Satsuma Province

Satsuma Province (薩摩国 Satsuma-no Kuni) was an old province of Japan that is now the western half of Kagoshima Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū.[1] Its abbreviation is Sasshū (薩州).

Provinces of Japan-Satsuma
Map of Japanese provinces (1868) with Satsuma Province highlighted


Tea Storage Jar with Paulownia and Thunder Pattern LACMA M.2007.130a-b
Satsuma earthenware tea storage jar (chatsubo) with paulownia and thunder pattern, late Edo period, circa 1800-1850

Satsuma's provincial capital was Satsumasendai. During the Sengoku period, Satsuma was a fief of the Shimazu daimyō, who ruled much of southern Kyūshū from their castle at Kagoshima city. They were the initial patrons of Satsuma ware, which was later widely exported to the West.

In 1871, with the abolition of feudal domains and the establishment of prefectures after the Meiji Restoration, the provinces of Satsuma and Ōsumi were combined to eventually establish Kagoshima Prefecture.

Satsuma was one of the main provinces that rose in opposition to the Tokugawa shogunate in the mid 19th century. Because of this, the oligarchy that came into power after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 had a strong representation from the Satsuma province, with leaders such as Ōkubo Toshimichi and Saigō Takamori taking up key government positions.

Satsuma is well known for its production of sweet potatoes, known in Japan as 薩摩芋 (satsuma-imo or "Satsuma potato"). On the other hand, Satsuma mandarins (known as mikan in Japan) do not specifically originate from Satsuma but were imported into the West through this province in the Meiji era.

Historical districts

  • Kagoshima Prefecture
    • Ata District (阿多郡) - merged into Hioki District on March 29, 1896
    • Ei District (頴娃郡) - merged into Ibusuki District (along with parts of Kiire District) on March 29, 1896
    • Hioki District (日置郡) - absorbed Ata District on March 29, 1896; now dissolved
    • Ibusuki District (揖宿郡) - absorbed Ei and parts of Kiire Districts on March 29, 1896; now dissolved
    • Isa District (囎唹郡)
      • Kitaisa District (北伊佐郡) - merged with Hishikari District (菱刈郡) of Ōsumi Province to become the 2nd incarnation of Isa District (伊佐郡) on March 29, 1896
      • Minamiisa District (東囎唹郡) - merged into Satsuma District (along with Koshikijima and Taki Districts) on March 29, 1896
    • Izaku District (伊作郡) - merged into Ata District prior the Meiji period
    • Izumi District (出水郡)
    • Kagoshima District (鹿児島郡) - absorbed Kitaōsumi District (北大隅郡) of Ōsumi Province and Taniyama District of Satsuma Province on March 29, 1896
    • Kawanabe District (川辺郡) - absorbed remaining parts of Kiire District (the village of Chiran) on March 29, 1896; now dissolved
    • Koshikijima District (甑島郡) - merged into Satsuma District (along with Minamiisa and Taki Districts) on March 29, 1896
    • Kiire District (給黎郡) - split and merged into Kawanabe and Ibusuki Districts on March 29, 1896
    • Satsuma District (薩摩郡) - absorbed Koshikijima, Minamiisa and Taki Districts on March 29, 1896
    • Taki District (高城郡) - merged into Satsuma District (along with Koshikijima and Minamiisa Districts) on March 29, 1896
    • Taniyama District (谿山郡) - merged into Kagoshima District (along with Kitaōsumi District of Ōsumi Province) on March 29, 1896

See also


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Satsuma" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 829, p. 829, at Google Books.


  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128

External links

Battle of Momotsugi

The Battle of Momotsugi was fought on October 9, 1539 when an army of the Iriki-in clan (loyal to Shimazu Takahisa) stormed the castle of Iwaya, aligned with the rival Shimazu Sanehisa.

