Ansei Purge

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Ansei Purge (安政の大獄, Ansei no taigoku) was a multi-year event in Japanese history of the Edo period between 1858 and 1860,[1] during which the Tokugawa shogunate imprisoned, executed, or exiled those who did not support its authority and foreign trade policies.[2]


The Ansei Purge was ordered by Ii Naosuke on behalf of the bakufu.[3]

The purge was carried out in an effort to quell opposition to trade treaties with the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands.[4]

Over 100 influential people were victims of the purge.[5] Men were forced out of positions within the bakufu, or from han leadership or from the Imperial Court in Kyoto. They included

Death Penalty
Permanent house arrest
House arrest


  • 1858 (Ansei 5): Beginning of the Ansei Purge[3]
  • 1859 (Ansei 6): Arrests and investigations continuing.
Edo Castle's Sakurada Gate (Sakurada-mon): The assassination of Ii Naosuke occurred nearby.


  1. ^ The name "Ansei Purge" refers to the "Ansei period", a Japanese era that followed the Kaei period and was followed by the Man'en period. In other words, the Ansei Purge was an event that occurred during the Ansei period, which spanned the years 1854 through 1860.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Ansei no taigoku" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 33.
  3. ^ a b Cullen, Louis. (2003). A History of Japan, 1582–1941: Internal and External Worlds, pp. 184–188.
  4. ^ Nussbaum, "Ansei no Kari Jōyaku" at p. 33.
  5. ^ Najita, Tetsuo. (1980). Japan: The Intellectual Foundations of Modern Japanese Politics, p. 63.
  6. ^ Sansom, George Bailey. (1963). A History of Japan, 1615–1867, p. 239.
  7. ^ a b c Shiba, Ryōtarō and Eileen Katō. (2001). Drunk as a lord: samurai stories, p. 227.
  8. ^ Cullen, p. 184.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kusunoki Sei'ichirō (1991). Nihon shi omoshiro suiri: Nazo no satsujin jiken wo oe. Tokyo: Futami bunko.

External links[edit]