Akizuki Rebellion: the final samurai battle in history (27th October-14th November 1876)

Shortly after the Meiji Restoration a number of skirmishes were organised with disgruntled samurai. Akizuki played host to the final samurai rebellion against the new Meiji government of these with Akizuki no Ran (The Akizuki Rebellion). Japan’s former samurai were unhappy with restrictions on carrying swords as well as the country’s new direction. Many felt that the changes were coming from Western influence. Responding to the loss of the substantial status and economic privileges of the samurai, Hyakuhachiro Imamura set up a band of warriors, known as the "Akizuki Party".

Three days prior to The Akizuki Rebellion the Shinpūren no Ran' (Shinpūren Rebellion) occurred in nearby Kumamoto. The Kumamoto army commander and prefectural decree (on the Meiji government side) were killed but the rebellion was put down shortly after this. However, an ambassador from Akizuki, who witnessed only the first day, quickly returned home and reported that "Shinpūren had won."

In response to this news 200 warriors from Akizuki set out to join another uprising near Toyotsu. Two days later, the warriors arriving at Toyotsu found that their allies were already in prison. On October 31, the cornered Akizuki party was dissolved and seven of the leaders committed suicide. Government forces followed the remaining rebels and detained them in and around Akizuki on November 24th.

On December 3rd, the Fukuoka extraordinary court sentenced the rebels. Imamura and his associate Masuda, who were said to be the masterminds, were decapitated on the same day. 150 more were sentenced to imprisonment or exile. At the Akizuki Museum, there are also exhibits such as the words of death poem written by executives.

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