Japan History: Takeda Shingen

Takeda Shingen (Takeda Harunobu December 1, 1521 - May 13, 1573), firstborn of warlord Takeda Nobutora, was born in the powerful Takeda clan. He was Shugo Daimyo (military governors) of the then province of Kai, present-day Yamanashi prefecture.

Takeda Shingen played a very important role in the battle of Un no Kuchi in 1536, he was only 15 years old. When his father designated his second son as heir, Shingen conducted a coup without bloodshed. This forced his father to retire as head of the clan. Later, Shingen began to expand his family's domains northward into the province of Shinano (present-day Nagano prefecture) and into lands adjacent to Kai.

As the undisputed leader of the Takeda clan, he began his expansionist policy starting with the Battle of Sezawa. He then continued with the sieges of Uehara, Kuwabara and Fukuyo, the battles of Ankokuji, Odaihara, Shiojiritoge, and the Kawanakajima battles series against Uesugi Kenshin.
Shingen decided to have all the warriors in the first lines of his armies wear red lacquered armor to intimidate the enemy psychologically. This idea was also later copied by the Tokugawa army clan.


photo credits: japantimes.co.jp

The life of Takeda Shingen

In 1548 Takeda Shingen defeated Ogasawara Nagatoki in the battle of Shiojiritōge and took Fukashi in 1550. Uesugi Kenshin took the field at that time because the Takeda had now reached the borders of his province.
What began was a rivalry that became legendary and that led them to clash in the battles of Kawanakajima. These battles were generally skirmishes, in fact, none of the two daimyō wanted to discover themselves in an all-out battle.

The fiercest battle between the two was the fourth one, during which, according to legend, Uesugi Kenshin managed to break through the Takeda lines and faced Shingen. It is said that Kenshin attacked Shingen with his sword defending himself with his fan (or tessen). Both lost numerous men during the battle. In particular, Shingen lost two important generals, Yamamoto Kansuke and his younger brother Takeda Nobushige.

Takeda Shingen entered the priesthood in 1551, at which time he assumed the Buddhist name Shingen. However, taking religious vows in no way prevented his participation in worldly affairs.

After the fourth battle, Shingen discovered two plots against his life. The first by his cousin Suwa Shigemasa, who was ordered to commit seppuku. While the second, a few years later by his son Takeda Yoshinobu. The latter was exiled to the Toko temple, where he died two years later perhaps by order of his father. After this incident, Shingen appointed his fourth child, Katsuyori as successor to the leadership of the clan.

After conquering Katsurao, Wada, Takashima and Fukuda, in 1554 he returned as many victories in the sieges of Fukushima, Kannomine, Matsuo and Yoshioka.

In 1563, together with Hōjō Ujiyasu, Takeda Shingen conquered Matsuyama Castle in the province of Musashi. Subsequently it obtained the possession of Kuragano in 1565 and of the castle of Minowa. Then he moved against the Hōjō attacking Hachigata castle.
He retired successfully after Hōjō Ujiteru and Hōjō Ujikuni failed to stop him in the battle of Mimasetōge.

Takeda Shingen

photo credits: pinimg.com

Harunobu's main ambition was the submission of Shinano. However, the resistance in that neighborhood was fierce. A number of Shinano warlords, including Murakami Yoshikiyo, Ogasawara Nagatoki, Suwa Yorishige and Kiso Yoshiyasu, made a move designed with the hope to cut off further Takeda aggressions.

The march towards the Kai borders

In April 1542 the four daimyo combined forces and marched towards the Kai border, encouraged by the news that Harunobu was strengthening his defenses and was preparing to take a stand in Fuchu. In fact, Harunobu's activities were a ploy. Far from passively waiting in Kai, Harunobu led his men and took the Shinano warriors by surprise, defeating them at Sezawa.

Encouraged by Sezawa's findings, Harunobu made a trip to Shinano focusing on the territory of the Suwa clan. He first took Uehara in a surprise attack and then moved to Suwa headquarters in Kuwahara, located 2 kilometers to the east. Suwa Yorishige had no choice but to surrender following Harunobu's promise of safe conduct. Yorishige and his brother were taken to Kai where General Takeda, Itagaki Nobutaka, organized their death. Both of them committed suicide.

