Year. Month. Day
Year. Month. Day
Ieyasu is appointed shogun (Hane 491)
The system of alternate attendance of daimyo in Edo is introduced (Hane 491)
The Shimabara Rebellion (Hane 491)
The nation is closed to the outside world (Hane 491)
A Russian vessel arrives in Hokkaido asking for commercial relations (Hane 491)
An edict to drive off foreign vessels is issued (Hane 491)
Saigo Takamori (Kichinosuke) born
Shimada Kai born (year from wikipedia) in Ogaki Han. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 33)
Katsu Kaishu born only son of a petty samurai in Edo (
Inoue Genzaburo born in Hino, the fourth son of a samurai.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 29)
Serizawa Kamo born in Mito Han, youngest son of a samurai.
(Hillsborough Shinsengumi 30)
Emperor Komei born

Teruhime (Matsudaira Teru) born
[discrepancy] Feb. 1: Teruhime born to Hoshina Masamoto of Kazusa Iino-han. (check date—converted with

The Tempo famine (Hane 491)

Yamanami Keisuke born in Sendai Han, second son of the
chief fencing instructor. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 29)

Yamazaki Susumu born "was from" Osaka. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 33)
Kido Takayoshi (Katsura Kogoro) born
Miyagawa Katsugorou (later Kondou Isami) born in Kami'ishihara, third
and youngest son of a peasant family. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 21)
Takeda Kanryuusai born
Ryoma Sakamoto born in the castle-town of Kochi, Tosa (Hillsborough Ryoma)
Suzuki Ookura Takeakira (Itou Kashitaro Takeakira) born 
Hijikata Toshizo born youngest son of a Tama farmer.
Hijikata (age 11) apprentices at Matsuzaka'ya, a merchant in Edo.
Hijikata (age 16) plants arrow bamboo behind his house and vows
"to become a samurai." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 25-26)

Matsudaira Katamori born 

[discrepancy] Dec. 29: Matsudaira Katamori born (6th son) in the Edo-Yotsuya upper mansion (kami-yashiki) of 30,000-koku Mino-Takasu han, to Settsu no Kami Yoshitatsu. Katamori’s childhood name was Keinosuke (Remembering Aizu, p. 8, Matsudaira Katamori no Subete 233, 248)

Nakajima Nobori born
Kojima Shirou (Shiro) (Sagara Souzou/Sozo) born  
China and Great Britain fight the first Opium War. See The Rainy Day Woman's Romance With the Bakumatsu and Meiji Government. The fear that opium would enter Japan was a motivating factor in the use and redefinition of sonno joi.
1839.5.11 ?

Nagakura Shinpachi born in the Matsumae residence in Edo the only son of a samurai from that clan. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 29) (some say Sept. 12)

Takasugi Shinsaku born in the castle-town of Hagi, Choshu (
Harada Sanosuke born in Matsuyama Han. (Hillsborough
Shinsengumi 30)

Okita Souji born??? born at the Shirakawa residence in Edo, eldest son
of a samurai. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 28)

Toudou Heisuke born. "He claimed to be the illegitimate son
of the outside Lord of Tsu Han. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 30)

Yamaguchi Hajime (Saitou Hajime) born son of a retainer of the Matsudaira
of Akashi Han. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 30)
Dutch warships arrive in Nagasaki request the opening of Japan 
Emperor Komei rule begins

Katamori adopted by Aizu lord Higo no Kami Katataka.

Taken to Aizu’s upper mansion at Wadakura-mon, receives junior 4th rank lower grade, ji-juu and Wakasa no Kami titles. (Shiba 8, Matsudaira Katamori no Subete 248)

Nakano Takeko (Joushitai) born to Edo-based Aizu retainer Nakano Heinai and his wife Kouko.
Kondou (age 14) begins studying the Tennen Rishin style under
Kondou Shusuke, master of the Shieikan. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 23)
Kondou (age 15) was awarded mokuroku (second rank of Tennen
Rishin) and was adopted as Kondou Shusuke's heir. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 23)
1848 (Kaei 1) :: 1849 (Kaei 2) :: 1850 (Kaei 3) :: 1851 (Kaei 4) :: 1852 (Kaei 5)
Matsudaira Katamori becomes head of the Aizu-Matsudaira at age 18 
Mutsuhito (Prince Sachi, Sachi no miya) the future Meiji Emperor is born to Emperor Komei and Nakayama Yoshiko
1853 (Kaei 6)
Okita (age 9) apprentices at the Shieikan. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 28)

Commodore Perry's ships arrived in Yedo Bay (Uraga)
1853 July 8 Perry arrives in Edo Bay. (Hillborough Shinsengumi 5)

1853 Feb-March
Commodore Perry returned and signed a treaty of peace and amity with Japan The Treaty of Kanagawa is signed with the United States
1854 (Ansei 1) :: 1855 (Ansei 2)
Japan signs Treaty of Peace and Amity (aka Treaty of Kanagawa)
with U.S. enp.ding policy of isolationism. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 5)
Katsu Kaishu is recruited into government service (
1855.4.16 to 5.14
"the Court gave orders that the bells of all the Buddhist monasteries throughout the country should be melted down and cast into cannon and muskets, but the Princess of Chion-in and Rinnoji opposed the measures, and it was therefore abandoned." (Yamaguchi 6)

