Satsuma Domain (薩摩藩 Satsuma-han), officially Kagoshima Domain, was a Japanese domain of the Edo period. It is associated with the provinces of Satsuma, Ōsumi and Hyūga in modern-day Kagoshima Prefecture and Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū.
In the han system, Satsuma was a political and economic abstraction based on periodic cadastral surveys and projected agricultural yields. In other words, the domain was defined in terms of kokudaka, not land area. This was different from the feudalism of the West.
The Shimazu family controlled Satsuma province for roughly four centuries prior to the beginning of the Edo period. Despite being chastised by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in his 1587 Kyūshū Campaign, and forced back to Satsuma, they remained one of the most powerful clans in the archipelago. During the decisive battle of Sekigahara in 1600, the Shimazu fought on the losing side. Satsuma was one of the most powerful feudal domains in Tokugawa Japan. It was controlled throughout the Edo period by the tozama daimyō of the Shimazu clan.
Since the mid-15th century, Satsuma fought with the Ryukyu Kingdom for control of the Northern Ryukyu Islands, which lie southwest of Japan. In 1609, Shimazu Iehisa requested permission from the shogunate to invade Ryukyu. After a three-month war which met stiff resistance, Satsuma captured the Ryukyuan capital of Shuri and King Shō Nei. In the ensuing peace treaty, Satsuma annexed the Amami and Tokara Islands, demanded tribute, and forced the King and his descendants to pledge loyalty to Satsuma's daimyō.
For the remainder of the Edo period, Satsuma influenced their politics and dominated their trading policies to take advantage of Ryukyu's tributary status with China. As strict maritime prohibitions were imposed upon much of Japan beginning in the 1630s, Satsuma's ability to enjoy a trade in Chinese goods, and information, via Ryukyu, provided it a distinct and important, if not entirely unique, role in the overall economy and politics of the Tokugawa state. The degree of economic benefits enjoyed by Satsuma, and the degree of their influence in Ryukyu, are subjects debated by scholars, but the political prestige and influence gained through this relationship is not questioned. The Shimazu continually made efforts to emphasize their unique position as the only feudal domain to claim an entire foreign kingdom as its vassal, and engineered repeated increases to their own official Court rank, in the name of maintaining their power and prestige in the eyes of Ryukyu.
In 1871, however, Emperor Meiji abolished the Han system, and the following year informed King Shō Tai that he was designated "Domain Head of Ryukyu Domain", transferring Satsuma's authority over the country to Tokyo.
Though not the wealthiest han in terms of kokudaka (the official measure of the wealth and therefore power of a han, measured in koku), Satsuma remained among the wealthiest and most powerful domains throughout the Edo period. This derived not only from their connection to Ryukyu, but also from the size and productive wealth of Satsuma province itself, and from their extreme distance from Edo, and thus from the shōgun's armies.
The Shimazu exercised their influence to exact from the shogunate a number of special exceptions. Satsuma was granted an exception to the shogunate's limit of one castle per domain, a policy which was meant to restrict the military strength of the domains; the Shimazu then formed sub-fiefs within their domain, and doled out castles to their vassals, administering the domain in a manner not unlike a mini-shogunate. They also received special exceptions from the shogunate in regard to the policy of sankin-kōtai, another policy meant to restrict the wealth and power of the daimyō. Under this policy, every feudal lord was mandated to travel to Edo at least once a year, and to spend some portion of the year there, away from his domain and his power base. The Shimazu were granted permission to make this journey only once every two years. These exceptions thus allowed Satsuma to gain even more power and wealth relative to the majority of other domains.
Though arguably opposed to the shogunate, Satsuma was perhaps one of the strictest domains in enforcing particular policies. Christian missionaries were seen as a serious threat to the power of the daimyō, and the peace and order of the domain; the shogunal ban on Christianity was enforced more strictly and brutally in Satsuma, perhaps, than anywhere else in the archipelago. The ban on smuggling, perhaps unsurprisingly, was not so strictly enforced, as the domain gained significantly from trade performed along its shores, some ways away from Nagasaki, where the shogunate monopolized commerce. In the 1830s, Satsuma used its illegal Okinawa trade to rebuild its finances under Zusho Hirosato.
