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The Land of Fire - Satsuma ( Kagoshima )
of the True Last Samurai
Where is Kagoshima ?
Coat of Arms of the Shimazu
The Satsuma Domain, or Satsuma-han - 嶧杸斔, or also called Shimazu-han丂亅丂搰捗斔 owned
the provinces which could produce officially 770,000 koku of rice. It owned the province of Satsuma
in the Satsuma peninsula, and the province of Oosumi in the Oosumi peninsula, and a small land
in the province of Hyuga.
The Shimazu was a powerful daimyo from Kamakura period. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered
all the daimyo in the Kyushu Island to stop war in the name of the emperor, the Shimazu did not
stopped its expanding military activities and advanced northward, threatening the territory of the
powerful Ootomo Sorin in the northern region of Kyushu. All Kyushu was almost conquered by the
Otomo Sorin was a Christian warlord by the name of Don Francisco. He asked Toyotomi
Hideyoshi to help him detain the advance of the Shimazu clan. Hideyoshi sent large troops and
crushed the Satsuma troops in 1587 and the Satsuwa clan surrendered. All the Kyushu Island
has been pacified by Hideyoshi.
Hideyoshi did not punish Shimazu Yoshihiro. Instead, he recognized the original territoty of the
Shimazu clan with 600,000 koku, although the Satsuma clan had to return the newly conquered
In the battle of Sekigahara in the year 1600, the Satsuma-han took the side of the West Camp.
When the East camp was defeated, his troop broke through among the enemies near the
headquarters of Ieyasu and returned back to Satsuma. His reckless courage became well-
known for this military operation. Once again, his domains were not confiscated by Ieyasu
due to his appropriate apology and some diplomacy.
Ieyasu did not want to distroy the large clans, because it would bring about the imbalance of
powers, causing massive unemployment and social inestability. He abolished many small
and medium clans for one reason or another trying to find fault with them.
In 1609, Ieyasu, already as a a shogun, ordered Lord Shimazu Yoshihisa to attack the
Kingdom of Ryukyu ( Okinawa ), because the kingdom of Ryukyu was far away from Edo and
close to Satsuma. The Kindgdom of Ryukyu, or " the Kingdom of Courtesy " was easily defeated
very soon by the Satsuma clan, as It had almost no military power.
The Shimazu-han surveyed the land of the Ryukyu Islands to collect tax. Ieyasu permitted the
Shimazu-han to control the Kingdom. The Ryukyu Islands with 120,000 koku were added to the
Shimazu domains. The Kindgom of Ryukyu was forced to pretend to be a trubutary country of
China of Grear Ming Dynasty. The commerce with China was only possible as a tributary country
of China. The Kingdom of Ryukyu belonged actually to the Shimazu clan during 260 years. The
Shimazu-han became the second largest han next to the Kaga-han with 1,025,000 kuku of Lord
Maeda who was also a Tozama Daimyo ( Not related to the House of Tokugawa directly by blood
nor by old and traditional allegeance ).
" The Gate of Courtesy "
" Shurei no Mon "
which is the entrance
to the" Kingdom of
Courtesy " - " Shurei no
Kuni " - the symbol of
The Kingdom of Ryukyu was very important as a channel
of foreign trade with China for Satsuma-han and the
shogunate. In the South-Western Islands of the Japanese
Archipelago,there lived people who spoke a dialect of Japanese
language of the cultural base of the old Japanese civilization
" Jyomon ". These islands, however, were far away from the
central parts of the political movements of Japan and
consequently, had developed a unique and peculiar culture
inspite of heavy cultural borrowing from China and Japan.
They had a rich folk culture of the commoners and a culture
of the royal nobility. They liked to dance and sing songs. It was
believed that only the true-born Okinawans could sing well their
songs of peculiar melody and rythm. Miyazawa Kazufumi
born in Kofu in the central mountaneous region of Japan
dispelled this long-seated myth.
In 1990, Miyazawa included his first Okinawan-melody song
" Hyakuman Tsubu no Namida - One million drops of tears " composed by him in his album " Japaneska ".
Miyazawa kazufumi, in his several trips to Okinawa, thought about the tragic history of the Islands
and their people behind the beautiful and peaceful islands.