Takeda Shingen

photo credits: pinterest.it

Harunobu, with the help of Yamamoto Kansuke's strategies, further expanded his territory through the defeat of Tozawa Yorichika and Takato Yoritsugu. The acquisition of the castle of Takato was of particular value. Indeed, it provided a safe stopping area in the south of Shinano, as well as a buffer against any southern aggression.

In 1544 the Takeda marched towards Suruga in support of Imagawa and confronted Hōjō Ujiyasu. No real conflict occurred following this confrontation. Harunobu was in fact forced to enter into a peace treaty between Hōjō and Imagawa.

Over the next decade, Harunobu continued to exert incessant pressure on the Shinano warlords. In 1548 Murakami Yoshikiyo, perhaps the most formidable Shinano enemy of Harunobu, moved to Ueda and defeated the Takeda clan in a bitter battle. Here a number of Chinese arquebuses were used, the first weapons of the genre ever deployed in a Japanese battle. While Uehara's defeat left two of his best generals dead, Harunobu quickly bounced back. In fact, in 1552 the Murakami and Ogasawara clans fled from Shinano to Echigo.

Takeda Shingen vs Uesugi Kenshin

In June and October 1553 the Takeda and Uesugi armies clashed near the Kawanakajima plain in northern Shinano. A clash lasted five times but only the fourth battle produced a wide-ranging race. Both sides suffered heavy losses that slowed both warlords for a few years. In particular, Shingen must have suffered from the loss of Nobushige and Yamamoto Kansuke, both of whom died in the battle.

In 1560 Shingen had discovered a plot against him led by his cousin Katanuma Nobumoto and in 1565 the one organized by his son Yoshinobu and Obu Toramasa. Two years later Yoshinbou died. Legend says that death is due either to illness or, as many believe, because Shingen had forced him to commit suicide. The event left Takeda's servants uneasy.

photo credits: wikipedia.org

In 1564, Shingen had subdued all of Shinano and turned his attention to Kōzuke, where he took a number of castles from the Uesugi clan. For the next five years, he limited himself to raids and local conquests, focusing on internal affairs.
In 1560, Shingen's greatest achievement was the Damji River Damming project. The benefit of the Fuji river project is considered one of the greatest national initiatives of the sixteenth century.

In 1568, Takeda's army was on the move again, this time south against Imagawa. The daimyo of that clan was Ujizane, the incompetent son of the late Imagawa Yoshimoto (killed in 1560 by Oda Nobunaga). Yoshinobu, son of Shingen, had married Ujizane's sister, but after her suicide in 1567, relations between the families had increased. It would appear that Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu had entered into an agreement under which the two would divide the remaining lands of Imagawa (Tōtōmi and Suruga). However, this agreement was never completed. Furthermore, Sagami's Hōjō did not see this shift in the balance of power. Because of this, he sent troops to challenge Shingen. In 1569 Shingen responded by invading Sagami and besieging Odawara (the capital of Hōjō). However, on the way back to Kai, the Takeda army managed to crush an attempted ambush by Mimasetoge of Hōjō.

Thus, in 1570, the lands of Takeda included Kai, Shinano, Suruga and pieces of Kozuke, Tōtōmi, and Hida. Shingen, at 49, was now more than a regional power. Takeda Shingen was in fact the most important warlord east of Mino. Moreover, he was the only one able to derail Oda Nobunaga's march to national hegemony. Only Shingen had the strategic position and the armed forces to stop it.

In 1570 the formidable Hōjō Ujiyasu died and his heir, Ujimasa, made peace with Shingen. This was an act that could have ensured Tokugawa Ieyasu final destruction. However, Shingen died in 1573 sending the plans into smoke.

The Takeda clan allies with the Oda clan

Meanwhile, the Takeda and Oda, aimed at controlling the Uesugi clan. After a failed diplomatic courtship, they started a war of words with the shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki.
Shingen intensified the pressure against Tokugawa and in 1572 launched an attack on Tōtōmi which led to the capture of Futamata. The following January, Shingen returned to the province and attracted Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Mikatagahara. Conducted on January 6 north of Hamamatsu, it ended with an almost complete defeat for Ieyasu.