The Satsuma daimyō of the 1850s, Shimazu Nariakira, was very interested in Western thought and technology, and sought to open the country. At the time, contacts with Westerners increased dramatically, particularly for Satsuma, as Western ships frequently landed in the Ryukyus and sought not only trade, but formal diplomatic relations. To increase his influence in the shogunate, Nariakira engineered a marriage between Shōgun Tokugawa Iesada and his adopted daughter, Atsu-hime (later Tenshō-in).
In 1854, the first year of Iesada's reign, Commodore Perry landed in Japan and forced an end to the isolation policy of the shogunate. However, the treaties signed between Japan and the western powers, particularly the Harris Treaty of 1858, put Japan at a serious disadvantage. In the same year, both Iesada and Nariakira died. Nariakira named his nephew, Shimazu Tadayoshi, as his successor. As Tadayoshi was still a child, his father, Shimazu Hisamitsu, effectively held the power in Satsuma.
Hisamitsu followed a policy of Kōbu gattai, or "unity between the shogunate and the imperial court". The marriage between Tokugawa Iemochi, the next shōgun, and imperial princess Kazunomiya was a major success for this faction. However, this put Satsuma at odds with the more radical Sonnō jōi, or "revere the Emperor and repel the barbarians" faction, with Chōshū as the major supporter.
In 1862, in the Namamugi Incident an Englishman was killed by retainers of Satsuma, leading to the bombardment of Kagoshima by the Royal Navy the following year. Even though Satsuma was able to withstand the attack, this event showed how necessary it was for Japan to import western technology and reform its military.
Meanwhile, the focus of Japanese politics shifted to Kyoto, where the major struggles of the time occurred. The shogunate entrusted Satsuma and Aizu with the protection of the Imperial court, against attempts of the Sonnō jōi faction to take over, as in the Kinmon Incident of 1864. The shogunate decided to punish Chōshū for this event with the First Chōshū expedition, under the leadership of a Satsuma retainer, Saigō Takamori. Saigō, however, avoided a military conflict and allowed Chōshū to resolve the issue with the Seppuku of the three perpetrators behind the attack on the Imperial palace.
When the shogunate decided to finally defeat Chōshū in a Second Chōshū expedition the next year, Satsuma, under the lead of Saigo Takamori and Ōkubo Toshimichi, decided to switch sides. The Satchō Alliance between Satsuma and Chōshū was brokered by Sakamoto Ryōma from Tosa.
This second expedition ended in a disaster for the shogunate. It was defeated on the battlefield, and Shōgun Iemochi died of illness in Osaka Castle. The next shōgun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, brokered a cease fire.
Despite attempts by the new shōgun to reform the government, he was unable to contain the growing movement to overthrow the shogunate led by Satsuma and Chōshū. Even after he stepped down as shōgun and agreed to return the power to the Imperial court, the two sides finally clashed in the Battle of Toba–Fushimi 1868. The shōgun, defeated, escaped to Edo. Saigo Takamori then led his troops to Edo, where Tenshō-in was instrumental in the bloodless surrender of Edo castle. The Boshin War continued until the last of the shogunate forces were defeated in 1869.
The Meiji government, which was established in the aftermath of these events, was largely dominated by politicians from Satsuma and Chōshū. Though the samurai class, domain system, and much of the political and social structures surrounding these were abolished shortly afterwards, figures from these two areas dominated the Japanese government roughly until World War I.
However, the beginning of the period was marked by growing discontent of the former samurai class, which erupted in the Satsuma Rebellion under Saigo Takamori in 1877.
