Friday, January 14, 2011

The Last Shogun: Part 2

Tokugawa listened with astonishment. “What do you mean? You cannot leave Edo to Meiji. You have but no choice to make me Shogun. It is not asked of you, it is commanded,” he said.

“I am never commanded by mortals, Tokugawa. I always have a choice,” the Old One said angrily. “And today, the choice is made. The Shogunate has come to an end with the murder of your brother, for no righteous soul carrying his blood exists. As per Divine will, Edo and all her lands shall pass to Meiji, who has agreed to leave his home in Kyoto and make Edo the capital of his new, great Empire. The Shogunate, Yoshinobu, stands for justice. It cannot be taken by treachery.”

Livid with anger, Tokugawa pulled out his sword to slay the Old One. But just as he was about to pounce, the shadows began to tremble. In a blink of the eye, he was surrounded by Samurai who, for the first time in millennia, has been allowed to enter a Shrine meant for the Shogun and daimyo. It was the Samurai who were decreed to oversee the passing of the torch when the Shogun passed away, and in the Confucian Shrine, they were there to do just that.

In a flash, they cut off Tokugawa’s head and truly ended the last line of the Shogunate. The Old One bowed to them, disgusted by their love for the sword. He went into his chambers to pray, even as he heard one of the Samurai ride off to welcome Meiji. With the Shogunate no more, his duty too had come to an end. He pulled out a blade and slit his own throat, thankful that God had allowed him to see to it that Edo would survive beyond the era of the Shogun.

Subsequently, the Meiji Empire was modernized and thus was born Imperial Japan, which went on to take control of Korea and much of East Asia. Kyoto remained an important city, but power was forever cemented in the lanes of Edo – today’s Tokyo.

(Series concluded)

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