Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps

Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps

by Romulus Hillsborough

Paperback(1st Edition)

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Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps is the true story of the notorious samurai corps formed in 1863 to arrest or kill the enemies of the Tokugawa Shogun.

The only book in English about the Shinsengumi, it focuses on the corps' two charismatic leaders, Kondo Isami and Hijikata Toshizo, both impeccable swordsmen. It is a history–in–brief of the final years of the Bakufu, which collapsed in 1867 with the restoration of Imperial rule. In writing Shinsengumi, Hillsborough referred mostly to Japanese–language primary sources, including letters, memoirs, journals, interviews, and eyewitness accounts, as well as definitive biographies and histories of the era.

The fall of the shogun's government (Tokugawa Bakufu, or simply Bakufu) in 1868, which had ruled Japan for over two and a half centuries, was the greatest event in modern Japanese history.

The revolution, known as the Meiji Restoration, began with the violent reaction of samurai to the Bakufu's decision in 1854 to open the theretofore isolated country to "Western barbarians." Though opening the country was unavoidable, it was seen as a sign of weakness by the samurai who clamored to "expel the barbarians."

Those samurai plotted to overthrow the shogun and restore the holy emperor to his ancient seat of power. Screaming "heaven's revenge," they wielded their swords with a vengeance upon those loyal to the shogun.

They unleashed a wave of terror at the center of the revolution—the emperor's capital of Kyoto. Murder and assassination were rampant. By the end of 1862, hordes of renegade samurai, called ronin, had transformed the streets of the Imperial Capital into a "sea of blood."

The shogun's administrators were desperate to stop the terror. A band of expert swordsmen was formed. It was given the name Shinsengumi ("Newly Selected Corps")—and commissioned to eliminate the ronin and other enemies of the Bakufu. With unrestrained brutality bolstered by an official sanction to kill, the Shinsengumi soon became the shogun's most dreaded security force.

In this vivid historical narrative of the Shinsengumi, the only one in the English language, author Romulus Hillsborough paints a provocative and thrilling picture of this fascinating period in Japanese history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9784805311196
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Publication date: 05/10/2011
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 514,460
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Romulus Hillsborough is a native Californian who lived in Japan for over fifteen years. Fluent in spoken and written Japanese, he is the author of two other books on the samurai, Ryoma: Life of a Renaissance Samurai and Samurai Sketches: From the Bloody Final Years of the Shogun, he lives in the San Francisco area with his wife and son.

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Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Ladyace729 More than 1 year ago
Got this book as result of my child's interest in Japanese anime. One series, "Hakuoki," really took me by surprise! I started researching some of the events addressed in this series and found that the Shinsengumi members were real people. I was hooked! So, when I came across this book, I just had to get it. I've always enjoyed history and historical fiction, but mostly regarding Europe. I have yet to find an equivalently amazing historical piece written about medival European times as Hillsborough has done here. I've thoroughly enjoyed this book, so I also read "Sakamoto Ryoma: Legend of a Renaissance Samurai" and it was equally great, even though it was a VERY big book and presented the opposite side of the Shinsengumi's story. I'll be finishing Samurai Tales soon, too. I couldn't get enough of the subject matter, especially because of Hillsborough writing style. PHE - NO - ME - NAL !!!!!
ambVA More than 1 year ago
This book is a rarity in itself. The author writebso passionately about a time period of which little is known of in the first place. He tells who the power to play were and why they all were aiming for each others neck. This book is well written with a great tone that feels like your being taught not lectured.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hillsborough brilliantly covered all possible information on the ancient corps known as the Shinsegumi. He left detailed appendixes and information on those various members of the corps. The first chapters led you directly into the tumultuous era in which all of these events took place. Not only did Hillsborough give you the history of the Shinsengumi, but established their emotional standings. The final chapter of Hijiakta's Last Battle was brilliantly filled with information uncommonly known.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The First English book that I've known to date about The Shinsengumi! The Beloved Kyoto Bakufu group in Japan! I'm so glad Romulus took the time to create a book with such information about them. I've been searching forever for one, and so the time has come! I'm going to wait for the preorder!