The Boshin War (戊辰戦争)
The Boshin War from 1868 to 1869 was a civil war in Japan in which the new Meiji government, brought about by the restoration of the Japanese monarchy, eradicated the power of the Edo Shogunate. The civil war was named after the Chinese zodiac sign for the year 1868, 'Boshin'. As a result of the war, members from the Sat-Cho (the Satsuma and Choshu Domains) and their supporting domains (the Saga and Tosa Domains) played an active role in the Meiji government, and Japan was to head for the modern system of centralized government.
The Boshin War was roughly divided into three phases: the Battle of Toba and Fushimi phase which arose from the power struggle between the Sat-Cho and the Shogunate under the new government; the Tohoku War phase, including the Hokuetsu War and the Aizu War, which arose from the issue of punishment meted out to Aizu and Shonai Domains; and the Hakodate War phase in which the members of the former Shogunate staged a final revolt.
Each of the camps may be referred to as the Imperial forces, the Seigun (forces in the west) and the Sat-Cho forces on the new government's side, and the Togun (forces in the east) on the former Shogunate's side, but, in this section, they are conveniently referred as to the new government's forces and the former Shogunate forces. The Reppan allied forces in the Tohoku war are described as the allied forces.
Amid political turmoil, at the end of the Edo period, the 15th Shogun, Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA returned political power to the Imperial Court (Taisei Hokan), and diminished the legitimate reason for the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate. The former Shogunate was to continue to take hold of the government even under the new government, for the Imperial Court did not have any administrative functions. In response, the anti-Shogunate group (the Satsuma and Choshu Domains, and some of the court nobles such as Tomomi IWAKURA) plotted a coup to overcome the political weakness. After the removal of Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA and the pro-Tokugawa court nobles, the restoration of the Japanese monarchy was proclaimed. This was the core of the new regime based on the Sat-Cho group, but exclusive of the former Shogunate and upper-class court nobles. Moreover, at an assembly, it was decided to make the demand (jikan-nochi) that Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA resign from the position of inner minister (naidaijin)and return a part of his domain. Furthermore, the former Shogunate forces advanced to pacify Kyoto under the banner of 'the statement to the Emperor on avenging Satsuma' (to-satsu-hyo) because the Satsuma Domain had ordered its retainers to cause a disturbance in Edo.
The battle between the former Shogunate and the new government's forces marked the beginning of the Boshin War.
See also; "End of the Edo Period" regarding the political process.
The new government's forces consistently dominated the battles until the end of the war. It is wrong to say that the former Shogunate forces lost to the new government because they could not match the latter's modernized forces; in fact, they had westernized their forces from early on, and thus did not lag behind the new government's forces. The Navy, in particular, was a strong military force that only the former Shogunate forces possessed. At the beginning of the war, the former Shogunate forces were far superior in military strength and logistics, but later were severely defeated by the new government's forces accustomed to battle with rifles. The former Shogunate forces, while they had far superior military strength and had westernized troops, were demoralized and disintegrated because Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA fled, leaving his officers and soldiers behind. Afterwards, since Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA lived in surrender and obedience, the former Shogunate forces, which had still continued to rebel, lost the core of the movement and were unable to unite their forces. In the Tohoku War, many domains of the Ou alliance lagged behind in armaments due to financial difficulties and delay in political reform, and differed greatly in military strength compared with the new government's forces. Even the elite units of the former Shogunate forces which had joined the alliance were forced to use old rifles when they ran short of ammunition.
Not only the regular soldiers consisting of retainers but also mixed forces consisting of townspeople, peasants, outlaws, and retainers from other domains played an active part in their military forces. Shinsaku TAKASUGI who organized the Choshu militia (Choshu Kiheitai) is said to have thought that his soldiers were superior to the samurai who had been corrupted in time of peace.
