Important Cultural PropertyLetter from Sakamoto Ryôma to his Sister Otome on the 20th Day of the 3rd Month of Bunkyû 3 (1863)

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  • Edo period/19th century
  • Kyoto National Museum
  • M甲157-2

Sakamoto Ryôma traveled around the country after he left Tosa in March of 1862 (Bunkyû 2), severing his ties with the clan and becoming independent. By the end of the year, he had become an apprentice in Edo to a Tokugawa shogunate official, Katsu Kaishû (1823-99), who taught him naval science. This is a letter written in March of 1863 (Bunkyû 3) to his sister Otome after the long interval. It overflows with his joy at contemplating the possibility that his desire to establish a naval force in Kobe might be realized someday. In his figures of speech, Ryôma makes abundant use of everyday images in contrast to the more formal style of letter writing used in those days. It is a typical example of his letter-writing style.

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