The Most Well-known Samurai in Japan, Ryoma Sakamoto (1836-1867)

  • The research shows that the most liked samurai among Japanese people today is Ryoma Sakamoto.
  • He envisioned a democratic Japan beyond the feudal system. He wanted to open up the borders of Japan.
  • He united the two hostile clans against the shogunate. However, the members of Shinsengumi, who supported the shogunate, did not like him. They attempted to assassin him several times and killed him while resting at an inn in Kyoto.
  • He was assassinated by a large group of attackers on his birthday at the young age of 31.
  • Ryoma was a visionary patriot who admired democratic principles of Western nations, particularly the United States congress and British Parliament as a model of Japanese governance after the Meiji Restoration. He tried to modernize Japan so that Japan could form its own government and monetary systems, develop industries, and also establish itsown army and navy to defend itself.
  • He was assassinated at the age of 31 at Omiya in Kyoto in 1867. Until then, he left several footprints in Kyoto.
  • Teradaya, once a designated ryokan for the vassals of Satsuma Domain, is famous as the place where Ryoma was assaulted by pursuing parties of the Fushimi magistrate.
  • Ryoma’s wife, Oryo, is said to have saved his life with her agile mind. While taking a bathshe noticed that the ryokan was surrounded by about 30 armed men, so she climbed upthe backyard stairs with nothing on to let Ryoma know about it. He narrowly escaped thedisaster. (so called Teradaya Incident)
  • Syorenin Konzouji Temple is the place where Ryoma and Oryo had a private wedding supposedly in 1866. Currently there is no remaining of the temple and only the stone monument indicating so stands there.
  • Kyoto Ryozenzan-mountain Gokoku Jinja is where Ryoma was buried with his friend patriot Nakaoka Shintaro. This shrine was founded by the order of Emperor Meiji to console the souls of samurai warriors who lost their lives without witnessing their modernized mother country .

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