Masanosuke was a Choshu han administrator and chief of
the Justice faction in government, whose primary rival was the
conservative "Mundane views faction" or Zokuran-ha.
The Justice faction held only marginal control at the time Yoshida
Shoin and his Sonjuku were becoming actively engaged in politics.
opposed Yoshida Shoin's plans to assassinate Manabe Akikatsu -
a Bakufu official sent to Kyoto to enforce the policy that later
became known as the Ansei Purge in 1858. He ordered the house
arrest of Shoin on 11/29/58 and his subsequent incarceration at
Noyama Prison (in Hagi) on 12/5/58.
and Shoin, however, were not by any means hostile towards one
another. The two had been on good terms prior to that incident.
Shoin exonerated Sufu in a letter to Takasugi in on 5/13/59, when
advising him to abandon plans to free him from prison.
know Sufu thinks well of me. You know that Sufu is a great personality,
and you know how hard he works. If you look back on the affair
of the last year, there were errors on Sufu's part, on my part,
and on the part of many persons who used their offices in between...
I really do not bear a grudge against Sufu."
after Shoin's death, continued to assist the Sonjuku students
"warbling of birds society" was formed by Sufu and his
friends in 1845 while they were still at the clan school, the
Meirinkan. This study group continued to meet long after Sufu
and the others had matriculated, moving locations from the Meirinkan
to a location closer to the castle. As Huber states, the Aumeisha
was very much the Sonjuku of the 1840s in terms of composition
18 regular members were samurai with modest stipends (21-173 koku)
with the exception of Kuchiba Tokusube. Their reasons for the
formation included 'dissatisfaction' with the Meirinkan education.
Together, the men gathered "to argue together, and thereby
investigate history, ancient and recent, and also the problems
of current affairs." The Aumeisha would later dominate the
Justice faction in the government, just as many from the Sonjuku
would dominate han politics and country politics in the years
Aumeisha members welcomed Sonjuku students at their meetings --
Kusaka Genzui was among those who did attend several times, as
did Yoshida's brother Sugi Umetaro (on behalf of Shoin perhaps).
Meeting rosters included figures such as visiting activist Buddhist
priest Utsunomiya Mokurin and Gessho, teacher of Kusaka genzui
and Buddhist priest, rural educator and reformer..
the main attractions apparently for Sugi (and perhaps the others)
was the library of the Aumeisha.
the students as well as lead instructor Shoin benefitted intellectually
from such a relationship.
Huber's "The Revolutionary Origins of Modern Japan."