Although historical accounts of Yoshinobu's life differ, all agree that he was extremely uninterested in becoming Shogun in the first place. According to Ryotaro Shiba, this disinterest could have been ascribed to his being born “an aristocrat of impeccable standing … [who had] been accorded certain privileges” and thus did not desire to place himself in the way of harm (p. 42). Other historians are less kind, calling Yoshinobu “indecisive” (Jansen, p. 307). Regardless of his reasons for not wanting to be Shogun, Yoshinobu's distaste was strong enough that the position actually went unfilled for “more than one hundred and fifty days” after the death of his predecessor, Tokugawa Iemochi (Shiba, p. 187). Even though he did not want to be Shogun, Yoshinobu worked hard once he was appointed. Although a lot of his time was spent observing powerful enemies of the Shogunate like the Satsuma and Choshu domains, he was still able to put into play several policies regarding the opening of the country. One of these was the opening of the port of Hyogo to foreign trade in the face of opposition from radicals and the Imperial court itself (Shiba, p. 195). Ironically, another of Yoshinobu's successes was helped by his lack of desire to be Shogun in the first place. . Tokugawa Yoshinobu and the end of the Bakufu.
Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2000. Print.
Shina, Ryotaro. The Last Shogun. New York: Kodansha, 1998. Print.
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