The act of setting fire, requisition of goods on site, the use of lynch law against prisoners of war, and the punishment meted out against fellow soldiers were prevalent. Moreover, there were many recorded incidents of war crimes such as pillage, violent assaults, arson, rapes and massacres. There were even records of these acts, not only by mixed forces comprising a large number of so-called outlaws, but also by regular soldiers within their own and allied domains. Additionally, Aizu and Satsuma warriors were said to have eaten the liver of the enemy. The records of these acts were found from the Tohoku War in particular. However, notions of these acts and pillage, at the time, differed from modern ethics.
The new government's forces received military training and weapons mainly from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland while the former Shogunate forces from the French Second Empire. Military intervention and interference in domestic affairs by powerful western nations were, however, avoided since both sides did not request them to deploy troops.
Battle of Toba and Fushimi
The decision of the jikan-nochi against Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA by the new government, after restoring the monarchy, increased opposition to the Satsuma Domain among those on the former Shogunate side.
Moreover, the Satsuma Domain had allowed Takamori SAIGO order his retainers to cause a disturbance in Edo by committing robbery and violence in order to cause chaos in the former Shogunate and start a war.
The Shonai Domain, given the task of guarding Edo City, along with the Kaminoyama Domain burned down the Satsuma residence where the retainers of the Satsuma Domain were based.
This incident gathered momentum among the former Shogunate to fight against the Satsuma Domain; with the statement to the Emperor declaring that they would avenge Satsuma's wrongs (to-satsu-hyo), the Shogunate infantry of the former Shogunate and warriors of the Aizu and Kuwana Domains advanced from Osaka to pacify Kyoto and they clashed with the forces of the Satsuma and Choshu Domains in Toba and Fushimi on the outskirts of southern Kyoto on January 27, 1868.
As described above, the former Shogunate forces were superior in military strength at the beginning of the war, and in fact, the new government's forces had reportedly reviewed the option of withdrawing from Kyoto with the Emperor. The former lost the will to fight because during the battle the latter raised the Imperial standard as proof of their being the Imperial forces. The new government's forces won decisively since the former Shogunate did not use their westernized troops nor did they command their forces well.
At this stage, the former Shogunate forces were still far superior in military strength in total and were supposedly going to take the offensive in no time; Yoshinobu, however, escaped from Osaka Castle on January 30 and fled to Edo by sea, abandoning his army. Yoshinobu accompanied Katamori MATSUDAIRA (the lord of the Aizu Domain), his brother Sadaki MATSUDAIRA (the lord of the Kuwana Domain) and his favorite concubine. Because Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, who was the Commander in Chief and the core of the conflict, deserted the army in the face of the enemy, the former Shogunate forces disintegrated and stopped fighting; each of the domains brought their troops home. Additionally, part of the forces withdrew towards the Edo area.
Battle of Koshu-Katsunuma and Yashu-Yanada
After arriving in Edo, Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA confined himself to the Ueno Kanei-ji Temple and tried to show that he had no intention of revolting against the Emperor. The new government appointed Imperial Prince Arisugawanomiya Taruhito as the supreme commander and organized the expeditionary forces to the east; the forces were then divided into the Tokaido-gun army, the Tosando-gun army, and the Hokurikudo-gun army, and they all advanced to Edo.
The former Shogunate forces organized the Koyo-Chinbutai infantry led by the commanders such as Isami KONDO, and planned to seize Koshu Castle. Advancing along the Tosando to Shinshu, the Tosando-gun army led by Taisuke ITAGAKI (a retainer of the Tosa Domain) and Masaharu IJICHI (a retainer of the Satsuma Domain) sent a detachment led by Taisuke ITAGAKI to Koshu to contain the movement of the former Shogunate forces; the detachment arrived earlier than the Koyo-Chinbutai infantry and seized Koshu Castle. The Koyo-Chinbutai infantry advanced to the Kofu basin, but was defeated by the new government's forces on March 29, 1868.
The main forces of the Tosando-gun army advancing along the Tosando arrived at Yanada-juku (currently Ashikaga City) on March 31, and made a surprise attack on a unit (the shohotai) consisting of deserters from the former Shogunate Infantry, and defeated it on April 1.
