Jules Brunet (2 January 1838
â 12 August 1911) was a French officer who
played an active role in Mexico and Japan, and later
became a General and Chief of Staff of the French Army in
Brunet was a member of the first French military mission to be sent to
the Empire of
Japan in order to help modernize the armies of the
born in Belfort, in Alsace (today in
the Franche-ComtÃ© region of eastern France). He graduated from the
Polytechnique in 1857, where he specialized in artillery.
Jules Brunet first participated in the French intervention in Mexico
(1862-1867) sent by Napoleon
, where he received the LÃ©gion d'honneur
. He then arrived in
, in the beginning of 1867, as a
member of the first French Military Mission
First French Military Mission to Japan
The military mission was able to train the army of Shogun Tokugawa
for a little more than one year, before the Tokugawa shogunate
lost to the Imperial
forces in 1868 in the Boshin War
French military mission was then ordered to leave Japan by Imperial
However, Jules Brunet chose to remain. He resigned from the French
army, and left for the North of Japan with the remains of the
Shogunate's armies in the hope of staging a counter-attack. In a
letter to Napoleon III
, Jules Brunet
explained the plan of the Alliance, as well as his role in
The Boshin War
The French military advisers and their
Japanese allies in Hokkaido.
Jules Brunet took a very active role during the Boshin War
, between partisans of the Shogun, with
whom Brunet sided, and partisans of the restoration of Emperor Meiji
. Jules and Cazenave were present
at the Battle of
. They left Osaka and returned to Edo on 12
January, together with Enomoto
onboard the Fujisan
. Enomoto was bringing
with him various documents, objects, and a treasure of 180,000
ryos, from Osaka castle.
They arrived in Edo on 14 January.
After the fall of Edo, he fled north with Enomoto Takeaki
, and helped set up the
, with the leader of the
Japanese shogunate's navy, Enomoto Takeaki, as the President. He
also helped organize the defense of HokkaidÅ in the Battle of Hakodate
. Troops were
structured under a hybrid Franco-Japanese leadership, with Otori
Keisuke as Commander-in-chief, and Jules Brunet as second in
command. Each of the four brigades were commanded by a French
), with eight
Japanese commanders as second in command of each
stand occurred in the northern island of HokkaidÅ, in the city of Hakodate,
where in June 1869, the shogunate forces lost a final battle between 800 shogunate
soldiers and an 8000-strong Imperial army.
In an interesting postscript to his involvement in the Boshin War,
Brunet spoke highly of Shinsengumi vice-commander Hijikata Toshizo
in his memoirs. Praising
Hijikata's ability as a leader, he said that if the man had been in
Europe, he most certainly would have been a general.
Brunet, with the rest of the French soldiers, was evacuated by the
French corvette CoÃ«tlogon, commanded by Dupetit-Thouars, and then transferred
to the Dupleix in
Yokohama on which he was transported to Saigon.
Jules Brunet in 1890.
Saigon he sailed to France onboard a commercial cruiser.
Benefitting from popular support for his actions in Japan, Jules
Brunet did not receive judgement, in spite of the Japanese request.
He was quickly rehabilitated by the time of the Franco-Prussian War
(1870-1871), but was
taken prisoner by the Germans at the Siege
. After the war, he played a key role as a member of the
Versailles Army in the suppression of the Paris insurrection of
In May 1881 and again in March 1885, Jules Brunet received medals
from the Meiji Emperor
, which were
given to him at the Japanese Embassy in Paris. It seems his former
ally Enomoto Takeaki
, then Minister
of the Imperial Japanese
, played a key role in this late recognition.
Jules Brunet rose to the position of General and Chief of Staff of
the French army ("Chef d'Etat Major") under the Minister of War
senior officer at the French Military mission in Japan) thirty
years later in 1898.
Jules Brunet was partly the inspiration for the character of Nathan
Algren in the 2003 movie The Last
Drawing and paintings by Jules Brunet
Jules Brunet was a talented painter who left numerous depictions of
his travels in Mexico and
Japan.Image:ChogeiJapaneseSailors1867.JPG|Japanese sailors on the
, 13 May
Infantry (Osaka, 29 April 1867).Image:BakufuTroopsIn1867.JPG|Bakufu troops
Fuji in 1867.
- å½é¤¨ã®å¹æ«ã»ç¶æ° p.9
- "Jules Brunet: this officer, member of the French military
mission, sent to Japan as an artillery instructor, joined, after
the defeat of the Shogun,
the rebellion against Imperial troops, serving as an inspiration
for the hero of the Last Samurai." Monthly Letter of the
French Chamber of Commerce in Japan, p.9 "Diner des sempais en
compagnie de M.Christian Polak. Monthly Letter of the French Chamber of Commerce in
Japan, p.9 "Diner des sempais en compagnie de M.Christian
- Le dernier samouraÃ¯ Ã©tait un capitaine franÃ§ais ("The
Last Samurai was a French captain"), Samedi, 6 mars 2004, p. G8, Le
Soleil. Quoting Christian Polak about The Last Samurai
- Polak, Christian. (1988).
å½é¤¨ã®å¹æ«ã»ç¶æ° "End of the Bakufu and Restoration in Hakodate." ISBN
4-12-001699-4 (in Japanese).
- __________. (2001). Soie et lumiÃ¨res: L'Ã¢ge d'or des
Ã©changes franco-japonais (des origines aux annÃ©es 1950).
Tokyo: Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie FranÃ§aise du
Japon, Hachette Fujin GahÅsha
- __________. (2002). çµ¹ã¨å
: ç¥ããããæ¥ä»äº¤æµ100å¹´ã®æ´å² (æ±æ¶æä»£-1950å¹´ä»£)
Kinu to hikariÅ: shirarezaru Nichi-Futsu kÅryÅ« 100-nen no
rekishi (Edo jidai-1950-nendai). Tokyo: Ashetto Fujin GahÅsha,
2002. 10-ISBN 4-573-06210-6; 13-ISBN 978-4-573-06210-8; OCLC