Sanehisa had been the lord of Izumi castle in Satsuma province. He was a member of a branch family of the Shimazu. In 1526 he rebelled against Shimazu Katsuhisa and managed to expel him from Satsuma Province. Sanehisa attempted to establish himself as an independent power. With the clan's allegiance divided, Iriki-in Shigetomo remained loyal to Katsuhisa and his successor Takahisa.

Momotsugi Castle had been granted to the Iriki-in in 1536, motivating Shigetomo to capture it first since it was held by Sanehisa's forces. Shigetomo took the castle on a single night raid. The action earned Shigetomo's praise from his Lord Shimazu Takahisa.

Bombardment of Kagoshima

The Bombardment of Kagoshima, also known as the Anglo-Satsuma War (薩英戦争, Satsu-Ei Sensō), took place on 15–17 August 1863 during the Late Tokugawa shogunate. The Royal Navy was fired on from coastal batteries near the town of Kagoshima and in retaliation bombarded the town. The British were trying to extract a payment from the daimyō of Satsuma following the Namamugi Incident of 1862, in which British people were attacked (one killed, two wounded) by Satsuma samurai for not showing the proper respect for the daimyō's regent, Shimazu Hisamitsu.

Hyūga Province

Hyūga Province (日向国, Hyūga no kuni) was an old province of Japan on the east coast of Kyūshū, corresponding to the modern Miyazaki Prefecture. It was sometimes called Nisshū (日州) or Kōshū (向州). Hyūga bordered on Bungo, Higo, Ōsumi, and Satsuma Province.

The ancient capital was near Saito.

Isa District, Kagoshima

List of Provinces of Japan > Saikaido > Satsuma Province > Isa District

Japan > Kyūshū > Kagoshima Prefecture > Isa District

Isa (伊佐郡, Isa-gun) was a district located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

As of October 1, 2008, the district had a population of 8,952 with an area of 100.47 km².

The district's area is equivalent to the current city of Isa.

Until the day before the dissolution, the district had one town:

Hishikari (菱刈町)

Izumi District, Kagoshima

List of Provinces of Japan > Saikaidō > Satsuma Province > Izumi District

Japan > Kyūshū > Kagoshima Prefecture > Izumi District

Izumi (出水郡, Izumi-gun) is a district located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

The district contains one town.


Japanese battleship Satsuma

Satsuma (薩摩) was a semi-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the first decade of the 20th century. Lead ship of her class, she was the first battleship built in Japan. She was named for Satsuma Province, now a part of Kagoshima prefecture. The ship saw no combat during World War I, although she led a squadron that occupied several German colonies in the Pacific Ocean in 1914. Satsuma was disarmed and sunk as a target in 1922–24 in accordance with the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.


Jigen-ryū (示現流 lit: revealed reality) is a traditional school (koryū) of Japanese martial arts founded in the late 16th century by Tōgō Chūi (1561–1643), a.k.a. Tōgō Shigetaka, in Satsuma Province, now Kagoshima prefecture, Kyushu, Japan. It focuses mainly on the art of swordsmanship.

Jigen-ryū is known for its emphasis on the first strike: Jigen-ryū teachings state that a second strike is not even to be considered.The basic technique is to hold the sword in a high version of hasso-no-kamae called tonbo-no-kamae (蜻蛉構 Dragonfly Stance), with the sword held vertically above the right shoulder. The attack is then done by running forward at your opponent and then cutting diagonally down on their neck. The kiai is a loud "Ei!".

Traditionally this is practised using a long wooden stick, and cutting against a vertical pole, or even a real tree. During a hard practice, the wood is said to give off the smell of smoke. During the Edo period, at the height of its popularity, adepts of Jigen-ryū were said to practice striking the pole 3,000 times in the morning, and another 8,000 times in the afternoon. The style is also famous for his specific and impressive kiai they called Enkyō (monkey's scream).

The style is still taught at the Jigen-ryū practice hall in the city of Kagoshima.