Although they were often presented as initial moves in a march on Kyoto, Shingen's intentions were undoubtedly more conservative. Probably, Takeda Shingen aimed to test the answers of both Ieyasu and Nobunaga and, if possible, inflict a defeat on the two. In any case, within a few days of winning the battle, he received the news that Asakura Yoshikage had chosen not to oppose to Nobunaga. Shingen was sorry and could count on Yoshikage to maintain the tension on Nobunaga. This may have played a part in his decision to return to Kai, thus granting a truce to the bloody Tokugawa.

The figure of Takeda Shingen

Shingen was a complicated figure, sometimes absolutely cruel. At the beginning of his life, he had forced Suwa Yorishige to commit suicide (or murdered him) after the two warlords had signed a peace treaty. He then took Suwa's daughter as a lover, ignoring the fact that she was technically his own niece.

Apparently, Shingen created Shingen Tsuba, (sword guard) also known as Takeda Tsuba. The story goes that while waiting for a battle to begin, Shingen wrapped the brass wire around a large iron sukashi to keep himself focused and able to think until the battle began. Because of this, many of his vassals followed Shingen's leadership throughout the Edo period.

He is also credited with inventing the toilet drain, bathroom hygiene, apparently, was important to Shingen. He also built the vast dams known as Shingen Zutsumi along the Kamanashi segments of the Fuji river. These walls prevented flooding and were one of the largest and most ambitious national public works initiatives of the sixteenth century.

The well-considered laws of Shingen were not considered particularly severe. He suspended corporal punishment for most minor crimes. In fact, he adopted a system of financial fines, which earned him the respect and praise of the peasants and citizens of the province of Kai.
It is interesting to note that Shingen also had two large iron cauldrons in which to boil criminals still alive. Tokugawa Ieyasu, thinking that the punishment was excessively cruel, destroyed the cauldrons years later.

His economic reform was also innovative at the time. Indeed, Takeda Shingen taxed most of its subjects uniformly and allowed them the option of payments in gold or rice.

Takeda Shingen had planned on the districts of Mikawa and Owari (now both Aichi Prefecture). In 1571 he entered the territories of the Okudaira clan (later Tokugawa) and captured the castle of Noda.
In 1573, he invaded Mikawa and again attacked the castle of Noda. However, this time, the fortifications of the castle had been strengthened, allowing it to stand for several weeks.

photo credits: wikimedia.org

The death

On May 13, 1573, towards the end of the siege, just before the defenders of Noda Castle capitulated, Takeda Shingen was shot by a marksman. Shingen died during the escape.

The death of Takeda Shingen at the age of 49 remained a secret. The remains of the gun that was used to shoot Shingen are kept in the Shitagahara Museum in Nagashino, Aichi Prefecture. His son and successor, Takeda Katsuyori, was defeated by Oda and Tokugawa in the early 1580s, thus ending the power of the Takeda family.

Instead of a poem of death, he left the following words, borrowed from Zen literature: "It is largely left to its natural bodily perfection, and has no special need to resort to artificial coloring and powder to look beautiful. "

Discovering the wonders of Okinawa

The Okinawa Islands form the main group of the Japanese Ryūkyū archipelago. They include the homonymous island together with other minor ones and are part of the Okinawa prefecture whose capital is Naha.


photo credits: jw-webmagazine.com

The famous martial art of karate comes from Okinawa. This is an art created following the fusion of Chinese martial arts with the Okinawa-te (then subdivided into Naha-te, Shuri-te and Tomari-te).

Also, the island of Okinawa is the largest in the archipelago and is the 287th largest island in the world. The subtropical climate of these islands supports a dense rainforest, maintained by the monsoon season that occurs in late spring.

Okinawa has many landmarks, perhaps too many. It is a destination that cannot be missed in our Japanese travel itinerary. Here we wanted to collect what we think are the best locations to visit. However, our advice is to dedicate as much time as possible to this islands, also called Japanese Polynesia.

