Saigo Takamori
(1828-1877)

    Also known as the last true samurai, Saigo Takamori is one of the most influential samurai of Japanese history. Born in a low-ranking samurai family, Saigo Takamori rose through the ranks and became the top general of Japan's imperial army and a very important bureaucrat. He also took part in overthrowing the shogun, or the military ruler of Japan, and was a driving force behind the restoration of the emperor. Soon after, he was displeased by Japan's unwillingness to go to war with Korea, and resigned his position in the government. He then started a military school, which drew in thousands of loyal supporters who were all eager to benefit from his teaching.  Unbeknownst to him, some of his followers attacked a government owned arsenal, which sparked a rebellion in which he was unwillingly forced to lead. In the ensuing battles, thousands were killed on both sides, including himself. Widely regarded as a tragic hero of Japan, Saigo Takamori's brave deeds are still remembered today.