Biwa Nikki

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  • Japanese: 琵琶日記 (Biwa nikki)

The Biwa nikki or "Biwa Diary" is a collection of notes and stories written in 1912 by Takigai Tatsugorô, based on things told him by his father, Uhachirô (1843-1923), a retainer of the Ii clan of Hikone han. The diary serves as a valuable source of information on the daily life of a mid-ranking retainer spanning the Bakumatsu and Meiji eras.

The Takigai family is known for their role in providing teppô (firearms) to the Ii clan, and the diary contains descriptions of the defensive batteries at Osaka, as well as of the experience of traveling to Edo on a sankin kôtai mission. Uhachirô also makes mention of a trip to Nagasaki to acquire weapons to provide to the domain, and of Hikone's lack of involvement in the 1868 Battle of Toba-Fushimi, as well as of Hikone's efforts at the modernization of the domain's defenses.

The diary went unknown until 2010, when it first came to the attention of researchers. The Takigai family home was named an important cultural property by the city of Hikone the following year, and research on the diary remains ongoing.