Shuri Castle

Shuri was the ancient capital of the Ryukyu kingdom and the castle was the administrative centre and residence of the royal family. Shuri Castle (Shuri-jo) is located on a small hill overlooking Naha. The original structure was destroyed during the Second World War and later rebuilt. The area was reopened to the public in 1992 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan by the USA.
Today the castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.


photo credits: wikipedia.org

Seminational park of Okinawa Senseki

This is the place where the famous battle of Okinawa took place during the Second World War, the park is dedicated to the approximately 200,000 victims of the conflicts. Of particular importance are the Memorial Museum of Peace with several pieces that refer to the war. We remember in fact the objects of the fallen, their photos during the war of Okinawa and the Cornerstone of Peace with all the names of the fallen. On June 23 in 1945 the Japanese army stopped resisting. This is the day on which the commemorative ceremony for the war dead is held every year.


photo credits: wikipedia.org

Sefa Utaki

Sefa Utaki is an important sacred place for Okinawan religion located on Kudaka Island. It is located on a hill with rock formations connected by pedestrian paths. The English translation of the word Sefa-utaki is "purified place of Utaki". This site is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage.


photo credits: japan-guide.com

Shikinaen Garden

The Shikinaen garden was built at the end of the 18th century and was the second residence of the kings of Ryukyu. Here you can find wooden buildings in Okinawan style, with red tiles and a central pond.

photo credits: giapponepertutti.it

Tamaudun Mausoleum

The Tamaudun mausoleum was built around the beginning of the 16th century for the royal family of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It was restored after suffering serious damage during the war and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

photo credits: sobre-japon.com

Ocean Expo Park

The Ocean Expo Park is a large park on the tip of the Motobu peninsula, in the north of Okinawa Honto. This attraction was built in 1976 to commemorate the Okinawa International Ocean Expo held the previous year. The main attraction of the park is the Churaumi Aquarium, called the most beautiful aquarium in Japan.


photo credits: worldsciencemuseums.altervista.org

Kokusai Dori

Kokusaidori (literally "International Road") is the main road that extends for about two kilometres through the centre of Naha. The street is named after the previous "Ernie Pyle International Theater", a cinema built along the road after the war.

photo credits: japan-guide.com

Hiji waterfall

The Hiji waterfall is located in Yambaru Honto, in the northern part of Okinawa. Here the population density is very low and most of the territory is covered by natural forests. The waterfall can be accessed via a hike along a path through the forest. However, the trail was damaged by a typhoon in 2012 but reopened in April 2013.

photo credits: ilgiappone.wordpress.com

Ruins of the Nakagusuku, Katsuren and Zakimi castles

Another very interesting destination is the ruins of the Castles of Nakagusuku, Katsuren and Zakimi of which these last two are UNESCO heritage.

The first stands 150 meters above sea level and was originally built by the Aji clan in the 14th century. Later, Gosamaru extended it in the 15th century before finally falling into the hands of Awamari-san. This castle today is part of the UMA.


photo credits: travel.sygic.com

Katsuren Castle, on the other hand, was owned by Awamari-san. In the fifteenth century, he put real power in serious difficulty because of his rebellious character and his military conquests.

photo credits: it.depositphotos.com

Zakimi Castle was built in the fifteenth century by the legendary warrior Gosamaru. Known for its military constructions, this castle is the first example of a stone portal existing on the island of Okinawa.

Mihama American Village

The Mihama American Village is a large entertainment complex located in the centre of Okinawa Honto. Many American military bases are in the area and the entertainment complex is a much sought after diversion for the locals. The Mihama American Village has many shops, restaurants, cafes and ample parking.

photo credits: en.japantravel.com

Okinawa World

Okinawa World is a park dedicated to Okinawan culture. The main attractions of the park are a large natural cave (Gyokusendo), a craft village and a snake museum.

photo credits: city-cost.com

Let's move on to nature because it is true that Okinawa is tradition and history, but it is also a natural paradise to live. There are many dream beaches where you can spend unforgettable moments, but for you, we have chosen the best ones. Tell us what you think of our selection!