Surrender of Edo Castle
The Tosando-gun army of the new government, which had advanced to Sumpu, decided at a council of war on March 29 to launch a full-scale attack on Edo Castle on April 7 and began preparing for it. With the full authority of the former Shogunate as a member of the kyojun-ha (pro-surrender group), Kaishu KATSU (commander in chief of the Shogunate army) sent a retainer of the Shogunate, Tesshu YAMAOKA as an emissary to Takamori SAIGO, the staff of the tosei supreme commander's office, for negotiation; Katsu relayed the terms of surrender: Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA's confinement to Bizen (Bizen-azuke) and the surrender of weapons and warships.
Saigo visited the residence owned by the Satsuma Domain in Takanawa on April 5 and afterwards, negotiated the surrender of Edo Castle with Katsu. The following day, Katsu delivered the former Shogunate's demands that Yoshinobu retire and be confined to Mito, and that Edo Castle be entrusted to the Tayasu-Tokugawa family after the surrender; Saigi promised to review them in the commander's office and the plan for the full-scale attack on April 7 was halted. As a result, on April 26, the Imperial envoy (the spearhead commander, Saneyana HASHIMOTO and the deputy spearhead commander, Sakimitsu YANAGIWARA) entered Edo Castle, and delivered the Imperial order that Yoshinobu be confined to Mito, and that Edo Castle be entrusted to the Owari-Tokugawa family; on May 3, the bloodless surrender was accepted, and the weapons and Edo Castle were each placed under the supervision of the Owari and Higo Domains. On the same day, Yoshinobu left for Mito. On May 13, the tosei supreme commander, the Imperial Prince Arisugawanomiya Taruhito entered Edo Castle, and the castle was placed under the control of the new government.
This virtually marked the end of the Edo Shogunate which lasted for over 260 years.
Battle of Funabashi
Some retainers of the former Shogunate, who were opposed to the bloodless surrender of Edo Castle on May 3, 1868, fled towards Chiba Prefecture and set up a camp in Funabashi Daijingu, and on May 24, they clashed with the new government's forces around the area of Ichikawa City, Kamagaya City, and Funabashi City. At the beginning of the battle, the former Shogunate forces, which outnumbered the new government's forces, were superior, but the military situation shifted in favor of the new government's forces with their modern military equipment, and the war ended in a victory for them. After the battle, no mass revolt against the new government took place in the area to the east of Edo.
Battle of Utsunomiya Castle
Even though Edo Castle surrendered, many hard-core Shogunate retainers who continued to resist escaped from Edo, and moved from place to place in northern Kanto to fight. Along the way, former Shogunate forces such as the Denshu-tai (French-trained special unit) fought against the new government's forces around Oyama Castle in Shimotsuke Province and at Utsunomiya Castle. The former Shogunate forces captured Utsunomiya Castle on May 11, but withdrew towards Imaichi City and Nikko City after the castle was recaptured by the new government's forces.
The Ueno War
The hard-core resistant Shogi-tai from the former Shogunate forces gathered at the Ueno Kanei-ji Temple where Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA had confined himself, and, from their base at the temple, they often clashed with soldiers of the new government's forces.
Takamori SAIGO, the commander of the Tosando-gun army of the new government which successfully brought about the bloodless surrender and virtually abolished the Shogunate, was criticized for his leniency toward the Shogi-tai because of his relationship with Kaishu KATSU, a soft-liner from the former Shogunate. The supreme commander's office appointed Masujiro OMURA, a retainer of the Choshu Domain, as the Hanji (top job) of the Defense Secretariat (軍防事務局判事).
On June 20, OMURA dismissed the former Shogunate from the task of patrolling the Edo-futyu, and attacked the Shogitai on July 4 right after the Sendai Domain-led Northern government (Ouetsu-reppan alliance) was established in the Tohoku Region and Echigo. The Tosando-gun army of the new government's forces crushed the Shogitai in a matter of just one day.
As a result, the new government gained control of the region to the east of Edo, and Edo was renamed as Tokyo in September.