Katsu Kaishu and 26 other selected by the Bakufu sail to Nagasaki to study at a Naval Academy there; he studied there for two and a half years (

discrepency? (May-June Gregorian calendar) "Katsu (Awa-no-kami) was despatched to Nagasaki to learn from the Dutch how to manage steam-vessels." (Yamaguchi 6)

Ansei Earthquake the text noted a range of dates 11.9-12.7 "a great earthquake occurred in the eastern provinces. It was felt most violently in Ydo, where one hundred and four thousand persons lost their lives." (Yamaguchi 6)
1856 (Ansei 3)
Townsend Harris first U.S. Consul-general landed at Shimoda 
China and Great Britain and France fight the second Opium War (Arrow War). See The Rainy Day Woman's Romance With the Bakumatsu and Meiji Government. The fear that opium would enter Japan was a motivating factor in the use and redefinition of sonno joi.
Okita (age 12) wins match against the fencing instructor
of the Lord of Shirakawa. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 28)
Nagakura (age 17) receives mokuroku rank in Shinto Munen
style. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 29)
The Bakufu had to rebuild the Mikado's palace (which was destroyed in a fire the previous year) as well as other bakufu related locations. Unlike earlier times where other domains had to contribute to the effort, the bakufu greatly depleted its own treasury. Many domains were occupied with manning and maintaining other garrisons. (Yamaguchi 7)
"A great storm [believed to be a tsunami] occurred in the eastern provinces ... and more than a hundred thousand persons lost their lives at Yedo." (Yamaguchi 7)
1857 (Ansei 4)
Townsend Harris arrived in Yedo and had an audience with the Shogun calling for unrestricted trade between merchants from both countries in all articles except gold and cereal. The Bakufu sent a representative to Kyoto to obtain Imperial sanction. The Imperial court soon became divided. (Yamaguchi 10)
Ryoma appointed head of the Chiba dojo in Edo
1858 (Ansei 5)
Commercial Treaty with Five Nations
Ii Naosuke is appointed great councillor or Bakufu Regent (Hane 491) 
Ii Naosuke puts the Lords of Mito, Owari, and Fukui under house arrest for trying to stand up against the Bakufu; Lord Yoshinobu was banned from entering Edo Castle (Hillsborough Ryoma 24)
Ii Naosuke authorizes commercial treaty without Imperial permission (Hillsborough Ryoma 19)

Ii Naosuke authorizes commercial treaty without Imperial permission (Hillsborough Ryoma19) Shortly afterward, the 12 year old Lord of Kii (Tokugawa Iemochi) is selected successor of the Tokugawa regime since Shogun Iesada is mentally unfit for the position.

"Ii Kamon-no-kami began to think that if, in the presence of these constant arrivals of foreigners of different nations, he were to wait for the Kioto people to make up their minds, some unlucky accident might bring the same disasters upon Japan as China had already experienced. He therefore concluded a treaty at Kanagawa, and affixed his seal to it, after which he reported the transaction to Kioto." (Yamaguchi 11) Russians, English and French soon entered in similar contracts as the Americans.

Mito han grows increasingly upset with the treaties and lack of respect shown to the Emperor.

"...and epidemic of cholera spread throughout the land, and about 30,000 persons died in Yedo alone." (Yamaguchi 11)
Shogun Tokugawa Iesada died after 5 years as Shogun ( Some say he was killed in order to avoid any conflicts with people that Iemochi wasn't the true Shogun
1859 (Ansei 6)
Yoshida Shoin of Choshu who was imprisoned since 1854 felt the Bakufu should expel the barbarians and plotted to assassinate Manabe Shimosa-no-kami (Yamaguchi 16-17)
Okita (age 15) becomes assistant instructor at the Shieikan. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 28-29)
1859 spring
Lord Yamanouchi Yodo of Tosa is placed under house arrest in his villa in Edo and forced into retirement later that spring (Hillsborough Ryoma 40)
1859 spring
Hijikata officially enrolls at the Shieikan. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 28)
Yokohama, Nagasaki and Hakodate opened to foreign trade 
discrepancy "Kanagawa, Nagasaki and Hakodate were opened in the summer of this year, and permission was given to Japanese and foreign subjects to trade with each other." (Yamaguchi 17)
1860 (Mannen 1)
1860 End of March
Kondou (age 26) marries Otsune, daughter of a retainer of the Shimizu family. (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 24)

Katsu Kaishu is given permission to sail overseas with a small crew aboard the Kanrinmaru, they head to San Francisco and back; this was the first time a ship under Tokugawa rule had made such a trip (

Accompanying them were Nakahama "John/Joe" Manjiro and Fukuzawa Yukichi.

Shogunate sends ambassadors to the United States (Powhatan ship) [1] [2]
Sakarada Gate Incident: Ii Naosuke "...assassinated by a band of swordsmen - seventeen from Mito, one from Satsuma - as his palanquin approached Sakurada Gate of Edo Castle." (Hillsborough Shinsengumi 9)
Bakufu officials offer to expel all the "barbarians" IF the Imperial Court aggress to a marriage between Shogun Iemochi (14 years) and Princess Kazu (13 years; Emperor Komei's younger sister) (Hillsborough Ryoma 42) This proposition is later known as the Union of Court and Camp (Hillsborough Ryoma 48) The marriage is arranged and the Princess moves to Edo Castle.