The beaches of Okinawa: Manza Beach

The soft sand beach is part of the ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort, whose building overlooks the 300 meters of the beach.

photo credits: okinawatravelinfo.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Moon Beach

Moon Beach is a beach located within the grounds of Hotel Moon Beach. The beach stretches for 150 meters and is often very crowded. There is an area reserved for swimmers, umbrellas and volleyball nets.


photo credits: hotelmoonbeach.moonhotelsandresorts.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Sunset Beach

Do you want to enjoy sunsets? Then you can't miss Sunset Beach. It is located right next to the Mihama American Village. The beach is about 250 meters long and is located in a small artificial bay on the western shore.


photo credits: oki-islandguide.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Emerald Beach

Emerald Beach is located within the Ocean Expo Park on the Motobu peninsula. The beach is divided into three sectors and each of the three areas is about 150 meters long.

photo credits: okinawatravelinfo.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Okuma Beach

Okuma Beach is a beach located within the JAL Private Resort Okuma. It is located in the north of Okinawa Honto, the least densely populated area. The beach stretches over a kilometre along the coast.


photo credits: marshallsabroad.com

If you really can't leave yet, we want to recommend a movie to enjoy the beauties of Okinawa: Karanukan (カ ー ラ ヌ カ ン). Romantic but with the aim of showing the beauty of this country, the film tells the story of photographer Hikaru Ooyama (GACKT) who decides to visit Okinawa. There, he meets Mami Ishigaki (Suzuka Kimura) and is fascinated by it, so much so that he chooses her as a model. During a photoshoot in the Yaeyama Islands, Hikaru is hit by a beam of light that momentarily causes him to lose consciousness and trace his muse. His life, from that moment on, is dedicated to finding Mami among Okinawa's incredible dream places. If you want to anticipate these magnificent places, Karanukan is the right movie for you.


photo credits: gacktitalia.com

Usually, I only write articles of some interest to me, by now you know that I deal with Japanese history, Samurai and Japanese companies in Italy. I travel rarely, but this time passion has spoken for me.
As soon as you have the chance, leave for this wonderful island. You will discover that all the places you have always heard about, all the beaches, all the places you have always dreamed of, all come together here, in Okinawa.

ARTE SU MARTE Feat "Saskia Battistoni and Federica Menozzi" @ TENOHA

Not only TENOHA, but also TENOHA Ramen has special aperitifs that you can't miss! You already know that TENOHA & | RAMEN is the only place where you can find the real Japanese Ramen, right? Now there's more! Before dinner, here they are two new aperitifs waiting for you!


Gli aperitivi di TENOHA Ramen

10€ | From 7.00pm to 11.00pm

Gyoza or Karaage

20€ | From 7.00pm to 11.00pm

Gyoza or Karaage
Shoyu Ramen or Poké Don (½ portion)
Water + coffee


I would say that it is an excellent excuse to spend an evening not only in good company, not only with the best ramen ever but also with the best aperitif! We are waiting for women to whom the LADIES SET is dedicated, but also men, we are sure they will appreciate it very much!

Obviously, Japan Italy Bridge is always present, let's have an aperitif together!

ARTE SU MARTE Feat "Saskia Battistoni and Federica Menozzi" @ TENOHA

Here we are again with the Thursdays aperitivo at TENOHA! Are you ready for a new appointment with the “Martian artists”? Then don't miss the exclusive Nori Nori aperitif with the last Arte su Marte before the holidays!

As you know, ARTE SU MARTE is a cultural and artistic project that promotes emerging artists and combines art in all its forms, from painting, sculpture to photography and design.

And this time it's the turn of two artists who will really leave you speechless: Saskia Battistoni and Federica Menozzi!

Saskia is a visionary illustrator who tries to express her thoughts by experimenting every in every possible way. For her, illustrating something means to turn a thought into an image, identified with a stroke that a brush can take.

Federica is equally explosive and particular. She will drag you into her world with her unique creations. So let yourself be carried away because everything is a surprise ready for you to be discovered!