Tohoku War (the battle of Niigata and the Tohoku region)
The purpose of the Ouetsu-reppan alliance at the time of the Shiraishi pact was to petition for the pardon of the Aizu and Shonai Domains. After the alliance killed Shuzo SERA, the chinbushi (temporary provincial superintendent), and began to engage in full-scale battles in Shiraishi-guchi, the nature of the alliance was changed to a military one. Because some domains joined the alliance out of sympathy or for opportunity, and others joined it because of pressure from large domains or from coercion by the former Shogunate forces, they were not closely united; accordingly, one domain after another defected from the alliance as the situation worsened.
In 1868, the new government rejected the Yonezawa domain's surrender with arms, and ordered the powerful domains in Tohoku such as; the Sendai and Yonezawa Domains, to deploy their forces to crush the Aizu Domain.
Fourteen domains in Ou held a conference and submitted a petition for the pardon of the Aizu and Shonai Domains to Commander KUJO, but KUJO rejected it; as a result, they modified the plan to petition directly to the Imperial Court and added eleven more domains to sign the Shiraishi pact on May 15. Later, twenty-five of the domains signed the Ou-reppan pact. They also prepared a petition for lenient treatment of the Aizu and Shonai Domains to the Grand Council of State (dajokan). Joined by the five domains in Echigo such as the Shibata Domain and the Echigo-Nagaoka Domain when negotiations with the new government's forces collapsed because armed neutrality was rejected, an alliance was established by a total of thirty-one domains. In August the alliance installed to its head Cloistered Imperial Prince Rinojinomiya Kogen, (later Imperial Prince Kitashirakawanomiya Yoshihisa) who had escaped from the Ueno War. Accordingly, some believe that the alliance would have conceived the idea of inaugurating Rinojinomiya as the Emperor Tobu and setting up the Tohoku government.
The Ouetsu-reppan alliance's government requested Takeaki ENOMOTO, who led the former Shogunate warships and fled, to send reinforcements, but Enomoto did not agree to the request; later, he only accommodated defeated soldiers.
The Hokuetsu War
In the Hokuetsu War, Nagaoka Castle and Niigata Port, used as a supply base for weapons by the alliance, became the main battlefield.
In a conference on June 21, the Nagaoka domain petitioned for a stance of armed neutrality and an extension of time to persuade the Aizu Domain, and yet the new government rejected them. Consequently, domains in Hokuetsu together with the Nagaoka Domain joined the alliance, setting off a battle between the new government's forces and the allied forces. The center of the alliance, in particular the Nagaoka Domain, allowed the county magistrate, Tsugunosuke KAWAI, to carry out army reform and to upgrade military equipment, and even possess Gatling guns. Under the command of Tsugunosuke KAWAI, its forces put up a great fight, but Nagaoka Castle surrendered in early September. Although the allied forces recaptured Nagaoka Castle, commander Tsugunosuke KAWAI was wounded in the battle. The new government's forces recaptured Nagaoka Castle again, and with the fall of Niigata which had protected the Yonezawa and Aizu Domains, they placed the entire area of Echigo under control. In effect, the domains of the Ouetsu-reppan, depending on Niigata City Port for arms supplies, faced a serious situation. Most of the remaining troops in the allied forces fled to Aizu.
The Tohoku War
The Shonai and Akita regions were the main battle fields in the Tohoku War.
Emissaries from both the allied forces and the governor general of the chinbushi in the new government were sent to the Kubota Domain (also called Akita Domain) because opinions within the domain were not monolithic even though it had joined the alliance. On August 21, a retainer of the Kubota Domain supporting the new government murdered an emissary from the alliance's Sendai Domain and managed to control the opinions of people within the Kubota Domain, and the Kubota Domain defected from the alliance to the new government. Although it became the base for the new government's forces, the Akita Domain was isolated and attacked from the south by the Shonai Domain, from the southeast by the Sendai Domain, and from the northeast by the Nanbu Domain. The Akita Domain, together with the samurai warriors of the Saga Domain deployed as reinforcements, fought a defensive war, but fell behind; the Shonai Domain in particular advanced deep into the Akita Domain and even captured subsidiary castles of Kubota Castle; the Akita Domain, however, prevailed due to the arrival of reinforcements from the new government's forces, and launched a counterattack.
