Sakamoto Ryoma's Life and Beliefs

Topics: Japan, Samurai, History of Japan Pages: 2 (642 words) Published: December 5, 2013

Part 1: Introduction
a- In 1866 a young samurai of low bearing forged an alliance that would change a nation and bring about the end of 265 year old Shogunate. b- Sakamoto Ryoma was an Imperial Loyalist whose efforts were essential in bringing about the Meiji restoration. c- In 1853, Japan was introduced to the western world by Commodore Perry. Ryoma began to feel that Japan’s policy of isolationism was becoming detrimental to their society. He and a few others dared to defy the will of their Shogun to restore power to the Emperor and open Japan to the West. d- Through his determined formation of an alliance and plans for a better future, Sakamoto Ryoma changed the course of an entire nation. Part 2: Section 1

a- Sakamoto Ryoma was born on January 3, 1836, the second son of a well-to-do family. In 1853, while Ryoma was in Edo mastering his already formidable skill in swordsmanship, Commodore Perry and his “Black Ships” sailed into Edo bay. The experience of seeing the ships had a profound effect on Ryoma and while he envied the power and technology of the west, he became a xenophobe. In 1854, Ryoma returned to his home domain of Tosa and for two years spoke to Kawade Shoryo, one of the few Japanese with knowledge of western culture. From him Ryoma learned the nuances of western political, economic, and social systems. Ryoma was interested in the fact that there were no class distinctions in America and began to feel that a reform in the Japanese government. He returned to Edo in 1856 and joined the Tosa Loyalist Party a political group that wanted a reform in the Tosa government. Ryoma later left the group and Tosa as he felt that a reform was needed throughout Japan, not just Tosa. Since no one was allowed to leave his clan on pain of death, Ryoma was forced to use the alias Saitani Umetaro.

b- “He was one of the youngest patriots, yet at the same time he...
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