And as always we are looking for new artists! There will be white canvases ready to be painted by you!

The premises for a special evening are all there, so we are waiting for you on Thursday 11th July at 6pm for the special aperitivo ARTE SU MARTE! Obviously, everything will be accompanied by the now famous Nori・Nori aperitif that you can find only at TENOHA Milano! Japan Italy Bridge is waiting for you and you really can’t miss it. After this we can start thinking about the holidays.

Where and when

Where: TENOHA Milano, Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milan
When: Thursday, 11 July

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/466794160744387/

Saskia Battistoni Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sskbtt.jpg/
Federica Menozzi Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memaybenotme/
TENOHA website: https://www.tenoha.it/

Celebrating Tanabata @ TENOHA

Tanabata or The Festival of the Stars, a special celebration that you can find only in Japan. But pay attention! TENOHA once again makes you a great gift: to experience Japan without taking the plane, so get ready!

tanabata TENOHA MIlano

Tanabata: let your wish come true

This is the Festival of the Stars, this is the Tanabata (七夕 "seventh night"). You can write your wish on a TANZAKU 短 冊 and hang it on the bamboo tree. The Tanzaku is a vertical sheet of colored paper that will be delivered to each customer. After writing your wish, it must be hung on the bamboo tree.

If there is someone who doesn’t know yet about the Festival of the Stars in Love, read carefully. The Tanabata celebrates the reunification of two gods Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair. According to legend, the two lovers were separated from the Milky Way, being able to meet only on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Isn't it wonderful?

If you want to find out more about the Tanabata legend, stay tuned because in the next few days we will tell you everything in detail!

However, If you want to celebrate with us, TENOHA really makes you live the most romantic celebration in Japan. Join us in Via Vigevano 18 and let your wish come true! Furthermore, you can enjoy the now famous Nori Nori aperitif with other specialties that are characteristic of the celebration!


Cost: € 12 Aperitif (1 drink + Tanabata buffet + nori maki)
Food and beverage:
• Nori maki live cooking
• Special Tanabata buffet with typical delicacies enjoyed during the holiday (Ex. Soumen, chirashi)
• Mini slush (Kakigori)
Sponsor: Ashai superdry

When and where

Where: TENOHA MILANO - Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
When: Weekend fom July 5th to July 7th | from 18.00 to 20.30 (aperitif)

You can't miss it! Japan Italy Bridge already know what to write on the Tanzaku ...

ARTE SU MARTE Feat “Live painting by Sebastian Notre” @ TENOHA

Another special ARTE SU MARTE x TENOHA Milano event that will tell us the essence of contemporary Japan through a new episode of LIVE ART PERFORMANCE.


Sebastien Notre is the young artist who will perform during the event. Student of the St Martin's School of London in the fashion address, he abandoned his studies to devote himself to the development of his own expression of art.
Sculpture and painting become the arts to talk about himself and the elements of his real life become an integral part of his expression.
To discover its paradise and its personal space, don't miss the new ARTE SU MARTE appointment only at TENOHA!

We remind you that ARTE SU MARTE is a cultural and artistic project that promotes emerging artists and combines art in all its forms, from painting, sculpture to photography and design.

As always, during the event, you can unleash your imagination and paint the white canvases that will be placed at TENOHA. You'll be able to show your art and what you want to tell. We are curious to know you more. Everything will be accompanied by the special and exclusive Nori Nori aperitif that you can find only here, at TENOHA. We are waiting for you on this special evening!!

Where and when

Where: TENOHA, Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milan
When: Thursday, June 27th

RSVP: https://www.tenoha.it/events/sebastien

The artist and the project

IG: @sebastiennotre
IG: @artesumarte_


Are you ready for a day dedicated to yoga, fitness and healthy food? Don't miss the new appointment of TENOHA &|YOGA


Sunday, June 30th our yoga influencers Martina Rando and Martina Sergi will carefully explain what Mens Sana in Corpore Sano means. Valeria Airoldi, Claudia Casanova and Silvia Fascians, other big names in the field of Healthy food, Yoga and Fitness, will illustrate how to connect body, mind, and spirit in the Yoga technique. All of them created the B.E.A.T. mission.

