AD 1864-65 Kosanji Uprising — Glossary dictionary

Jul 2018
Hong Kong

“Barbarians” (蠻夷) : how the ancient Chinese addressed the neighbor “uncivilized ethnic groups” with the sense of scornfulness ; later the Japanese inherited this calling and applied it on the Westerners

“Black ships” (黒船) : the name given to the Western vessels by the Japanese ; Commodore Perry’s fleet composed of “steamships” which emanated black smoke further engraved the term into the mind of many Japanese

Daikan (代官, “deputy lord”) : the magistrate who ruled the local area on behalf of the lord or the Shogun, was responsible for security, tax-collection and land-surveying of the inhabitant areas.

Daimyo (大名, “great lord”) : initially refers to the landlord owning the large tracts of territories and considerable amount of retainers and samurai ; in the Muromachi Era, it refers to those “governor daimyo” (守護大名) appointed by the Ashikaga Shogunate ; in the Sengoku Era, it refers to the powerful feudal lord established in the region ; in the Edo Period, it generally refers to the landlord possessing 10,000 or more koku

Under the political structure set up by the Tokugawa Shogunate, the daimyos were classified to three types.

Shinpan Daimyo (親藩大名, “relative daimyo”) : the daimyo had certain blood relations with the Shogun family, particularly refers to the clans of Gosanke (御三家, “the noble three houses” — Mito 水戶, Kishu 紀州, Owari 尾張) and Gonsakyo (御三卿, “the noble three lords” — Tayasu 田安, Hitotsubashi, 一橋, Shimizu 清水) founded for reserve supplement of the Shogun successor in case the direct bloodline running out of heirs ; generally these daimyos enjoyed the most favorable treatment of the Shogunate whether in career or official ranks ; Tokugawa Yoshitomi (徳川慶福), Tokuagwa Nariaki (徳川斉昭), Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu (一橋慶喜) in this story were the examples of this type of daimyo

Fudai Daimyo (譜代大名, “long-serving daimyo”) : the daimyos’ clan had served the 1st Edo Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu for long before Sekigahara (關原), particularly refers to those served the Tokugawa clan for many generations ; those daimyos were usually entrusted with the important post of administration in the Shogunate because of their greater loyalty and intimacy to the Shogun clan ; Tairo Il Naosuke (井伊直弼) in this story exactly belongs to this type of daimyo

Tozama Daimyo (外様大名, “outsider daimyo”) : those daimyos submitted to Tokugawa Ieyasu after Sekigahara ; usually they were distant with the Shogunate in relationship though some of them established closer tie with the Shogun by political marriage ; until the Bakumatsu Period, they were barred from participation of the Shogunate’s administration affairs and under watchful surveillance of the Shogunate ; Shimazu Nariakira (島津斉彬) mentioned in this story was an example of this type of daimyo

Hakamoto (旗本, “under the banner”) : the direct retainer served under the Tokugawa Shogunate with lower than 10,000 koku as his fief ; they were the main components of the administrative officers in Edo

Kiheitai (奇兵隊, “strange army”) : for its meaning and significance, I will give plenty of narration in the later part of story ; for now, I don’t spoil any word about this term

“Sonno joi” (尊王攘夷, “revere the emperor, expel the barbarians”) : for its meaning and significance, I will give plenty of narration in the later part of story ; for now, I don’t spoil any word about this term

Murayakunin (村役人, “village headman”) : the actual administrators of a rural village in the Edo Period, charged with tax-collection and surveillance on inhabitants ; they were under the command of daikan (代官)

Roju (老中, “Elder”) : the permanent high-ranking government position in the Tokugawa Shogunate, plural in number (usually 4 to 5), appointees decided on every month, was directly responsible to the Shogun ; only the Fudai daimyo over 25,000 koku was qualified to be chosen for the post ; its task was helping the Shogun to handle all sorts of administration affairs in the magistrate office set in the Edo Castle

Sakoku (鎖國, “blockade of country”) : the isolationist national policy carried out by the Edo Shogunate aimed for controlling the foreigners’ movement and trade around Japan to ensure the domestic stability and security. Except Dutch, all other Western Powers were forbidden to set foot in Japan. The Shogunate also maintained the limited trading and diplomatic relationships with China, Korea and Ryukyu. These policies lasted until Commodore Perry’s arrival in AD 1853

Tairo (大老, “great elder”) : the highest-ranking government position below the Shogun, surpasses Roju in status ; it was the temporal establishment in the time of emergency when an important decision had to be made

Tenchu (天誅, “righteous kill on behalf of the heaven”) : how the sonno joi activists legalized their actions of assassination or murder upon any political figures they had chosen in the name of helping the heaven casting punishment over those people they supposed doing wrong