Kagoshima Castle

Kagoshima Castle (鹿児島城, kagoshima jō), also known as Tsurumaru Castle, is a Japanese castle in Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

Kagoshima District, Kagoshima

Kagoshima (鹿児島郡, Kagoshima-gun) is a district located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

As of October 1, 2008, the district has an estimated Population of 1,087 and a Density of 8.19 persons/km². The total area is 132.71 km².

The district has two villages and both of them were islands within Oshima District. The district once located on the mainland is now entirely merged into the city of Kagoshima.



Kawanabe District, Kagoshima

Japan > Kagoshima Prefecture > Kawanabe District

Kawanabe (川辺郡, Kawanabe-gun) was a district located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

As of 2003, the district had an estimated population of 28,788 and a total area of 247.54 km².

The day before the dissolution on November 30, 2007, the district had two towns:

Chiran (知覧町, Chiran-chō)

Kawanabe (川辺町, Kawanabe-chō)On December 1, 2007, the towns of Chiran and Kawanabe, along with the town of Ei (from Ibusuki District), were merged to create the city of Minamikyūshū. Kawanabe District was dissolved as a result of this merger.

Morrison incident

The Morrison incident (モリソン号事件, Morison-gō Jiken) of 1837 occurred when the American merchant ship, Morrison headed by Charles W. King, was driven away from "sakoku" (isolationist) Japan by cannon fire. This was carried out in accordance with the Japanese Edict to Repel Foreign Vessels of 1825.

Satsuma Domain

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 domain was ruled from Kagoshima Castle, the core of what later became the city of Kagoshima. Its kokudaka was assessed at 770,000 koku, the second highest kokudaka after that of Kaga Domain.

Satsuma Peninsula

The Satsuma Peninsula (薩摩半島 Satsuma-hantō) is a peninsula which projects south from the southwest part of Kyūshū Island, Japan. To the west lies the East China Sea, while to the east it faces the Ōsumi Peninsula across Kagoshima Bay. Politically it belongs to Kagoshima Prefecture, and it includes the prefectural capital, Kagoshima City.

Near the southern tip of the peninsula is the 924-metre Mount Kaimon (Kaimon-dake) and the hot springs of Ibusuki Onsen.

Satsuma Rebellion

The Satsuma Rebellion or Seinan War (Japanese: 西南戦争, Hepburn: Seinan Sensō, lit. "Southwestern War") was a revolt of disaffected samurai against the new imperial government, nine years into the Meiji Era. Its name comes from the Satsuma Domain, which had been influential in the Restoration and became home to unemployed samurai after military reforms rendered their status obsolete. The rebellion lasted from January 29, 1877, until September of that year, when it was decisively crushed and its leader, Saigō Takamori, committed seppuku after being mortally wounded.

Saigō's rebellion was the last and most serious of a series of armed uprisings against the new government of the Empire of Japan, the predecessor state to modern Japan.

Satsuma ware

Satsuma ware (薩摩焼, Satsuma-yaki) is a type of Japanese pottery originally from Satsuma Province, southern Kyūshū. Today, it can be divided into two distinct categories: the original plain dark clay early Satsuma (古薩摩, Ko-Satsuma) made in Satsuma from around 1600, and the elaborately decorated export Satsuma (京薩摩, Kyō-Satsuma) ivory-bodied pieces which began to be produced in the nineteenth century in various Japanese cities. By adapting their gilded polychromatic enamel overglaze designs to appeal to the tastes of western consumers, manufacturers of the latter made Satsuma ware one of the most recognized and profitable export products of the Meiji period.

Shimazu Tadayoshi

Shimazu Tadayoshi (島津 忠良, October 14, 1493 – December 31, 1568) was a daimyō (feudal lord) of Satsuma Province during Japan's Sengoku period.