What's B.E.A.T. ?


B.E.A.T. is the acronym of Breathe Eat Act Together and it’s a format that has 3 important focuses:
Fitness, Yoga, and Food. Motivation, inspiration, experiences, sharing and above all aggregation. People together decide to share experiences with yoga and then recharge with healthy food. The focus is on having fun doing something important for your body and mind. Every event has a cause and the partial or complete profits of the ticket sales will be donated to the ONLUS, the event's partner organization.

Where and when

Where: TENOHA, Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milan Event space & | DISCOVER
When: Sunday, June 30th
Workout + Yoga practice + Food healthy + Q&A


09.00 - 09.30 Registration
09.45 - 10.00 Initial greetings / short intro / project Onlus
10.00 - 11.00 Workout
11.00 - 11.15 Mats positioning
11.15 - 12.15 Yoga Lesson
12.15 - 12.45 Photo session
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
2.00pm - 3.00pm Q&A + lottery prize draw + final greetings

At the moment the event is sold out, but do register anyway at the link below to be in the waiting list, so if someone should give up, you can participate! Don’t miss it!

RSVP Waiting list: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beat-tickets-63433845339

(Italiano) Japan History: Sakamoto Ryōma

Sakamoto Ryōma (January 3, 1836 - December 10, 1867) is still recognized as one of the most important figures of the Tokugawa Shogunate and one of the greatest heroes of the Edo period.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: budojapan.com

Early youth

He was born on the island of Shikoku, in the Tosa Han (toda's Kōchi Prefecture) on the fifteenth day of the eleventh month of Tenpō according to the Japanese calendar. His family was famous for being a great sake producer, thus obtaining the lowest rank of the Samurai category, the Gōshi (Samurai of the countryside). Tosa had a very clear separation between Joshi (high-ranking samurai) and Kashi (low-ranking samurai). Even in Sakamoto Ryōma's generation, the samurai degree of his family remained Kashi. At the age of twelve, Ryōma was enrolled in a private school, but it didn't last long, because his inclination to studies wasn't very strong.

Thanks to his older sister, he then enrolled in the Oguri-Ryu fencing classes when he was 14, after being bullied at school. In adulthood, he was a master swordsman. In 1853 he was allowed by his clan to go to Edo to improve his skills as a swordsman. There he enrolled as a student at Hokushin Ittō-ryū Hyōhō Chiba-Dōjō, where he received his diploma. He then became Shihan at Chiba-Dōjō and taught Kenjutsu to students along with Chiba Jūtarō Kazutane, his close friend. In 1858 he returned to Kōchi. However, four years later the Commodore Perry of the United States arrived with a fleet to force Japan out of its centuries-old policy of national isolation. In the same year, movements against foreigners, anti-Tokugawa movements and in support of the Emperor began to form.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: jref.com

Sakamoto Ryōma and Takechi Hanpeita

His friend, Takechi Hanpeita (or Takechi Zuizan), organized Tosa's Loyalist Party "Kinnoto". Their political slogan was "Revere the emperor, expel the barbarians". The group consisted of about 2000 samurai, mostly of lower rank, who insisted on the reform of Tosa's government. As the group was not recognized, they began a plot to assassinate Yoshida Toyo, head of the Tosa domain. Ryōma participated in the plot without really supporting it.
Takechi asked for a revolution only for the Tosa clan, and Ryōma thought they would have to do something for all of Japan instead. He decided to leave Tosa and part with Takechi. In those days, no one was allowed to leave their clan without permission, on pain of death. One of Ryōma's sisters committed suicide precisely because of her brother's behavior.

In 1864, when the Tokugawa shogunate began to take a hard line, Ryōma fled to Kagoshima in the Satsuma Domain, under development as the main center for the anti-Tokugawa movement. Ryōma negotiated the secret alliance between the provinces of Chōshū and Satsuma. Satsuma and Chōshū were historically irreconcilable enemies, and Ryōma's position was seen as "neutral outsider".

