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Let war be once declared, and the consequence would have been far more serious than at other times. One party in the Hikone Clan worked hard to escape, if possible, the penalty attending the unfortunate death of the beloved master. In order at least to lessen the impending penalty, the two confidential secretaries of the great Baron, Nagano Shuzen and Utsugi Rokunojo, were put to death.
The spirit of revenge grew more and more among the Hikone Clan, but with great difficulty it was pacified. This was done by calling the attention of the excited men to the instruction that had been given by one of their former lords, Naotaka by name, which happily served to stifle for a while all serious agitation.
Conference between Matthew Perry and Japanese representatives. Wilhelm Heine, Implicit obedience to the Tokugawa government was clearly set forth in this instruction, which, having been issued by him who was counted among the greatest of the Lords of Hikone, exerted a sufficiently potent influence to pacify the excitement agitating; the whole clan.
Here again the already disturbed Shogunate found itself face to face with another great problem—the confiscation of territory and extinction of the title of first in rank among the Retainer Barons; but fortunately it did not abide by the letter of the law.
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The Yedo government satisfied legal requirements by confiscating only a part of the baronial land. The great, and to some, the terrible Tairo being dead, attacks on the Shogun's policy became louder and louder. Along with these assaults the name of Ii Kamon-no-Kami came to be ranked with those of cho-teki , traitors or rebels. The feeling against him was so bitter that in order to prevent any further misfortune falling upon the Clan of Hikone, it became necessary to burn up all the official papers and records of him who was now classed, by the inflamed public opinion of the times, among the worst of rebels and enemies of the land.
It was given out that those documents had been committed to fire by two of the Baron's retainers, Riuhoji and Okubo. Nevertheless Okubo managed to save the precious documents. Whatever may come, I dare not burn them. If my secret concealment of these papers be exposed, then will I burn them, and atone for the guilt of concealment by killing myself. I am determined to preserve these precious documents at the risk of my life. These words were spoken to Riuhoji when he advised Okubo of the danger of keeping the valuable papers, but when on every side they were believed to have been consumed to ashes, they came forth to serve a noble purpose.
They save the home of a great statesman and patriot from the shame and dishonor in which it had long been buried.
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The able instrument of this noble service is Mr. Shimada Saburo. The occasion was the 19th year of Meiji, Then, Okubo, who had survived his friend, Riuhoji, felt safe for the first time since their concealment, in bringing out those valuable papers before those who assembled at the sepulchre of Riuhoji to celebrate the anniversary of his death. It was entirely through the deceased man's secrecy that Okubo had been enabled to save those papers as well as his own life. Shimada Saburo had already been seeking materials for the biography of Baron li Naosuke, but such data as he could obtain were far from impartial and satisfactory.
At last he heard of the existence of the original papers. These were gladly lent him, and from them, and from what he could gather from living authorities, he succeeded in compiling a book which is now ranked among the great works of the Meiji era. The appearance of his book was like a new star in the literary sky of new Japan. Before committing to print, copies of the book were distributed among those persons for criticism, who were acquainted with the politics and public opinion of the days before The book was then published with those criticisms in a form of notes.
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This fact, together with a careful study on the part of the author, makes the work doubly valuable and authentic as a historical record. The criticisms are very favorable, and at the same time confirm the conclusion which the author draws from his own studies and observations. Besides his disinterested loyalty to the Tokugawa Shogunate the great merit of Baron Ii Kamon-no-Kami as a remarkable statesman and an able diplomat, lies in his conclusion of a commercial treaty with the United States.
To his compatriots, Mr.
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Shimada has shown, through his book, the admirable merits of this great man, but no biography of him has yet been written in English, so that his true merits have not been fully made known to the American public. The artist Shima Sekka who was a sincere admirer of the Baron, carved his statue in wood and exhibited the work at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
It was then presented by the sculptor to the Museum of Washington, D. C, where it now stands as a memorial of him who sacrificed his life to secure the friendly relations now existing between the United States and the Empire of Japan. Saburo, Shimada and Yoshimaro Satoh. Appleton, Create a Free Account Already have an account?
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Compare Cultures Browse Groups Menu. Default Abstract List. Shimada Saburo, Yoshimaro Satoh. In explanation of this apparent deviation from the policy hitherto followed two things offer themselves: 1.