Count Katsu Kaishu(1823-1899) was a Japanese naval officer and statesman during the Late Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji period, and is particularly known for his role in the surrender of Edo. In 1860, Katsu was assigned to command the Kanrin-Maru, and (with assistance from US naval officer Lt. John M. Brooke), to escort the first Japanese delegation to San Francisco, California en route to Washington, DC for the formal ratification of the Harris Treaty. The Kanrin-Maru, built by the Dutch, was Japan's first steam-powered warship, and its voyage across the Pacific Ocean was meant to signal that Japan had mastered modern sailing and shipbuilding technology. Kaishu remained in San Francisco for nearly two months, observing American society, culture and technology. Following returning to Japan, Katsu held a series of high ranking posts in the Tokugawa navy, arguing before government councils in favor of a unified Japanese naval force disregarding traditional hereditary domains and professionally trained officers. During his command as director of the Kobe Naval School, the institute would become a major source of activity for progressive thinking and reformists between 1863 and 1864. In 1866, Katsu was appointed negotiator between the Edo Shogunate forces and the anti-Shogunal domain of Choshu, and later served as chief negotiator for the Tokugawa Shogunate, ensuring a relatively peaceful and orderly transition of power in the Meiji Restoration. Although sympathetic to the anti-Tokugawa cause, Katsu remained loyal to the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Boshin War. After the collapse of the Tokugawa forces in late 1867, Katsu negotiated the surrender of Edo castle to Saigo Takamori and the Satcho Alliance in 1868. Katsu followed the last Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, into exile in Shizuoka. Katsu returned briefly to government service as Vice Minister of the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1872, followed by first Minister of the Navy from 1873 until 1878. He was the most prominent of the former Tokugawa retainers who found employment with in the new Meiji government. Although his influence within the navy was minimal, as the Navy was largely dominated by a core of Satsuma officers, Katsu served in a senior advisory capacity on national policy. During the next two decades, Katsu served on the Privy Council and wrote extensively on naval issues before his death in 1899. Texts cited from Wikipedia
*Iaito are made with an aluminum zinc alloy blade and cannot be sharpened.