about its merits.

Whenever anything occurred in the sphere of foreign relations, the Bakufu party automatically scored a point, because the very essence of the Jo-i doctrine was to prevent things . . .

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