AD 1864-65 Kosanji Uprising — Takasugi Shinsaku’s incredible comeback — Introduction

Jul 2018
Hong Kong
AD 1864-65 Kosanji Uprising — Takasugi Shinsaku’s incredible comeback

1864-65年功山寺挙兵 — 高杉晋作の回天義挙

The Overall map for Kosanji Uprising.jpg
The military campaign map drawn by me personally

The status memorial to Takasugi Shinsaku for launching the armed uprising.jpg
The status memorial to Takasugi Shinsaku for his feat of launching the Kosanji Uprising. It was erected in the area of Kosanji

The military art painting depicting the Kihetai under the leadership of Takasugi Shinsaku


At the late night of 15th December 1864, the snowy day in the deep winter, an incident that decided the fate of the Choshu Domain and eventually the entire Japan occurred. The 25-year-old Kihetai commander Takasugi Shinsaku (高杉晋作) determined to launch a coup for overthrowing the Hagi-based Choshu government under control of the conservative party to seize the regime. Despite of only 84 of his men rallied, Shinsaku’s uprising force grew larger steadily with more volunteers joined in and scored a complete victory over the Hagi government army in a merely 10-day decisive battle. Afterward, the reformist party reclaimed the Choshu Domain’s power.

Shinsaku’s victory paved the way for the subsequent Satsuma-Choshu Alliance and Boshin War, greatly accelerated the demise of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the modernization of Japan with the earlier advent of the Meiji Restoration.

While the Kihetai’s astounding success proved the inadaptability of feudal samurai in modern warfare, and that in turn presaged the rise of commoners in military force with them forming the backbone of the future Japanese army.

This is the story about how Takasugi Shinsaku and these Kihetai struggled through hardship, and ultimately won their first war in battlefield that changed the fate of Choshu by their own hands.

In the subsequent blog threads, I will depict the tales of the Kosanji Uprising in detail.
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Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Republika Srpska
Interesting. I've always felt that the 1866 Summer War was overshadowed by the Boshin War, although in many ways the 1866 conflict made the overthrow of the Tokugawa possible.