Tokugawa Yoshinobu

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Tokugawa Yoshinobu (徳川 慶喜?) (also known as Keiki), October 28, 1837–November 22, 1913) was the 15th and last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. He was part of a movement which aimed to reform the aging shogunate, but was ultimately unsuccessful. After resigning in late 1867, he went into retirement, and largely avoided the public eye for the rest of his life.

Contents

Early life

Tokugawa Yoshinobu was born in Mito, Hitachi Province, the seventh son of Tokugawa Nariaki, daimyo of Mito. Mito was one of the gosanke, the three branch families of the Tokugawa clan which were eligible to be chosen as shogun.

Born with the name Matsudaira Shichirōma[2], he was brought up under strict, spartan supervision and tutelage[3]. He was taught in the literary and martial arts, as well as receiving a solid education in the principles of politics and government.[4]

At the instigation of his father, Shichirōma was adopted by the Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa family in order to have a better chance of succeeding to the shogunate.[5] He became family head in 1847, coming of age that year, receiving court rank and title, and taking the name Yoshinobu.[6] Upon the death of the 13th shogun, Shogun Iesada, in 1858, Yoshinobu was nominated as a potential successor.[7] His supporters touted his skill and efficiency in managing family affairs. However, the opposing faction, led by Ii Naosuke, won out. Their candidate, the young Tokugawa Yoshitomi, was chosen, and became the 14th shogun Iemochi.[8] Soon after, during the Ansei Purge, Yoshinobu and others who supported him were placed under house arrest.[9] Yoshinobu himself was made to retire from Hitotsubashi headship.

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