He was born to a branch family of the Shimazu clan, the Mimasaka Shimazu family (伊作島津家) but after his father Shimazu Yoshihisa died, his mother married Shimazu Unkyu of another branch family, the Soshū (相州家). Tadayoshi thus came to represent two families within the larger Shimazu clan.

Shimazu Katsuhisa, who presided over the Shimazu family, did not have a son and he was driven out by Shimazu Sanehisa, who was the head of yet another branch, the Sasshū (薩州家). Sanehisa then laid claim to be the head of the clan without being properly recognized by the rest of the families. Katsuhisa asked Tadayoshi for help to regain his position, and Tadayoshi sent his son Shimazu Takahisa to be adopted by Katsuhisa. In 1526, Katsuhisa handed over the position of the head of the family to Takahisa. In 1539 though, during the Battle of Ichirai, Tadayoshi defeated Katsuhisa (who would regain power later) and Takahisa came to be recognized by all members of the Shimazu clan as the head.

After Takahisa's succession, Tadayoshi retired to Kaseda in Satsuma Province. He held a great amount of power, trading with the Ryūkyū Kingdom and Ming-dynasty China. He also arranged for massive purchases of arquebuses to make the clan prosperous for the planned unification of Kyūshū by Takahisa.

Tadayoshi wrote an Iroha poem that sang of the importance of unity and also to give more literacy to his men. It begins with following words:

Inishie no Michi wo Kikitemo Tonaetemo Waga Okonai ni sezuba Kahinashi

いにしへの道を聞きても唱えへてもわが行いにせずばかひなしIt means, "Even if you learn old ways, if you cannot use them as your own, it is meaningless." It was based on Confucianism and his educational philosophy would deeply influence his four grandsons, Shimazu Yoshihisa, Shimazu Yoshihiro, Shimazu Toshihisa, and Shimazu Iehisa. This would eventually make its way into modern philosophies in the Meiji period as Satsuma han took part in modernizing Japan.

Tadayoshi called himself Shimazu Jisshinsai (島津日新斎) in later years and praised his four grandsons as "Yoshihisa the Leader", "Yoshihiro the Brave", "Toshihisa the Planner", "Iehisa the Tactician" and later as "Nisshin Dai Bosatsu", which will be greatly revered by Satsuma Samurai. Tadayoshi died in 1568 at the age of 77.

Shimazu Yoshihisa

Shimazu Yoshihisa (島津義久, February 9, 1533 – March 5, 1611) was a daimyō of Satsuma Province and the eldest son of Shimazu Takahisa. His mother was a daughter of Iriki'in Shigesato (入来院重聡), Sesshō (雪窓). Shimazu Yoshihiro and Shimazu Toshihisa are his brothers. He is said to have been born in Izaku Castle in 1535.His childhood name was Torajumaru (虎寿丸) but he went by the name of Matasaburō (又三郎). On his coming-of-age (genpuku), he took the name of Tadayoshi(忠良) but after receiving a kanji from the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshiteru, changed to Yoshitatsu (義辰). He later changed his name to Yoshihisa. He married his own aunt and after her death, married his relative, a daughter of Tanegashima Tokitaka.

In 1566, he succeeded his father as the head of Shimazu clan, becoming the clan's sixteenth leader. Working together with his brothers Yoshihiro, Toshihisa, and Shimazu Iehisa, he launched a campaign to unify Kyūshū. Starting in 1572 with the win against Itō clan at the battle of Kizaki, Yoshihisa would win victory after victory.

In 1578, he defeated the Ōtomo clan at the battle of Mimigawa, in 1583 against Ryūzōji clan, and on 1584 against the Aso clan. By the middle of the 1580s, the Shimazu clan controlled most of Kyūshū with the exception of Ōtomo's domain and a unification was not far into the future.