The hereditary daimyōs were head of the clan and head of the domain.
|1||Shimazu Iehisa (島津家久)||1602–1638|
|2||Shimazu Mitsuhisa (島津光久)||1638–1687|
|3||Shimazu Tsunataka (島津綱貴)||1687–1704|
|4||Shimazu Yoshitaka (島津吉貴)||1704–1721|
|5||Shimazu Tsugutoyo (島津継豊)||1721–1746|
|6||Shimazu Munenobu (島津宗信)||1746–1749|
|7||Shimazu Shigetoshi (島津重年)||1749–1755|
|8||Shimazu Shigehide (島津重豪)||1755–1787|
|9||Shimazu Narinobu (島津斉宣)||1787–1809|
|10||Shimazu Narioki (島津斉興)||1809–1851|
|11||Shimazu Nariakira (島津斉彬)||1851–1858|
|11||Shimazu Tadayoshi (島津忠義)||1858–1871|
Meiji period statesmen and diplomats
Marshal Admiral Baron Ijūin Gorō (伊集院 五郎, 29 September 1852 – 13 January 1921) was a Meiji-period career officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy.Itō Sukeyuki
Marshal-Admiral Count Itō Sukeyuki (伊東 祐亨, Itō Sukeyuki; also known as Itō Yūkō) (20 May 1843 – 16 January 1914) was a Japanese career officer and admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy in Meiji-period Japan.Japanese warship Kasuga
Kasuga Maru (春日丸, Vernal Sun) was a Japanese wooden paddle steamer warship of the Bakumatsu and early Meiji period, serving with the navy of Satsuma Domain, and later with the fledgling Imperial Japanese Navy. She was originally named Keangsoo, and was a wooden dispatch vessel built for the Imperial Chinese Navy. She was constructed in 1862 by Whites at Cowes, she formed part of the Lay-Osborn Flotilla during the Taiping Rebellion.Kabayama Sukenori
Count Kabayama Sukenori (樺山 資紀, 9 December 1837 – 8 February 1922) was a Japanese samurai military leader and statesman. He was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy. He later became the first Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan during the island's period as a Japanese colony. He is also sometimes referred to as Kabayama Motonori.Kagoshima
Kagoshima (鹿児島市, Kagoshima-shi, Japanese: [ka̠ɡo̞ɕima̠]) is the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture at the south western tip of the island of Kyushu in Japan, and the largest city in the prefecture by some margin. It has been nicknamed the "Naples of the Eastern world" for its bay location (Aira Caldera), hot climate, and emblematic stratovolcano, Sakurajima. The city was officially founded on April 1, 1889.Kaidā glyphs
Kaidā glyphs (Kaidā ji (カイダー字)) are a set of pictograms once used in the Yaeyama Islands of southwestern Japan. The word kaidā was taken from Yonaguni, and most studies on the pictographs focused on Yonaguni Island. However, there is evidence for their use in Yaeyama's other islands, most notably on Taketomi Island. They were used primarily for tax notices, thus were closely associated with the poll tax imposed on Yaeyama by Ryūkyū on Okinawa Island, which was in turn dominated by Satsuma Domain on Southern Kyushu.Kamimura Hikonojō
Baron Kamimura Hikonojō (上村 彦之丞, 1 May 1849 – 8 August 1916) was an early Japanese admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy, commanding the IJN 2nd Fleet during the Russo-Japanese War, most notably at the Battle off Ulsan and Tsushima.Kawakami Soroku
Viscount Kawakami Sōroku (川上 操六, 11 November 1848 – 11 May 1899), was a general and one of the chief military strategists in the Imperial Japanese Army during the First Sino-Japanese War.Kawamura Sumiyoshi
Count Kawamura Sumiyoshi (川村 純義, 18 December 1836 – 12 August 1904), was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Kawamura's wife Haru was the aunt of Saigō Takamori.Kuroda Kiyotaka
Count Kuroda Kiyotaka (黒田 清隆, 9 November 1840 – 23 August 1900), also known as Kuroda Ryōsuke (黒田 了介), was a Japanese politician of the Meiji era. He was Prime Minister of Japan from 1888 to 1889.Makino Nobuaki
Count Makino Nobuaki (牧野 伸顕, November 24, 1861 – January 25, 1949) was a Japanese statesman, active from the Meiji period through the Pacific War.Matsukata Masayoshi
Prince Matsukata Masayoshi (松方 正義, 25 February 1835 – 2 July 1924) was a Japanese politician who was Prime Minister of Japan from 1891 to 1892 and 1896 to 1898.Mishima Michitsune
Viscount Mishima Michitsune (三島 通庸, 26 June 1835 – 23 October 1888) was a vassal of the Satsuma Domain during the Late Tokugawa shogunate, Home Ministry bureaucrat and viscount. He is also commonly known as Yahei or Yahée (弥兵衞 Yahee).
