The Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial Museum

Details of the museum in English as follows:


Copied from the museum’s introduction of Ryoma.

Sakamoto Ryoma, born in Kochi in 1835, made a great contribution to Japan’s rapid modernization which marked the end of 700 years of feudal government. The modernized nation he pictured had laws, a parliamentary system and a diplomatic office. The impact he had on the country was such that the people fondly refer to him only by his first name, Ryoma.

In his time, it was not permitted to leave one’s home clan without official permission. Japan’s central government, called the bakufu, was losing its power in ruling all the clans. Instead, some clans were getting stronger than others and trying to overthrow the shogunate. Ryoma fled Tosa, the old name for Kochi, without official Tosa travel permission at the age of 28. Ryoma, as a man outside the control of his home fief authorities, worked energetically all over Japan to reform the national political and economic system.

Real national unity, Ryoma thought, would require the cooperation of the two strongest anti-bakufu clans at the time, the Satsuma and Choshu clans, which are now parts of Kagoshima and Yamaguchi prefectures. In 1866, he succeeded in forming an alliance between these two traditional enemies. In 1867, he formulated an “Eight-Point Program” for the modernization of Japan, a political guideline for the new government and cabinet. In October* of this year, with the help of other Tosa youths like Goto Shojiro, Fukuoka Takachika and Nagaoka Kenkichi, he finally realized “Taiseihokan” (returning power to the throne). The bakufu turned over its power to the emperor. It was a bloodless revolution.

Only one month later, in November 15*, 1867, Ryoma was assassinated in Kyoto at the age of 33. He had lived long enough to see only one month of Japan’s drastic change. “The Meiji Restoration” was near at hand, but he never saw the modern Japan he had struggled to build.

This museum was built in order to pass on Ryoma’s life and ideas to the following generations.

830 Urado-shiroyama, Kochi City, Kochi 781-0262 Japan TEL 088(841)0001 FAX 088(841)0015

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