The Shonai Domain had been engaged in a battle since May 16 with the new government's forces advancing from Kiyokawaguchi.
The Shonai Domain triumphed over the new government's forces, because, having expected an attack from them, Shonai had westernized their arms by purchasing the latest rifles with donations from wealthy merchants, and also it was superior in tactical command. The Shonai Domain sent reinforcements to the allied forces in an uphill battle at Shirakawaguchi, but made the troops retreat from there since the Kubota Domain in Akita as well as the smaller domains near-by defected to the new government's side; at the same time, it launched an attack on these defecting domains. The Shonai Domain occupied the Shinjo Domain and advanced to Kubota Castle, but retreated back into its own territory because the new government's forces became dominate from the surrender of some of Shonai's allied domains. The Shonai Domain fought a defensive war afterwards and protected most of its own territory, but on November 8, partly due to the defection of allied domains from the alliance, the domain surrendered its castle.
The Aizu War
The allied forces had earlier occupied a strategic point at Shirakawa-Komine Castle where the lord had been absent. The battle over Shirakawa-Komine Castle (the Battle of Shirakawaguchi) lasted approximately three months, and in the end, the new government's forces captured the castle. The allied forces attempted to recapture the castle, but in vain; on the other hand, the new government's forces seized Nihonmatsu Castle while the allied forces deployed their troops heavily concentrated their troops at Shirakawaguchi, gaining access to Aizu. The new government's forces advanced by way of the Bonari-toge from out of several highways to circumvent the allied forces, and a fierce battle (the Battle of Bonari-toge) was waged. The new government's forces broke through the defense line of the allied forces, and the samurai warriors of the Aizu Domain and the former Shogunate forces were besieged at Wakamatsu Castle. It was apparent that the Aizu Domain would lose, and so the overall outcome of the Tohoku War was decided.
In October, the Yonezawa Domain surrendered. In October, defeated at the Battle of Hatamaki-toge, the Sendai Domain surrendered. The Aizu Domain, which had been resisting all along, finally surrendered to the new government.
On November 8, the Shonai Domain surrendered, and this marked the end of the Tohoku War.
The Hakodate War
A part of the former Shogunate forces, including Takeaki ENOMOTO, led the fomer Shogunate warships and fled from Edo in October. They called at Sendai Port to pick up the remaining powers of the Ouetsu-reppan alliance and the samurai of the former Shogunate forces such as; Keisuke OTORI and Toshizo HIJIKATA, and then left for Ezochi (Hokkaido).
Enomoto occupied bases such as; Goryokaku in Hakodate and established a regional government (the Enomoto Government, or commonly known as the Ezo republic). Enomoto and some others submitted a petition for granting the control of Ezochi to the retainers of the former Shogunate in the name of development and protection of the north, but the new government rejected it and deployed troops.
Even though the former Shogunate forces occupied Matsumae and Esashi, they wrecked the Kayo Maru Warship, the core of their forces, and in effect the navy deteriorated; they fought against the new government's forces at the Battle of Miyakowan Bay, but lost, allowing the government's forces to land at Ezochi. On June 27, Toshizo HIJIKATA died in battle. Takeaki ENOMOTO as well as others surrendered to the new government's forces, and the Boshin War ended.
Aftermath of the war
On July 13, 1968, the new government reduced the sentence of Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA by one level from the death penalty, allowed Iesato TOKUGAWA to inherit the Tokugawa Shogunate family, and granted Sumpu with seventy million goku.
On December 7 in the same year, punishment for the domains in the Tohoku Region and Echigo was announced. The sentences for the lords of these domains were all reduced by one level from the death penalty; in addition, after the confiscation of all their territories, they were granted either a reduced territory or a different territory. Those domains whose territories were greatly reduced as a result of the punishment went bankrupt, causing some of their impoverished retainers to move to Hokkaido only to engage in development.