His second daughter Mineko was married to Ōkubo Toshimichi's second son Makino Nobuaki. His son Yatarō Mishima was an eighth-generation custodian of the Bank of Japan, while his grandson Michiharu Mishima served as the fourth Chief Scout of the Scout Association of Japan.Narahara Shigeru
Baron Narahara Shigeru (奈良原 繁, 1834–1918), also known as Narahara Kogorō, was a Japanese politician of the Meiji period who served as the eighth governor of Okinawa Prefecture from 1892 to 1908, and in a number of other posts over the course of his career.
A samurai of Satsuma Domain prior to the Meiji Restoration, he played a role in opposing radical elements among his fellows, though he may also have been responsible for the killing of the Englishman Richardson in the 1862 Namamugi Incident, which led to the bombardment of Kagoshima and proved damaging to the Tokugawa shogunate.Nishi Tokujirō
Baron Nishi Tokujirō (西 徳二郎, September 4, 1847 – March 13, 1912) was a statesman and diplomat in Meiji period Japan.Saigō Takamori
Saigō Takamori (Takanaga) (西郷 隆盛 (隆永), January 23, 1828 – September 24, 1877) was one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history and one of the three great nobles who led the Meiji Restoration. Living during the late Edo and early Meiji periods, he has been dubbed the last true samurai. He was born Saigō Kokichi (西郷 小吉), and received the given name Takamori in adulthood. He wrote poetry under the name Saigō Nanshū (西郷 南洲). His younger brother was Gensui The Marquis Saigō Jūdō.Shimazu Hisamitsu
Prince Shimazu Hisamitsu (島津 久光, November 28, 1817 – December 6, 1887), also known as Shimazu Saburō (島津 三郎), was a Japanese samurai of the late Edo period. The younger brother of Shimazu Nariakira, Hisamitsu served as regent for his underage son Tadayoshi, who became the 12th and last daimyō of Satsuma Domain. Hisamitsu was instrumental in the efforts of the southern Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa clans to bring down the Tokugawa Shogunate. Hisamitsu held the court title of Ōsumi no Kami (大隈守).Three Great Nobles of the Restoration
In Japan, The Three Great Nobles of the Restoration are figures playing an important role in the Meiji Restoration. They are called Ishin no Sanketsu (維新の三傑, Three outstanding heroes in the restoration) in Japan.They are:
Ōkubo Toshimichi of the Satsuma Domain (Satsuma-han)
Saigō Takamori of the Satsuma Domain (Satsuma-han)
Kido Takayoshi (also known as Katsura Kogorō) of the Chōshū Domain (Chōshū-han)These three people died one after another between 1877 (Meiji 10) and 1878 (Meiji 11).Yamamoto Gonnohyōe
Admiral Count Yamamoto Gonbee , also called Gonnohyōe (山本 權兵衞, Yamamoto Gonbee/Gonnohyōe, 26 November 1852 – 8 December 1933), was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Prime Minister of Japan from 1913 to 1914 and again from 1923 to 1924.