Arisugawa no Miya Imperial Prince Taruhito (有栖川宮熾仁親王)

Arisugawa no Miya Imperial Prince Taruhito (March 17, 1835 - January 15, 1895) was a member of the Imperial family, a politician, and a military officer between the last days of Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and the Meiji period.
His go title was initially 'Taizan' and later changed to 'Kado.'

He was Arisunogawa no Miya Imperial Prince Takahito's first Prince and his name from childhood was Yoshinomiya. His birth mother was ie-no-nyobo (the lady in waiting), Yuko SAEKI. His governmental posts were as follows, in the order he was appointed; Dazai no Sotsu, General Affairs Official of the Imperial Household in charge of State affairs, the President of the government, the Great Governor-General in charge of the military expedition to the east, Hyobu kyo, the Governor of Fukuoka Province (later Governor of the prefecture, Kenrei (same as governor)), a member of the Chamber of Elders (later became the Chairman), the Governor-General in charge of suppressing the opposition in Kagoshima Prefecture, Sadaijin (Minister of the Left), the head of the Military General Staff Office, the President of councilor and Lord Custodian [Chief Priest] of the Great Shrine of Ise. His rank was Military Admiral. His medal for merit of the Golden Pheasant was called the Grand Order of the Chrysanthemum Golden Pheasant medal for merit. The first Empress was the head of the former Lord of the Mito domain, Nariaki TOKUGAWA's daughter, Sadako TOKUGAWA.
Sadako was born weak and died when she was twenty three years old, after two years of the marriage, while Imperial Prince Taruhito was away to Fukuoka, the Prince remarried, in July 1873, with the head of the former Lord of Echigo Shibata Domain, Naohiro MIZOGUCHI's adopted daughter, Tadako. (the oldest son of the Lord of Ise Kobe Domain, Tadahiko HONDA's daughter.)

His childhood
He was born in the Arisugawa no Miya palace, located in north east of the Kyoto Imperial Palace on February 19,1835, as the first Prince of Prince Takahito. His birth mother, Yuko SAEKI was called Kana, she was the chief priest of Wakamiya Hachiman-gu Shrine, 佐々祐條's daughter. In fact, his father, Imperial Prince Takahito, had not yet married Hiroko NIJO at that time; he organized an adoption engagement with Hiroko in October 1848. The placenta of Imperial Prince Taruhito was put under the grounds of Shusse Inari-jinja Shrine, following the tradition of those days. He was named 'Yoshino Miya' (name for a small child) at the celebration of the seventh day after the birth.

He became the adopted son of Emperor Nintoku on November 13, 1848, who was already passed away. He was given the personal name of 'Taruhito' by Emperor Komei on March 8, 1849, two days after that, he received the title Prince by Imperial order on March 10.

On April 7 in the same year, Imperial Prince Taruhito had a coming-of-age ceremony and was appointed as Dazai no sochi and received court rank on the following day. After that the Prince was called 'Sochino Miya' until he was appointed to the President (Meiji new government) of the new government in the Sosai Sanchoku period in 1867. Thus persons described as 'Sochi no Miya' 'Sochi no Miya onkata' in the historical books related to the last days of the bakufu means Imperial Prince Taruhito.

The last days of the bakufu
Imperial Prince Taruhito was engaged to Emperor Komei's sister, Imperial Princess Kazunomiya Chikako, in 1851 when he was seventeen years old and working as Kazunomiya's instructor in tanka (or waka) poetry; however, it was decided that Kazunomiya would marry Iemochi TOKUGAWA as part of the union of the imperial Court and the Shogunate policy, so the engagement was cancelled. In addition to the above, the Prince was influenced strongly by his aides as well as an educator, Tadahiko IDA, he was the vanguard against the Aizu and Choshu Domain supporters of the Imperial Palace until the Meiji new government was established. Due to this, all the supporters of the doctrine of restoring the emperor to power and expelling the barbarian, who gathered in Kyoto, relied upon the Prince. Especially before and after the political change on August 18, the samurai of the Choshu Domain, people loyal to the Emperor who remained in Kyoto such as Chuzaburo TERAJIMA and Genzui KUSAKA, had contacted various Taifu of Arisugawanomiya or aides many times, such as Yoshikaze AWAZU and Shigeyuki MAEKAWA through the former Bishamon do aides, Shutaro FURUTAKA (KOTAKA), who pretended to be a business man and named 'Kiemon MASUYA,' they had contact by organizing to have a place for secret meeting, or they both exchanged secret messengers in hiding to each others, Prince Taruhito ordered Awazu and Maekawa to send a letter of consolation to the Chief retainer of a feudal lord of Choshu Domain, Kanenobu MASUDA.