The punishment for the major domains were as follows (the number in the brackets indicates the former territory's amount in goku):
Domains that received punishment
Sendai Domain: the territory was reduced to 280 thousand goku (620 thousand goku). Out of six chief retainers, two were executed and two were forced to commit seppuku (hara-kiri).
Aizu Domain: the territory was changed to Mutsu-Tonami Domain with 30 thousand goku (230 thousand goku). His father and son were sentenced to life imprisonment in Edo (later pardoned). One chief retainer was executed.
Morioka Domain: the territory was changed to Shiraishi in the old Sendai territory with 130 thousand goku (200 thousand goku). One chief retainer was executed.
Yonezawa Domain: the territory was reduced to 140 thousand goku (180 thousand goku).
Shonai Domain: the territory was reduced to 120 thousand goku (170 thousand goku). Lenient treatment was given by Takamori SAIGO, an important figure in the new government.
Yamagata Domain: the territory was changed to Asahiyama in Omi Province to establish the Asahiyama Domain. The territory's amount in goku did not change with 50 thousand goku. One chief retainer was executed.
Nihonmatsu Domain: the territory was reduced to 50 thousand goku (100 thousand goku).
Tanagura Domain: the territory was reduced to 60 thousand goku (100 thousand goku).
Echigo-Nagaoka Domain: the territory was reduced to 28 thousand goku (74 thousand goku).
Jozai Domain: kaieki (forfeit of properties and the warrior class), (10 thousand goku); the high-ranking retainers were sentenced to death. The lord Tadataka HAYASHI was imprisoned. He was pardoned, but was treated as a member of the samurai warrior class. Later, he was given the title of Baron, lower by one rank from the lord of the domain, thanks to voluntary actions by former retainers of the domain to confer upon him an order. The punishment of jofu (kaieki) was given only to this family.
Ichinoseki Domain: the territory was reduced to 27 thousand goku (30 thousand goku).
Kaminoyama Domain: the territory was reduced to 27 thousand goku (30 thousand goku).
Fukushima Domain: the territory was changed to the Shigehara Domain in Mikawa Province with 28 thousand goku (30 thousand goku).
Kameda Domain: the territory was reduced to 18 thousand goku (20 thousand goku).
Tendo Domain: the territory was reduced to 18 thousand goku (20 thousand goku).
Izumi Domain: the territory was reduced to 18 thousand goku (20 thousand goku).
Yunagaya Domain: the territory was reduced to 14 thousand goku (15 thousand goku).
Shimotedo Domain: the territory was changed back to the former territory of Mike, Chikugo Province to establish the Mike Domain. The territory's amount in goku did not change with 10 thousand goku.
Domains that increased territories
Shinjo Domain: the territory was increased to 83.2 thousand goku (68.2 thousand goku).
Honjo Domain: the territory was increased to 30 thousand goku (20 thousand goku).
Matsumae Domain: the territory was increased to 30 thousand goku (10 thousand goku).
Yashima Domain: the territory was increased to 15.2 thousand goku (8 thousand goku).
Kubota Domain: 20 thousand goku of the shotenroku (premium) was provided (200 thousand goku).
Hirosaki Domain: 10 thousand goku of the shotenroku was provided (100 thousand goku).
Moriyama Domain: one thousand ryo (gold currency) of the shotenroku was provided.
Domains that became an authorized territory
Hachinohe Domain: no punishment is said to have been given since Nobuyuki NANBU, the lord of the domain, was kin of the Shimazu clan.
Muramatsu domain: one chief retainer was executed.
Murakam Domain: one chief retainer was executed.
Iwakitaira Domain: 70 thousand ryo was proffered to the new government, and the territory became an authorized one.
Soma-Nakamura Domain: 10 thousand ryo was proffered to the new government, and the territory became an authorized one.
In May, 1869, in Tokyo, a principal chief retainer of the Sendai Domain, Nariyuki TADAKI, a chief retainer of the Sendai Domain working in Edo, Eiriki SAKA, a chief retainer of the Aizu Domain, Gombei KAYANO, and a chief retainer of the Morioka Domain were sentenced to the ultimate penalty of the funshu-kei (beheading and displaying of the severed head in public) as a symbol of 'a mastermind of the rebellion' in place of each lord of the domain. Afterwards, chief retainers of the Sendai Domain, Sadayu TAMAMUSHI and Bunjuro WAKO were forced to commit seppuku.
