Boshin War

戊辰戦争 (1868–1869)


Date January 1868 – November 1869
Location Japan
Result Continuation of Shogun authority

Tokugawa Yoshinobu returns to power


Flag of the Japanese Emperor Imperial faction:

Flag of Satsuma domain Satsuma Domain,

Flag of Choshu domain Chōshū Domain,

Flag of Tosa domain Tosa Domain ,

Flag of Hiroshima domain Hiroshima Domain,

Saga Domain

Tokugawa family crest Tokugawa Shogunate Flag of Ouetsu Reppan Domei or the Northen Alliance in Japan Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei
Commanders and leaders
Ruler: Meiji Emperor,

CIC: Saigō Takamori, Army: Kuroda Kiyotaka


Ruler: Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Army: Katsu Kaishu, Navy: Enomoto Takeaki,

~30,000 ~ 80,000
Casualties and losses
~7,300 killed ~4,300 killed

The Boshin War was the first major war to occur on Japanese land since the Mongol Invasion, and was the struggle between the Shogunate Tokugawa forces led by Tokugawa Yoshinobu and the Imperial forces led by Meiji Emperor.

Meiji Emperor wanted to return power to the imperial court after having it taken from them in the 12th century. The Tokugawa forces, however, wanted Yoshinobu to remain in power as his ancestors did since 1603.

The war began when disgruntled nobles in the south began supporting the emperor due to the Tokugawa's handling of foreign powers in the last four decades leading up to the war. The southern samurai entered an alliance and drove the Shogun from power, replacing him with the Emperor Meiji. Tokugawa Yoshinobu abdicated knowing the position he was in. By doing this Yoshinobu hoped that the house of Tokugawa would be able to participate in the future Imperial government.

Lead up to War

By 1866, French military missions were appearing all over Japan with French generals being employed by the local Daiyamos and the Shogun himself.

Shogunate troops around 1864.

During March 1866, the Shogun employed several French generals to help modernize his own army. This modernization was tested in the Summer of the same year when Anti-Shogun extremists conducted a coup on the Chōshū domain and the Shogunate announced the Second Chōshū expedition. When the Shogun and allied Domains arrived, they were slaughtered even though the Shoguns troops were "modernized", Chōshū troops had extensive training, modern weapons and better tactics. By late 1866, any or all hopes of a "truce" was inevitable due to the loss of Tokugawa authority and the deaths of both Shogun Tokugwa Iemochi (succeeded by Tokugawa Yoshinobu) and Emperor Kōmei (Succeeded by Emperor Meiji).

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