A Japanese Statesman of the Meiji Restoration aptly describes who Kido Takayoshi was. He was also known by another name: Kido Koin or Katsura Kogoro. He lived during the late Tokugawa period. He was born to a highly influential warrior family.
Kido Takayoshi became active in the politics of his Choshu domain fief. He was a born leader of the Choshu. He was chosen to lead the movement against the Tokugawa shogunate. Choshu Domain occupied the modern-day Yamaguchi prefecture.
Kido Takayoshi Profile
Kido Takayoshi was the son of Wada Masakage, a Samurai physician. His mother was the second wife of Masakage. Her name was Seiko. Later on, the Katsura family adopted him at the age of seven.
He was then named Katsura Kogoro. He was educated through the Yoshida Shoin Academy. He was educated at Shoka Sonjuku. He embraced the Imperial loyalism philosophy.
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Prior to the Meiji Restoration, the Shogun was the military dictator that ruled Japan for three years from 1185 to 1868.
These Shogun were de factor rulers of the country although these were appointed by the Emperor as a ceremonial formality. The Shogun had absolute power over the territories but they used the military to do so.
He was one of the great nobles that led the Restoration and peace in Japan. He was considered to be one of the heroes who overthrew the Tokugawa Shogunate so that power can be restored to the Japanese Emperor.
After the Meiji Restoration, Kido Takayoshi became one of the main officials in the new government.
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The Big Three Giants
Together, these three were known collectively as Three Giants of the Meiji Restoration. They led a coup to overthrow the Shogunate that restored the emperor to power.
Kido Takayoshi From Kyoto to Edo
Kido Takayoshi carried the burden to persuade the heads of the Han to move the Imperial capital from Kyoto to Edo. Kyoto became Tokyo and power was returned to the emperor.
The heads of the large Han agreed to renounced their domains so that the country was subdivided into prefectures instead. For each prefecture, an official was appointed by the central administration.
There were 47 prefectures that formed the first level of jurisdiction and administrative division. These prefectures were once part of the ancient Ritsuryo provinces of Japan.
Kido Takayoshi Life in Retirement
Kido was with other high government officials who visited Europe. When they go back to Japan they plan on invading Korea. There were other expeditions similar to this that he went with like those against Taiwan.
When his views were not acknowledged, he retired. After Japan’s forces went back to work, a new style of Western Constitution was formed that assume less active participation in government and politics.
The Death of Kido Takayoshi
It was during the Satsuma Rebellion that he died of a sickness that was plaguing him for a long time. Kido Takayoshi suffered from mental illness. There was a theory that he also became an alcoholic and that he also suffered from beriberi or tuberculosis.
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Image Source: Wikimedia [Public domain]