Behind the Story of Blood and Tears – Making a Map and Banners for the Battle of Ueno
Credit: sabakuINK CC BY-SA 4.0 Source: C.V. Starr East Asian Library, University of California, Berkeley
Episode 12 (13AUG) of Blood and Tears includes a map detailing troop movements during the Battle of Ueno. This graphic started with a woodblock print of Edo published in 1858—part of the Japanese Historical Map Collection housed at the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkeley.
The historical map was a particularly useful starting point because it clearly shows the key battle sites, Kuromon Gate (southern, main entrance) and Yamanakamon Gate (northern, back entrance). It also clearly shows the samurai-owned properties located adjacent to the temple. For example, the large plot west of the pond belonged to Lord Maeda of the Kaga Domain, as indicated by the written label and family crest (see arrow).
I referred to a number of sources to determine which domains were involved and where they deployed. These sources were particularly helpful:
- Ravina, Mark. The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori, John Wily & Sons, Inc. 2007. Kindle Edition. ASIN: B000SBBYGU
- Shogunate Retainers’ Pride • The Shogitai ~ Scattered Blossoms at the Battle of Ueno (Japanese only) [幕臣の意地・彰義隊～散り行く上野戦争]
- Ueno War—Bullet Hole Remnants, part 1 (Japanese only) [上野戦争ー残された弾痕（前編）]. This blog includes current-day photos of the battle sites.
I created the war banners bearing the various house crests (kamon) using the KamonDB [家紋DB] website, a searchable database that includes downloadable .png and .jpg files. The site even includes crests from famous manga/anime, such as Naruto and One Piece.
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