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Oguri Tadamasa

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  • Titles: Bungo no kami

Oguri Tadamasa was finance commissioner, and later military commissioner, in the last years of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Oguri, then holding a post as a high-ranking metsuke, traveled to the United States as a member of the first Japanese embassy to the US in 1860.

Following his return to Japan from the US, he and inspector Mizoguchi Katsuyuki were dispatched to Tsushima han to address a situation in which a Russian ship, the Posadnik, had anchored for months and refused to leave. After several weeks of meetings with no progress, the pair left.

Shortly after their return to Edo, Oguri resigned his post as magistrate for foreign affairs, and was succeeded by Nonoyama Kanehiro.

Beginning in 1865, with the advice of Leon Roches (French minister resident in Edo) he led efforts to reorganize the shogunate's military after a Western model, and also suggested consideration of the possible advantages of doing away with the domains altogether and reorganizing the government after a Western model. Though Oguri faced considerable opposition at first from conservative elements within the shogunate, the accession of pro-reform Tokugawa Yoshinobu to the position of shogun in 1866 brought greater support for these plans. Historian Andrew Gordon has even argued that if the shogunate had not fallen, under Yoshinobu it may well have adopted many of the Meiji government's Westernizing political reforms anyway.[1]

References

  • Robert Hellyer, Defining Engagement, Harvard University Press (2009), 211-212.
  • Gallery labels and pamphlet from exhibition "Samurai in New York." Museum of the City of New York. 25 June - 7 Nov. 2010.
  1. Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan, Oxford University Press (2013), 57.
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