THE OSAKA PORTAL
The Boshin War was a civil war in Japan, fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and those seeking to return political power to the imperial court. An alliance of samurai, particularly the domains of Chōshū and Satsuma, and officials secured control of the imperial court and influenced the young Emperor Meiji. Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the sitting shogun, realizing the futility of his situation, abdicated political power to the emperor. However, military movements by imperial forces, partisan violence in Edo, and an imperial decree promoted by Satsuma and Choshu abolishing the house of Tokugawa led Yoshinobu to launch a military campaign to seize the emperor's court at Kyoto. Yoshinobu fled Osaka aboard the Kaiyō Maru, withdrawing to Edo. Demoralized by his flight and by the betrayal by Yodo and Tsu, Shogunate forces retreated, making the Toba–Fushimi encounter an Imperial victory, although it is often considered the Shogunate forces should have won the encounter. Osaka Castle was soon invested, putting an end to the battle of Toba-Fushimi. The military tide rapidly turned in favor of the smaller but relatively modernized imperial faction, and after a series of battles culminating in the surrender of Edo, Yoshinobu personally surrendered. Those loyal to the Tokugawa retreated to northern Honshū and later to Hokkaidō, where they founded the Ezo republic. Defeat at the Battle of Hakodate broke this last holdout and left the imperial rule supreme throughout the whole of Japan, completing the military phase of the Meiji Restoration.
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Kanō Jigorō (October 1860 – 4 May 1938) was the founder of judo. Pedagogical innovations attributed to Kanō include the use of black and white belts, and the introduction of dan ranking to show the relative ranking between members of a martial art style. In his professional life Kanō was an educator. He played a key role in getting judo and kendo made part of the Japanese public school programs of the 1910s. Kanō was also a pioneer of international sports. Kanō became active in the activities of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in 1909. This came about after Kristian Hellström of the Swedish Olympic Committee wrote to the governments of Japan and China to ask if they were going to send teams to the 1912 Olympics. The Japanese government did not want to embarrass itself on an international stage by saying no, so the Ministry of Education was told to look into this. The Ministry logically turned to Kanō, who was a physical educator with recent experience in Europe. Kanō agreed to represent Japan at the International Olympics Committee, and, after talking to the French ambassador to Japan and reading pamphlets sent by the Swedes, he got, in his words, "a fairly good idea of what the Olympic Games were." Toward fulfilling his duties as a member, in 1912, Kanō helped establish the Japan Amateur Athletic Association (Dai Nippon Tai-iku Kyokai), which had the mission of overseeing amateur sport in Japan. Kanō was the official representative of Japan to the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912, and he was involved in organizing the Far Eastern Championship Games held in Osaka during May 1917. In 1920, Kanō represented Japan at the Antwerp Olympics, and during the early 1920s, he served on the Japanese Council of Physical Education. He did not play much part in organizing the Far Eastern Championship Games held in Osaka in May 1923, nor did he attend the 1924 Olympics in Paris, but he did represent Japan at the Olympics in Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932), and Berlin (1936). From 1931 to 1938, he was also one of the leading international spokesmen in Japan's bid for the 1940 Olympics. His official honors and decorations included the First Order of Merit and Grand Order of the Rising Sun and the Third Imperial Degree. Kanō was inducted into the IJF Hall of Fame on 14 May 1999.
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