I must say that Nikolai was not the first of the Romanovs who visited the Land of the Rising Sun. Before him, such a voyage was made by Alexey Alexandrovich (son of Alexander II) and Alexander Mikhailovich (grandson of Nicholas I). But all of them, if I may say so, were “small-caliber” representatives of the Romanovs. The same was true for visitors from the ruling European houses. Therefore, the arrival of the immediate heir to the throne, according to the historian Alexander Meshcheryakov, "certainly flattered the Japanese pride."
The cruiser "Memory of Azov"
But Russian diplomats, in spite of the excitement created and the famous Oriental hospitality, were not relaxing. They followed the situation in the country and read the local press. So, for example, in the newspaper “Threads of the Shimbun” wrote: “In Europe, Russia can be compared to a roaring lion or an angry elephant, whereas in the East it is like a hand-made sheep or a sleeping cat. Who can say that Russia can bite in the East, and who will claim that it pursues extreme political goals in Asia! All this is nothing more than cowardice and thoughtlessness. ” This, like many other publications, pursued one goal - to convince the Japanese themselves that the trace of the secret expansionist policy did not stretch beyond the visit of the Tsarevich. The fact is that among the population of the Land of the Rising Sun, xenophobic sentiments were extremely popular. About this, by the way, warned the Russian representative in Tokyo, Dmitry Yegorovich Shevich. Moreover, these fermentations were not abstract, but quite concrete. And this was confirmed by the attack on the Russian embassy in November 1890 of the year.
The diplomat was worried about, and, let's say, the specific legislation of Japan. The fact is that there was no article in it which would have provided for the death penalty for attacking representatives of foreign royal families and missions. Moreover, the bill has already been prepared, but the authorities were in no hurry to introduce it into criminal law. Shevich wrote that the government is obliged "to seriously take care of obtaining the legal means for taming any inclinations on the part of the Japanese anarchists to insult with something the inviolable person of the august guest of the Emperor." Dmitry Egorovich also raised this topic at a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Aoki Shuzo. But the Japanese confined himself only to the fact that he verbally promised the Russian diplomat complete security to the crown prince. In March, Shevich wrote in the dispatch: “As the time when the Sovereign Heir Tsesarevich arrives in Japan, a rather sensitive change in the sense of some rapprochement with Russia begins to manifest itself in the local public opinion.” The Yomiuri Shimbun, an influential political newspaper, the arrival of the heir to the Cesarevich to Japan, states that "visiting this country as the heir of the greatest state in the world is an international event of vital importance for Japan." Therefore, "Yomiuri Shimbun" expresses the conviction that the Japanese people will meet the most august traveler with the respect and honor that befits His title. "
But, as subsequent events showed, intuition did not let the experienced diplomat down. Words and promises were not enough.
Tsarevich in Japan
In April, a Russian squadron led by the cruiser Memory of Azov arrived in Nagasaki. And the first few days of his visit to the Land of the Rising Sun, Nikolai and Prince George incognito walked around the city and its environs. Then the "Memory of Azov" went to Kagoshima, and from there to Kobe. And then the whole delegation went to Kyoto by train. By the way, on the eve of the visit of foreign guests, the city was decorated with Japanese, Russian and Greek flags, installed a triumphal arch with the inscription “Welcome!” In Russian, and traditional lanterns for Japan were hung on the houses.
From Kyoto, Nikolai, Georg and the Japanese prince Arisugawa Takehito went to the city of Otsu and visited the temple of Mii-dera. The Government Gazette newspaper wrote: “After a walk on a small steamer on the lake, everyone went to the governor’s house, where breakfast was served. During breakfast, the Heir Tsesarevich spoke about the cordial folk meeting both in Kyoto and in Otsu, and in warm expressions thanked the local governor for all his civility. ”
The meeting of the guests in Otsu took place just like in Kyoto. Joyful Japanese, flooded the streets, waving flags. By order of the authorities, local residents were forbidden to observe the movement of foreigners from the second floors of houses, since no one could be higher than the representatives of the imperial families.
Presents of the Japanese to Nikolai Alexandrovich on the "Memory of Azov"
At about two in the afternoon, the delegation headed back to Kyoto. Since the streets in Otsu were narrow, visitors moved not by horse-drawn transport, but by rickshaws. The Japanese were still required to remove their hats at the time of the arrival of high-ranking guests. The police followed the crowd, although there was little point in it. After all, according to etiquette, law enforcement officers, located at a distance of eighteen meters from each other, could not stand with their backs to the royal personages.
A string of wheelchairs (about fifty pieces) rode one after the other. Tsarevich Nikolai was in the fifth in a row. Suddenly, on the street Simo-Kogarasaki, one of the policemen left the place. Snatching his sword, he jumped to Nicholas and hit him twice. But the heir to the throne managed to jump out of the carriage, and then came the help in the face of the Greek prince. He hit the policeman with a bamboo cane, although he could not stop the criminal. The rickshaws of Mukokhata Jisaburo and Kitaghiti Ititaro managed this. The first attacked the criminal and managed to knock him out of his hands weapon. And the second - picked up the sword and hit it on the back of the attacker.