However, in 1587 Toyotomi Hideyoshi launched a campaign to pacify Kyūshū with an overwhelming force of over 200,000, at least five times the number under Yoshihisa's troops, and Shimazu troop was driven back to Satsuma province where they were forced to surrender. Most of domains they had conquered were divided by Hideyoshi and the Shimazu clan managed to retain only Satsuma Province and Ōsumi Province. Yoshihisa shaved his head to surrender showing that he would become a Buddhist monk if his life was spared. His name as a monk was Ryūhaku (龍伯) but it is unclear whether he retired to have Yoshihiro rule. As a retainer under Hideyoshi, his younger brother Yoshihiro controlled troops, but it is believed that Yoshihisa still managed day-to-day affairs in the domain. Yoshihisa did not have a son to succeed him, so he had Yoshihiro's son, Shimazu Tadatsune marry the third daughter Kameju (亀寿) and adopted him as the successor.

After Hideyoshi made decision on Yoshihisa's domain, Yoshihisa was invited by Tokugawa Ieyasu to Fushimi Castle. It is said that after asked repeatedly by Ieyasu and his retainers on how he almost unified Kyūshū, Yoshihisa finally relented and said "My three younger brothers led by Yoshihiro as well as retainers like Niiro Tadamoto fought so well united under the same goal, I never had a chance to show bravery in a battle. I only had to wait in the Kagoshima Castle for news brought by messengers of their victories." After Yoshihisa left, Ieyasu told his retainers that "(Yoshihisa had, as) a general let retainers under him work to the best of their abilities. This is how a great general should be."

He died of an illness in 1611. His posthumous name was 貫明存忠庵主. He was buried at what had once been the site of Fukushoji in Kagoshima and there is still a tombstone along with all other leaders of the clan. There are also monuments built in his memory at Kokubun city, Ima Kumano Kannonji (今熊野観音寺) in Kyoto, and Koyasan. There is no portrait of Yoshihisa remaining but in Taiheiji at Kawauchi, Kagoshima, there is a bronze figure of Yoshihisa of the surrender against Hideyoshi that was made after he died.

His knowledge of culture is not widely known but he had Hosokawa Yusai teach him classic literatures and Kampaku Konoe Wakihisa who was skilled in waka and renga was said to have frequented Yoshihisa's house.

Toyotomi Hidenaga

Toyotomi Hidenaga (豊臣 秀長, April 8, 1540 – February 15, 1591), formerly known as Hashiba Koichirō (羽柴 小一郎).

He was a half-brother of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the most powerful and significant warlords of Japan's Sengoku period. He was also known by his court title, Dainagon (大納言). He promoted Tōdō Takatora to chief engineer. He led Hideyoshi's vanguard force a few years later into Satsuma Province, contributing heavily to his half-brother's victories in gaining control of Kyūshū. Hidenaga was awarded the provinces of Kii, Izumi and Yamato, reaching a governance of one million koku.

He was regarded as Hideyoshi's brain and right-arm. He died in Kōriyama, Yamato Province (now Nara Prefecture), and his tomb is called Dainagon-zuka (大納言塚).

He took part in the 1582 Battle of Yamazaki, the Invasion of Shikoku (1585), and the 1587 Battle of Takajo, Battle of Sendaigawa and Siege of Kagoshima.

Ōsumi Province

Ōsumi Province (大隅国, Ōsumi no Kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today the eastern part of Kagoshima Prefecture. It was sometimes called Gūshū (隅州). Ōsumi bordered on Hyūga and Satsuma Provinces.

Osumi's ancient capital was near modern Kokubu. During the Sengoku and Edo periods, Ōsumi was controlled by the Shimazu clan of neighboring Satsuma and did not develop a major administrative center.

The Ōsumi region has developed its own distinct local dialect. Although Ōsumi is part of Kagoshima Prefecture today, this dialect is different from that spoken in the city of Kagoshima. There is a notable cultural pride in traditional poetry written in Ōsumi and Kagoshima dialects.

Japan's first satellite, Ōsumi, was named after the province.

Pre-Taihō Code


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