What will you do when your traditional way of life is threatened by a powerful force in your native lands? The samurai didn’t hesitate to answer this question with: our swords. During the Satsuma Rebellion, the samurai and its leader Saigō Takamori fought the Japanese Imperial Government. Their rebellion ended with the Battle of Shiroyama, where in 1877 the samurai prepared for a last stand.
The letter demanding Saigo’s surrender: As the leader of young vigorous men of the nation and resisting a great and famous army through many fierce battles, your fame is already well enough know to the world. But now most of your brave generals are dead or injured, and your military power is daily growing weaker. It is already clear that as last your Satsuma army is unable to keep its spirit. I don’t know what further things you can hope to achieve, except a hopeless defensive battle. If you, Saigõ, rather than lengthening the rest of your days a little, prefer to cause hundreds and thousands of dead and wounded from both armies, there is nothing that I, Aritomo, can say to you. I beg you to judge for yourself as you hold matters in the palm of your hand, and that you will save both armies from death and injury. Ah, you are a man famous and known in the world. About our national constitution naturally it is not only Aritomo who knows what you really think. But the matter has been settled over many years of public debate. I, Aritomo, earnestly beg you as your old friend. Writing this my tears fall like rain, and I cannot express myself at all. Please sympathise with the sincerity of my pain.
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