On April 26, 1874, Lieutenant General Saigō Tsugumichi, the commander of an impending Japanese invasion to Taiwan, was ordered by the Meiji government to withhold the expedition at the last moment, but he defied his political leaders and invaded the island. This article explores what circumstances led Saigō to disobey and how his decision indirectly helped to shape the legal and institutional basis for the later autonomy of the Japanese army. This autonomy engendered in turn a culture of military disobedience that haunted the imperial armed forces up to the 1930s.
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© 2016 Society for Japanese Studies.