On June 12, 1864, two months before the Kinmon Incident, Imperial Prince Taruhito and his father, Imperial Prince Takahito were appointed as officials in charge of national affairs and took part in the planning politics in the Imperial Palace, since they were supporters of the Choshu Domain, they opposed Kyoto Protection official, Katamori MATSUDAIRA's close aides and supporters of the Shogun, Kuni no Miya Imperial Prince Asahiko. Soon after that, on July 8, 1864, it is said Furutaka, who was the contact person between the Choshu Domain and the Miyake (house of an imperial prince), was caught by Shinsengumi and tortured by the Deputy Chief, Toshizo HIJIKATA, Furutaka confessed there was a plan to kill Katamori MATSUDAIRA, or a plan to kidnap Emperor Komei, a plan to set fire all over Kyoto city, etc. It can not be proved, nowadays, whether Prince Taruhito and other Arisugawanomiya related people, had something to do with the above terrorism or not, since Prince Taruhito was a relative of the Mori family of Choshu, and also well known supporter of the Emperor by other Imperial members, Prince Taruhito himself admitted it, he became being alarmed by Katamori and his group as an extreme (communist) sympathizer.

Therefore, when the Kinmon Incident happened, he was condemned by the Shogun's supporters because of his relationship with the Choshu Domain. The Shodaibu (Samurai who receiving higher than the Fourth or Fifth Court Rank), 粟津義風, who had often dealt with the Choshu Domain, were arrested and sent to the Kyoto City Magistrate's office being suspected of doing favors for the Choshu Domain until 1866, Emperor Komei was furious about Prince Taruhito under these circumstances, the Prince lost his position as a general affairs official of the Imperial Household in charge of State affairs, and both Prince Taruhito and Takahito were ordered to refrain from making public appearances and were placed in confinement at home. Once Nakagawa no Miya and Sanenaru Ogimachi-SANJO asked Emperor Komei that Prince Taruhito and Takahito to be pardoned, however, the Emperor died without canceling their punishment.

The situation was changed dramatically compared to before, the Choshu Expeditions went fourth, the establishment of the Satsuma-Chochu Alliance, the death of Shogun Iemochi TOKUGAWA, Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA being new Shogun, the death of Emperor Komei and so on, while both Prince Taruhito and Takahito were refrained from making public appearances and had no contact with outside. However, although Prince Taruhito was placed in confinement at home, it is said he disguised himself as a monk and went out of the house at night and met with his associates to discuss national affairs, he also used Kiboku FUJII (who later became a member of the Chamber of Elders) as a secret messenger, who became a distinguished new leader after 粟津 was arrested, to contact with Choshu sides.

The Boshin War, the assumption to the Great Governor-General in charge of the military expedition to the east
In January 1867 after Emperor Meiji ascended to the throne, both father and son, Imperial Prince Takahito and Taruhito were forgiven and allowed to appear in public appearances. The royalist again approached Arisugawa no Miya urging the overthrow of the bakufu. The father, and the head of the family, Imperial Prince Takahito stayed away from political activities after he was allowed to appear in public, however Emperor Meiji had complete trust in Imperial Prince Taruhito and other people who were against the bakufu also trusted him as well, Takamori SAIGO and others let the Prince know about a planned coup, in advance, for the restoration of imperial rule. This coup was successful and the new government was established, three new positions of President, Gijo, and Councilor were established and the Imperial Prince Taruhito assumed the highest position of President.

In 1868, just after that, the bakufu started fighting against Saccho (the Satsuma and Choshu Domains) after provoking the bakufu many times (the Toba-Fushimi War), this was the beginning of the Boshin War, the head of the rebel army, Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA was a cousin of Imperial Prince Taruhito's father, Imperial Prince Takahito. Therefore, Imperial Prince Taruhito felt shame about his relatives going against the Imperial Palace and he, himself, accepted the charter to become the Great Governor-General in charge of the military expedition to the east. The Prince was supported by a staff officer, Takamori SAIGO and as the government army was advancing down the Tokaido, it was recorded in Imperial Taruhito's diary that it was a quiet country road to the east, the Prince was on the palanquin, he went on horseback, riding to far places along the way, ate many nice foods which were popular in various places, and enjoyed looking at Cherry blossoms and writing poetry. On the way east, the Prince made up his mind up to spare Yoshinobu's life by having him swear allegiance, in Sunpu, he met with Kitashirakawa no Miya Prince Yoshihisa from Edo, who came to ask him to break off the attack east and to spare Yoshinobu's life, he asked the Hosshinno's (the Prince who went into the priesthood and received a title to become the Prince by the Emperor) opinion about sparing Yoshinobu's life. But, monk-Prince Kogen's request to stop the attack on the east was strongly rejected by Prince Taruhito.

Luckily the government army did not experience any battles until they reached Edo, the Edo castle was opened on April 11 without any bloodshed. On that day, Yoshinobu went to Mito to put on his best behavior, instead of receiving the first degree death penalty. It was Kaishu KATSU and the former Prince Taruhito's fiancee, Seikan in no Miya (Kazunomiya), who contributed to the opening of the Edo castle without any fighting. Just after arriving in Edo, the system of the Grand Council of State was established and the Sanshoku (president, Gijo, counselor) was abolished, the Prince's position as the President was no longer valid.

