The Tokugawa Shogunate, a group of military governors who ruled Japan until the late 1800s, stayed in power for more than two centuries. Their fall was one of the most important events in Asian history.
Also known as the Meiji Restoration, the shogun's ouster began as a reaction against the elite's willingness to "collaborate" with the West. The samurai took the shogun's position as a sign of weakness.
The samurai plotted to overthrow the shogun. Murder, assassination, and intimidation soon followed. By the end of 1862, hordes of renegade samurai had transformed the streets of Japan's capital into a sea of blood.