« "It Works" | Main | Speaking bathtub »

November 12, 2004



When I visited Ueno Park with Peter last Saturday, we saw the famous statue of Takamori Saigo. I couldn't explain about Mr. Saigo because I didn't know much about him. So, I'm going to write about him here.

Takamori Saigo was the man who played a very important role at the Meiji Restoration in Japan. Before the restoration, Japan had been ruled by the Tokugawa family for more than 250 years which were the years of national isolation for Japan. Takamori was the samurai of the Satsuma Clan which was located in the southern part of Japan. He worked well and succeeded to move the power from General Tokugawa to the Emperor. Because of Takamori, Edo Castle, which had been the headquarters of Tokugawa was acceded to the Emperor without any battle, and he became the first general of the army. But after a few years, he lost the support of the new Japanese government because his policy on Korea was not accepted. And after a few more years, he plotted a coup d'etat and failed. He failed in his coup d'etat and killed himself on the top of the mountain.

I don't think that most Japanese know much about Takamori Saigo, but he is very popular in Japan because of his characteristic style. He is far from an ordinary Japanese person with a round face, big eyes, and thick lips. I don't know why his statue stands in Ueno Park, and why hehas a dog on a leash. He is also a man of riddles.

The comments to this entry are closed.