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Saigo, Takamori

SAIGO, TAKAMORI (1832-1877), Japanese patriot, was born in Satsuma in 1832. From early youth he took a prominent part in the politics of his clan, and owing to his extreme opinions with regard to the expediency of abolishing the Tokugawa administration, he was banished (1858) to the island of Oshima (Satsuma), where he attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide. Ultimately he rose to high rank in the newly organized imperial government, but in 1873 he retired from the cabinet by way of protest against its decision not to take armed action against Korea. Thenceforth he became the rallying point of a large number of men dissatisfied with the new administration, and in 1877 he headed a rebellion which taxed all the resources of the central government. After several months of desperate fighting, Saigo and a small remnant of his followers made a swift retreat to Kagoshima, and fell fighting (September 14) within sight of their homes. Saigo's patriotism and his great services in the cause of the restoration of the administrative power to the throne were so fully recognized that his son was raised to the peerage with the title of marquess, and his own memory was honoured by the erection of a bronze statue in Tokyo.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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