Tokugawa Yoshinobu

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Tokugawa Yoshinobu as Shogun
Tokugawa Yoshinobu, around 1867
Tokugawa Yoshinobu in traditional costume, around 1865
Tokugawa Yoshinobu as Kōshaku, around 1905

Tokugawa Yoshinobu ( Japanese 徳 川 慶 喜 ; * October 28, 1837 in Edo , † November 22, 1913 in Tokyo ) was the 15th and last Japanese Shogun (1866-67) of the Edo period .


He was born the seventh son of Tokugawa Nariaki , who was the 9th daimyo of Mito (now Ibaraki Prefecture ). He was adopted as a child by the Hitotsubashi line of the Tokugawa , one of the Gosankyō , had risen to head of the family in 1847 and had meanwhile made a name for himself as an able administrator.

In the course of the shogunate's takeover in 1858 by his predecessor Tokugawa Iemochi and his most powerful advisor, Ii Naosuke , he and his father were arrested, under house arrest and briefly politically sidelined because he was defeated in the struggle for the office of shogun, although he was Hotta Masayoshi and the Kōmei-Tennō from the reformer wing actively supported. The reformer wing hoped that he would continue the innovations in the spirit of the Mito school . His supporters continued to include the influential daimyo of Satsuma , Shimazu Nariakira . In the course of this turmoil he was forced to give up the status of head of the family. In 1860 he became head of the family again after his main opponent Ii was murdered during the Sakuradamon incident .

In 1866 he followed the late Tokugawa Iemochi as Shogun. His attempts at slow modernization, which he worked out in collaboration with the French diplomat Léon Roches , did not find a majority among the warring parties. He finally abdicated on November 9, 1867 under pressure from the reformers who, instead of the shogunate (Bakufu), sought a nominal restoration of imperial rule with simultaneous modernization of the country. However, he only resigned from office, not from his actual powers.

He then went from Kyoto to Osaka , but had to see how influential daimyo at the court of the Tenno campaigned to completely disempower him and seize his property. He formally protested at the Tennō against these measures. The Tenno then declared itself again in possession of the old rulership rights, so that it came to the following Boshin War , in which Tokugawa Yoshinobu tried to attack the capital Kyoto and bring the Tenno into his power. His troops, three times superior in number, well trained by French military advisers (including Jules Brunet ), but rather poorly equipped, were defeated at the Battle of Toba-Fushimi from January 27 to 31, 1868 and he had to flee to Edo . When the imperial troops appeared in front of the city, the surrender took place on April 11, 1868 in the castle of Edo . He previously adopted Tokugawa Iesato, a young family member who then became the new head of the family.

Since then, he has not interfered in the political life of Japan and lived in seclusion in Shizuoka Prefecture . There he pursued his private studies, pursued oil painting , indulged his passion for hunting and dealt intensively with the emerging photography . He had shown great interest in the achievements of the modern world. So he loved cycling and bought an automobile .

In 1897 he moved to Tokyo and in 1902 he was awarded the title of Prince ( Kōshaku ) by the Tennō Meiji , as the only holder of this title regardless of the amount of his travel income. In 1908 he received the Order of the Rising Sun from the Tennō .

Tokugawa Yoshinobu died at the age of 76 and was buried in the Yanaka Cemetery in Tokyo.

His ninth daughter Tokugawa Tsuneko married the imperial prince Fushimi Hiroyasu on January 9, 1896, a cousin of the later Tennō Hirohito .

In 2010, surprisingly, handwritten documents of his from 1912 were found that the grandson of his last personal physician had kept with him.

Web links

Commons : Tokugawa Yoshinobu  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Profile of Tokugawa Yoshinobu on (English)
  2. a b The diary of the last shogun on, January 11, 2010
  3. Tokugawa Yoshinobu on (English)
  4. Tokugawa Yoshinobu: Last Shogun, Hobbyist on (English)
  5. Profile Tokugawa Yoshinobu on (English)