In 1945, the Islands of Okinawa seemed to be deformed with many thunders of bombing. The
islands received 7,500,000 gun shots, 60,018 canon shells, 392,304 grenades, 20,359 rockets,
30,000,000 shots of machine-guns by the American troops. They called them " Typhoon of
The Japanese military personnel did not defend the Japanese civilians but defended
themselves. They handed grenades to civilians for suicide before they would surrender.The
soldiers fled to the places where there were many civilians. The soldiers and civilians fled
together to the south of Okinawa Island, causing heavy casualities among civlians.
Okinawa Prefecture had a population of 450,000 inhabitants. The Garrison of Okinawa had
86,400 men, and the land combating forces of the Navy had 10,000 men, and 20,000 student
forces. There were 120,000 combatants in total. One third of them were not well-trained
The soldiers fled into the caverns and trenches where many civilians were. The sad story of
studetns of women's school is well-known and was made into a movie. 233 of girls formed
a nurse corps called " the Troop of the Princes lilies ". Only 36 of them survived. There is
" The tower of the princess Lilies " erected for them in Itoman city, Okinawa.
188,136 Japanese died instantly during the war and 120,228 of them were civilians. More than
14,000 foreigners died. In 1997, the number of the persons died in the Okinawa War inscribed
in the monuments in Itoman City in Okinawa reached 236,600.
The Americans movilized 1,500 ships, 550,000 soldiers ( 180,000 of them were land
combatants). 12,000 of them died or were missing. 72,000 were injured. The Sixth Devision
of the Marines had 2,662 died and 1,289丂became victims of mental desease, and the hospital
for them was built.
The South-Western Islands - Nansei Shotoo - of the Japanese Archipelago became under
the U.S. military rule in 1945. The islands were returned to Japan in 1972 and people became
able to use the sun-rising flag. More than 70 % of the military bases of America in Japan were
concentrated on the Okinawa Islands. The calmness in the Islands will be interrupted by the
roaring sounds of the Jet bombers.
Miyazawa Kazufumi composed " Shimauta - The song of the Island " inspired by the peaceful
beauty of the islands with tragic background. The song was included in the album lauched on
the market in January 1992. The Okinawan version in " Uchinaguchi - Okinawan dialect " was
widely accepted in Okinawa. The same song in the Standard Japanese language released in
June 1993 was sold in more than 1,000,000 copies.
Any of the members of "Boom " of Miyazawa was not Okinawans. They expressed, however,
faithfully the sentiments and the heart of Okinawan people. They were invited many times
to the music festivals in Okinawa. He continued composing songs with the Okinawan motif.
No Japanese imagined that " Shimauta ", one decade later, would cross the Japanese
frontier and would be accepted in many countires and that in Argentina, the country of Tango,
a multi-talented artist, Alfredo Canseso would become charmed with Shimauta and the
song would become a big hit in his country.
In 2001, Afredo Canseco visited a Sushi restaurant in Buenos Aires y heard accidentally a
strange song which charmed him. He asked the waiter to repeat the song. He had the song
copied and practised singing it without understanding the lyrics. He sang the song to his
producer and asked him to get a Japanese woman singer. Claudia Oshiro was introduced
to him. She was argentine with the Okinawan parents. She explained to him the meaning of
the song and how Okinawa is like.
The song " Shimauta " was a big success in Argentina. Alfredo Canseco won the Gardel
Award for the song. The song was chosen as the theme song for the World Football T.V. shows
Korea-Japan 2002. Miyazawa y Canseco wanted to know each other. Miyazawa made his third
visit to Argentina in April 2002 and they could meet each other in Buenos Aires. The Japanese
Garden in Buenos Aires is one of best Japanese garden in South America, run by the foundation
Fundacion Cultural Argentino-Japonés, in the forests of Palermo near the symbolic Obelisk
of Buenos Aires. The Japanese garden has a function of tje Cultural Center of Japan. They held
many cultural events.
On April 27th 2002, Miyazawa y Canseco held a concert in the Japanese Garden in front of
5,000 fans. They sang several songs. The last song was " Shimauta " which was no longer a
song of a far-away country, and was a song of Argentina. All the audience sang " Shimauta"
with Miyazawa y Canseco.