Sakamoto Ryōma and the West

Ryōma was an admirer of democratic principles and studied the United States Congress and the British Parliament a lot. He loved these concepts so much that he took them as a model for the government of Japan after the Restoration.
Ryōma wrote the "Eight Proposals During the Expedition" while discussing the future model of the Japanese government with Gotō Shōjirō aboard a Tosa ship outside Nagasaki in 1867. Ryōma stressed the need for a democratically elected bicameral legislature and the drafting of a Constitution. Furthermore, he had considered the formation of a national army and fleet together with the regulation of gold and silver exchange rates. It is believed that Ryōma's proposals form the basis for the subsequent parliamentary system implemented after his death.

Sakamoto Ryōma and the Bakumatsu period

Ryōma pushed for national reform and left the domain, targeting Katsu Kaishu, a senior Tokugawa official.

When he finally managed to find his target, the latter calmly asked to be heard before he was killed. Katsu Kaishu then explained his plans to increase Japan's military strength through modernization and westernization. Instead of killing him as the plans were, Ryoma became his assistant. Together they created a naval force to be reckoned with.

Ryōma is often considered the "father of the Japanese Imperial Navy" because under the direction of Katsu Kaishū he worked to create a modern naval force. All this to allow Satsuma and Chōshū to stand comparison with the naval forces of the Tokugawa shogunate. Ryōma founded the private navy and the Kameyama Shachū trading company in the city of Nagasaki with the help of Satsuma.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: visitkochijapan.com

Chōshū's subsequent victory over the Tokugawa army in 1866 and the imminent collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate made Ryōma a precious figure for his former masters in Tosa. In fact, it is precisely in this period that he was recalled to Kōchi with many honors. Tosa's domain was anxious to get a negotiated agreement between the Shogun and the Emperor. This would have prevented Satchō's powerful Alliance from forcibly toppling Tokugawa and thus emerging as a new dominant force in the government of Japan. Ryōma again played a crucial role in the negotiations that led to the voluntary resignation of the Tokugawa Yoshinobu Shogun in 1867. With the arrival of the Meiji Restoration, thanks to Sakamoto Ryoma the Shogunate fell. Thus it was that Japan managed to come out of the 260-year Tokugawa Rule.

Ryōma often used the alias Saitani Umetarō (谷梅太郎) as he was often hunted by Bakufu supporters, like Shinsengumi members.

Sakamoto Ryōma's murder

On the night of December 10, 1867, Sakamoto Ryōma and his friend Nakaoka Shintaro stayed at the Omiya Inn in Kyoto. A group of assassins had gathered outside the inn. When one of them knocked on the door killing Ryōma's bodyguard, the rest of the group reached his room assassinating both him and Nakaoka.

The killers were never identified. However, members of the Shinsengumi and their leader Kondo Isami were accused and executed for the murder. Although the Mimawarigumi, members of the pro-Tokugawa group, confessed to the murder in 1870, no action was ever taken against them.

Sakamoto Ryōma's ultimate goal was not personal, but for the sake of Japan. His actions and beliefs have made him a national hero to this day.

Ryōma was a visionary who dreamed of an independent Japan without feudal traps. He was inspired by the example of the United States where "all men are created equal". He realized that to compete with an industrially and technologically advanced outside world, the Japanese had to modernize. It has also been seen as an intriguing mix of tradition and modernity. In fact, a symbol of these traits was his preference for the samurai dress with western footwear.

Sakamoto Ryōma

photo credits: tokyo2020.jp

Modern times

On 15 November 2003, the Kōchi airport was renamed Kōchi Ryōma Airport in his honor.

There is a Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum (坂本龍馬記念館) south of Kōchi, with a large bronze statue of Ryoma overlooking the sea. The city of Kōchi has a number of Ryōma-themed attractions and places, including the Sakamoto Ryōma Birthplace Memorial. Furthermore, the Sakomoto Ryōma Hometown Museum shows the Kōchi center during Ryōma's childhood, including the relevant aspects that may have influenced his opinions. On November 15, 2009, the Hokkaido Sakamoto Ryōma memorial museum was built in Hakodate, Hokkaido.