8. 1877-1890 Kumamoto Castle and the Seinan War
The years following the Restoration and the Boshin War were confusing ones for the early Meiji government. The confusion resulted in many uprisings of former samurai who were suddenly out of work and funds, including the Shinpuren Rebellion (新風連の乱) by the Kinnoto in Kumamoto in 1876. This small uprising was memorialized in Yukio Mishima’s “Runaway Horses”. The Kinnoto were very much against the Westernization/modernization of the country, and it is rumored that if Janes had not left in early 1876 he and his family would have become victims of this rebellion. As it was, the general Tani and the governor XXX were killed along with several other government soldiers and officials. The band of XXX committed seppuku after one night of chaos.
The next year, however, saw the biggest and last rebellion of all against the new government. The Seinan Civil war, lead by Saigo Takamori, pitted the rebellious ex-samurai of Satsuma against the new government. However, the majority of the war actually took place in Kumamoto, where the government soldiers were waiting for the rebels in Kumamoto Castle. The siege of Kumamoto Castle, which fell in xxx took xxx days. The rebels themselves pushed on north, but were thwarted by several battles in northern Kumamoto and had to turn back through Miyazaki.
Oddly, Kumamoto castle was burned down just a day before the rebels arrived. No one knows why this happened. Was it arson? Was it a Satsuma spy? Was it deliberately done to protect state secrets or for some other reason? Hopefully, the future will provide an answer to these questions. At any rate, the only remaining part of the original castle is now Uto Yagura. Nagabei was also original, but was destroyed in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.
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