Meiji period
In 1869, he went on an inspection tour to Europe and returned the following year in 1870. He became Hyobukyo. In 1871 he became the governor of the Fukuoka Domain, (later called the governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, kenrei) and he governed Fukuoka well after the disturbance of the Nisesatsu affair (fake money affair). In 1876 he became the Chairman of the Chamber of Elders, chairman of senior statesman. He became the Governor-General in charge of suppressing the opposition at Kagoshima Prefecture in the Seinan War during 1877, ironically he opposed Takamori SAIGO who he used to discuss national affairs with during the Meiji Restoration, or command the national army together at the expedition to the east. Due to his achievements in the Seinan War, he became only the second person in history to be appointed to the position of Rikugun Taisho (Military General), and received the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum on November 2. During the Seinan War, he received a proposal to establish 'Hakuai sha' (later called the Japanese Red Cross Society) by Tsunetami SANO and Yuzuru OGYU, he approved it without consulting the main government, as he was moved by the spirit to rescue not only the government army, but also to help the rival, Satsuma army.

After that, Imperial Prince Taruhito had the absolute trust of Emperor Meiji, as a recognized authority on the Imperial family in those days. In 1882, he participated in the enthronement ceremony of Alexander Ⅲ held at the capital city of the Russian Empire, Sankt-Peterburg; Saint Petersburg representing the Emperor, on his way back to Japan, he made a round of visits to European countries and the United States.

His death
He went down to Hiroshima Imperial Headquarters as the supreme commander of the military and navy in the Sino-Japanese War that occurred in 1894, however he came down with typhoid fever (he was initially diagnosed as having malaria), and went to Arisunogawa no Miya Maiko villa in Kyogo Prefecture to rest. He was getting better but in 1895 became sick again, he was in the serious condition by January 14. After Emperor Meiji heard this news, he decided to confer the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum to Imperial Prince Taruhito. On the following day, January 15, just before the end of the War, Imperial Prince Taruhito died in Maiko villa when he was sixty one years old. Furthermore, on the following day, January 16, he was given the medal of merit 功二級 Golden Pheasant, as the medal was supposed to have been given before he died, the official announcement of the date of his death was the 24th, which was the day his body arrived in Tokyo. A state funeral was organized for Imperial Prince Taruhito, and he was buried in Arisugawa no Miya cemetery with a Toshima ga oka Ceremony.

The family
The Prince did not have any children either with Sadako nor Tadako, it was approved by Emperor Meiji before he died, to have his half younger brother, Arisunogawa no Miya Imperial Prince Takehito as his successor, who was supposed to have established a new Miyake or have been demoted from nobility to subject according to custom. Due to this, after Imperial Prince Taruhito died, Imperial Prince Takehito succeeded to the Arisunogawa no Miya family.

In the War song of the government army, Tokoton yare bushi, (it is presumed to be a song written by Yajiro SHINAGAWA, as it has the different name of 'Miya san Miya san') it says, 'Miya san Miya san, what is fluttering in front of the horse,' this 'Miya san' in the song means Prince Taruhito.

As he was a military officer, his hobby was horse riding and hunting, and collecting swords. He also liked craft making, pottery, and making bamboo craft. He was also known as a talented calligrapher and a poet, like the original head of the successive family, as mentioned before, he taught the art of tanka poetry to Kazunomiya, he received an inheritance of the secret lore of 'Arisunogawa no Miya style calligraphy' from his father, Imperial Prince Takahito. Imperial Prince Taruhito lived on humble fare and liked almost any kind of food, (he ate the same food as other soldiers of the government army), he did not drink large amounts of alcohol, however his weight was always above sixty eight kilograms although he was rather short, he suffered from heart disease caused by being overweight in his later years.

The statue

After Imperial Prince taruhito passed away, Iwao Oyama, Aritomo YAMAGATA and Tsugumichi SAIGO suggested to build a statue of him, they collected the donations from soldiers, sailors, and ordinary people, the Prince's statue on horseback was built in front of the main gate of the staff office in Miyakezaka, Tokyo. At the unveiling ceremony, in addition to Empress Tadako, Imperial Prince Takehito and Princess, other old people who proposed the statue be built, Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA who had a close relationship to the Prince came and made speeches. After the Pacific War, as there was a construction work to widen the road, the statue was relocated to Arisunogawa no Miya memorial park (the former Imperial land of Imperial Prince Takehito) in Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Inpu (historical books with the details of old stamps and seal-engraving)
In August 1929, "Inpu (collection of impressions of seals) of Prince Taruhito" was edited and published by the Takamatsu no Miya Family. There are ninety three stamp pictures made from seal-engraving specialists, Suichiku NAKAMURA,細川林斎, Katei HAKURA, Keisho NAKAI. This is one of the representative Inpu from Japanese seal-engraving specialists during the Meiji period together with Sanetomi SANJO "Rido Inpu," Kosho OTANI "Suigetsu sai Inpu" "Enshindo Inpu."

[Original Japanese]