When the criminal was caught, they managed to establish his identity - it really was a policeman named Tsuda Sanzo. in the "Government Gazette" they wrote that the attack lasted "no more than in 15 or 20 seconds, so that the policemen who had fled from all sides managed to grab the villain only when he was already lying on the ground." And Dmitry Egorovich recalled: “I will never forget the brutal expression of his face, when, grinning, he answered the question that he was a samurai.” Deep indomitable hatred burned in his eyes ... "
The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun wrote about the incident: “a frightened retinue surrounded the heir in an instant, the bed was quickly prepared in the home of the owner of a haberdashery shop. However, the heir refused to go to bed; he was seated at the entrance to the store and bandaged, while he quietly smoked. ”
It is known that when Prince Arisugawa Takehito approached Nicholas, he said: "This is nothing, if only the Japanese would not think that this incident could somehow change my feelings for them and my appreciation for their kindness."
People on the street in Otsu
Doctors examined the heir to the throne. He received several wounds to the head and arm that were not life threatening. Here are just doctors from a fronto-parietal wound removed a piece of bone, whose length was about two and a half centimeters. Nikolai was calm and serious. After dressing, he got into the carriage and went with his retinue to the governor’s house. And from there - already in Kyoto. Doctors, representatives of the Japanese government and Orthodox bishop Nikolai Kasatkin arrived in the same city. Emperor Meiji, together with his wife Haruko, sent a message to Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna, in which they apologized for the incident.
In general, Japan reacted very violently to the attack. The next day, the stock exchange, many schools, a kabuki theater and other public places were closed (brothels did lock locks on their doors for five days). The emperor himself, calling the incident "the greatest sadness", hurried to Kyoto to visit Nicholas. Meiji asked the crown prince not to interrupt the visit and visit Tokyo. But that did not happen. Alexander III decided not to take any more risks and ordered his son to return. And soon Nicholas arrived on the ship. Bishop Nikolai Kasatkin also asked the crown prince to linger in order to visit an Orthodox cathedral, whose construction ended up just in time for the heir to the throne. But Shevich insisted on an early departure, saying: “The incident occurred because of the carelessness of the government, although the Japanese government guaranteed the safety of the heir, it is unforgivable and it is not known what could happen in the future.”
On the ship, Nikolai celebrated his birthday. Among the guests were Japanese Foreign Minister Aoki Shuzo and Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa. They invited two rickshaws, which, one can say, saved the life of the crown prince. Nikolai handed them the order of St. Anne, and Alexander III ordered to pay impressive sums and appoint a lifetime pension.
Rickshaws of Princes George (Kita ити ити Ит, left) and Nicholas (Mukokhata Dzisaburo)
Visited the ship and the emperor of Japan. It was the first in stories the case when the monarch was boarded a foreign ship.
Nikolai and Meiji had breakfast together, as reported by the Government Gazette: “The breakfast then held was of a very hearty character. During breakfast, the Heir Tsesarevich drank for the health of the emperor and empress of Japan, to which the royal guest of His Highness was in charge of a toast for the Sovereign Emperor and Empress the Empress. At the end of breakfast, the Supreme Persons said goodbye in the most cordial way, and the emperor moved out of the frigate. ” On the same day, the Russian squadron headed for Vladivostok. Here is what Nikolai wrote to the ruler of the Land of the Rising Sun: “In parting, Your Majesty, I cannot express my genuine gratitude for the kind welcome from Your Majesty and your subjects. I will never forget the good feelings shown by Your Majesty and Empress. I deeply regret that I was not able to personally greet Her Majesty the Empress. My impressions of Japan are not obscured by anything. I deeply regret that I was unable to pay a visit to Your Majesty in the imperial capital of Japan. ”
Tsuda Sanzo's Fate
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan proposed to kill Sanzo, as they say, “without trial”. And then report that the offender died "as a result of the disease." But this proposal was rejected. They could not execute Sanzo (it was precisely this loophole that Shevich was trying to cover up with all his might), so he was sentenced to life penal servitude. Petersburg quite satisfied with this verdict. True, the criminal in prison stretched only a few months. He caught pneumonia and died at the end of September 1891.
Dmitry Yegorovich Shevich recalled Sanzo as “the purest copy of a desperate samurai fanatic with a wild kind of logic, developed by a one-sided understanding of the Chinese classics, the only educational material, the spirit of which he was imbued with, and reflections about himself, constantly looking in one direction, a man deeply hating foreigners proud and proud, under the guise of external humility, dreaming of great deeds and the change of his modest share of a simple policeman to a more important and honorable position, from the nature of the dark, stubborn, unsociable and focused ".
Shevich shared his thoughts about the main reason for the assassination attempt on Nicholas: “... his silence and hints from Tsud makes it clear that he considers the Emperor and the people to be humiliated by all these ovations, and once he even says that he is afraid to insult the Emperor”.