Punishment of the Aizu Domain was contrasted with that of the Shonai Domain, dividing the new government into two opinions of 'severe punishment' and 'lenient punishment'
So severe was the punishment of the Aizu that the Aizu Domain must move to either the former territory of Inawashiro or the new land of Tonami with 30 thousand goku; after discussion, it decided to be Tonami. With strong wind and snow, Tonami practically had only 8 thousand goku of territory; many retainers of the former Shogunate and their family who moved there became ill and died from hunger and cold weather, and some of them moved to a new place in Japan or overseas.
Punishment of the Shonai Domain was carried out leniently by Takamori SAIGO and some other people. His handling of the Shonai Domain was elaborate; moved by this, people in the domain deeply respected him. The former lord of the Shonai Domain, Tadazumi SAKAI, together with other people, compiled SAIGO's teachings of the deceased, 'teachings of the deceased by an old man in Nanshu,' and later, some of the former retainers of the Shonai Domain joined the SAIGO's army in the Seinan War.
The Kubota Domain, the Tsugaru Domain, and the Miharu Domain which defected from the Ouetsu-reppan alliance to the new government were commended for their deeds, and were given provisional shotenroku in 1869. However, they were not equally treated as some other domains, and did not receive any privilege. There were many people discontented with such treatment, and an anti-government movement in the former Akita Domain and a Movement for Freedom and People's Rights (jiyu-minken-undo) in the former Miharu Domain were gaining ground.
When the Hakodate War was over, the mastermind of the war, Takeaki ENOMOTO, Keisuke OTORI, and Taro MATSUDAIRA were imprisoned in Tatsunokuchi, Tokyo, but they were pardoned in January, 1872, because of a movement to save their lives led by Kiyotaka KURODA. After that, they were asked to work for the new government, and were appointed to high-ranking positions.
On September 8, 1917, the 50th Ceremony for Boshin War martyrs was held in Morioka. The president of the (Rikken) Seiyu party, Takashi HARA, who was born to the chief retainer of the Morioka Domain, attended the ceremony, and virtually as a chief mourner, delivered the Shinto prayers during the festival, 'the only casus belli of the Boshin War was the difference in political opinions,' clearing the name of 'rebel army' and the 'choteki' (enemy of the Imperial Court).
There is a theory called 'Sendai capital theory' that Sendai would be the capital of Japan now if only the Ouetsu-reppan alliance had won a battle against the new government.
Irrelevant of this directly, Sendai City was named as one of the candidates for the capital when the draft "law of decentralization of authority" was deliberated and the transfer of the capital in Japan was examined in the early 1990's.
In the Boshin War, the causes of various incidents and reasons are often explained by relating them to revenge.
The catching and killing of loyal and leaderless warriors by the Aizu Domain in charge of the Kyoto Shugoshoku; burning down of the Satsuma Domain residence in Edo. The designation of the Choshu as the enemy of the Imperial Court in Kimmon no Hen (Conspiracy of Kimmon) and punitive expedition to Choshu. Violent assaults and pillage by the new government's forces in Aizu War are the reason for revenge of each domain.
Additionally, Aritomo YAMAGATA and Shuzo SERA called members of the former Shogunate 'choteki' with respect, when their domain switched to the Imperial forces; in the Seinan War in Kagoshima the batto-tai of the former Shogunate forces cut in with a sword, shouting 'Avenge for Boshin, avenge for Boshin.'
There is a rumor even now that people in Fukui Prefecture where the Aizu Domain used to exist, especially around Aizu-wakamatsu still hold a grudge against people in Yamaguchi Prefecture (Choshu Domain) and Kagoshima Prefecture (Satsuma Domain).
It is true that the Boshin War was intertwined with various types of revenge, but there were some claims that connected unsubstantiated incidents with revenge, and there were even facts that were fabricated.