But they wrote in the Government Gazette: “Hate for strangers alone would not be enough reason for Tsuda Sanzo to take such a desperate step, especially since there was no shortage of cases for him to satisfy his bloody instincts, since Otsu and the lake Biwa is visited daily by numerous foreign tourists. On the other hand, letting the crime motive be hatred of Russians is positively impossible by the mere fact that there is no such hatred in Japan ... The Russians ... are the least displeased by the Japanese, firstly because of their small number qualities that distinguish them from other nations; for example, our sailors are extremely popular in Japanese ports, because they are generous and courteous to the natives ... with the exception of some very rare newspaper articles, not a single local newspaper in general reacted to the expected event of arrival ... Tsesarevich otherwise, quite sympathetically. Consequently, the villain, not excited by the press, rushed at the Tsarevich ...
Tsuda Sanzo deeply hated foreigners altogether. During the 8-year-old service of his own in the police, the protection of aliens intolerant to them was part of his duties. He was stern and unsociable, and his comrades speak of him as a man of gall and with wild instincts, although extremely attentive to his official duties.
The solemn meeting, rendered in Japan, in a completely exceptional form, to the Russian Tsesarevich, to whom imperial honors were given everywhere, and most importantly - the ovarian character of receiving the August Guest by the people themselves during the whole journey, has long been tormented by the ingrained samurai, who remembered, moreover, how, in his youthful years, this very people had a feeling of deep hatred towards strangers.
An enthusiastic reception in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, which was always distinguished by its anti-foreign fanaticism, accomplished a bitch in the soul of a criminal. He could not transfer the stories about the national greeting to Kyoto ... it desecrated the gloomy ascetic, and when he, in the morning of the fateful day, lined up in the ranks of his comrades, intended to guard ... he must have assumed his disgusting decision.
Here is the only logical explanation for the crime ... "
But Japanese historian Donald Keane has a different version. He believed that the attempted assassination of Sanzo pushed the fear of the return of Saigo Takamori. The same one that raised the Satsum uprising in 1877. According to the official version, he committed suicide after defeat. However, many were convinced that Takamori staged his own death. In fact, he fled to the Russian Empire. And now, having covered Nicholas with a visit, he returned to Japan to take revenge. The fact is that Sanzo took part in those hostilities. During the interrogation, he admitted that he wanted to carry out attacks even during his visit to the monument by the crown prince, to the dead soldiers during the uprising. Then Sanzo was also in a cordon. And he, watching the foreigners, considered that they were too free and relaxed to behave near the monument, without showing proper respect. Tsuda was also sure that Nikolai was a spy who was trying to scout the situation before the attack on Japan. But then Sanzo did not dare to attack. He did not know exactly what Nikolai looked like and was afraid to confuse him with Georg.
The historian Alexander Mescheryakov wrote: “as it appears from his testimony, there were serious mental problems ... The former samurai wanted to solve his internal problems by channeling his complex towards foreigners, that is, he acted in accordance with what he was taught in childhood, when the slogan "Exile of foreigners" enjoyed particularly great popularity. And now the militarist-nationalist sentiments are gaining strength again ... "
There was, by the way, another version. Some researchers believed that Sanzo attacked Nicholas because he did not take off his shoes when he visited a Buddhist temple. And, thereby, defiled the relic.
The Japanese press, of course, reacted violently to the attack. For the most part, all the articles boiled down to the fact that Sanzo committed a terrible act that cast a shadow over Japan. All the relatives of Tsuda became outcasts, and in his native village there was even a ban on these names and surnames. Some even suggested renaming Otsu to permanently erase the attack from the memory. And one Japanese woman committed suicide to wash off the shame with her blood.
In general, the Japanese tried in every way to apologize for the act of Tsuda and "throughout Japan, the Bonzes and Shinto priests performed public prayers for the Tsarevich's recovery ...". Then a chapel was erected in Otsu, and a memorial monument was erected near the site of the attack. The conflict has been settled.
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It is curious that for a long time it was believed that the attack on Nicholas was the main cause of the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905. But this opinion is quite controversial. Logically, the first to attack was the Russian Empire, not Japan.
In general, Nikolai assured his entourage that the attacks had no effect on his attitude towards the Japanese. But Sergei Y. Witte was of a different opinion: “Therefore, it is clear that Emperor Nicholas, when he ascended the throne, could not relate to the Japanese particularly benevolently, and when people appeared who began to represent Japan and the Japanese as a nation extremely unattractive, insignificant and weak, then this view of Japan was especially easily perceived by the emperor, and therefore the emperor always treated the Japanese contemptuously. ” Witte also recalled that Nikolai often called the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun "macaques".
Monument in the city of Otsu, installed near the site of the attack
Historian Peter Podalko believes that “the attack on Nicholas II in his youth ... could not leave him unpleasant memories. And immediately followed by the apologies of the Japanese, orientally stormy and somewhere even excessively “subservient”, could raise in the soul of the future emperor doubts about their sincerity and cause a feeling of some neglect and “unseriousness” in relation to this country ... He believed that Japan will never dare to attack Russia first. ”