In June 2002, Alfredo Canseco travelled to Japan. He and Miyazawa sang " Shimauta " in
a football stadium in front of an audience of 70,000 during the World Football Korea-Japan
Shimauta was sung by chinese singer Aijing, Jamaican raggae singer Yami Bolo, British
singer Izzi Dunn.
In July 2002, Miyazawa Kazufumi was invited to the Festival of Navarra, Spain. His band
" Miyazawa-sick " for this tour had a international staff with Brazilian percusionist Marco Suzano,
Cuban trampetist Luis Valle. The music they played moved the Spanish people of Pamplona
which is a sister city of Yamaguchi, in Japan. This music they played was a beautiful fusion of
reggae, pop, rock and traditional Japanese music. Navarra is a sister province of Yamaguchi
prefecture. Francisco Javier came from Navarra and he was permitted to preach christianity in
Yamaguchi more than 400 years ago.
In spite of the profitable commerce with China, Satsuma-han had always a financial problem.
More than 20 percent of the population was samurai. The population of the samurai had not
reduced even after the times of civil wars were over. Its territory did not actually produce 770,000
koku of rice officially estimated. Presumably, it produced about half of the quantity officially
The land is volcanic and infertile. Even samurai, if of low rank, could not eat enough rice. They
were fed on sweet potato. It was stricken by frerquent typhoons and the eruptions of the volcanos
caused heavy damages.
The eminent agricultural scientist, Aoki Konyo ( 1698 - 1769 ) studied, at first, confusionism.
He was appointed as an advisor to the 8th shogun Yoshimune, who ordered him to study
dutch studies which had been prohitted to learn for many years. He studied European
sciences specially agriculture. He wrote the book " The potatoes of foreign countries " and
promoted cultivation of sweet potato in Japan against periodical poor crops of rice and famine.
It grows well on the volcanic land of Satsuma and it came to be called, therefore " Satsuma
Imo ". The sweet potatoes was probably brought to Japan by the Spaniards at the end of the
Aoki Konyo saved millions of Japanese people from starvation, by encouraging sweet potato
cultivation, and sweet potato came to be cultivated in many regions of Japan. The people of
Satsuma used to eat tasteless sweet potato. After World War II, several species of delicious
sweet potatoes have been developed. Its taste went on to be more and more like the taste of
taste of the chestnut.
In 1696, the Castle in Satsuma burned down. In 1702, the palace of Satsuma in Edo also
burned down. Satsuma-han was practically ruined financially. Moreover, the shogunate
ordered Satsuma-han to repair the main hall of Kan-ei-ji temple in Edo for the shogun family.
Satsuma-han must behave as a great domain of 770,000 koku. The wives and children of the
lords must live in Edo as hostages and the lords came to Edo every two years to live one year
there. The domains of many " Tozama " daimyo are far from Edo, and the trip of the procession
- Daimyo Gyoretsu costed them enormous amount of money which was what the shogunate
wanted, because economic power meant military power. The procession of Satsuma had
2,000 members. Usually, the daimyo's processions marched 9丂Ri ( 36 kilometers ) in a day.
But, the procession of Satsuma marched 10-12 Ri ( 40 - 48 kilometers ) in a day to save the
expenses of a travel. They left the inn town - Shukuba machi - early in the morning.
In 1616, the debt of Satsuma-han was 20,000 gold coins. In 1801, it reached 1,200,000 gold
coins, and in 1827, it amounted to 5,000,000 gold coins, 40 times the anual income of
Satsuma-han. One year, the procession of Satsuma-han became penniless near
Nishinomiya, and could not continue marching to Edo. Some officials went to Osaka to
obtain some finance from rich Osaka merchants.
The trips of the daimyo was a great economical burden for many warlords but they activated
economy of many towns alongside the roads.
The true-born Satsuma samurai - Hirata Yukie who devoted his life to saving
people of Kiso from being flooded.
In 1753, the shogunate ordered Satsuma-han to do big works on the three rivers in Kiso to
prevent flooding and to increase agricultural production. It was estimated to cost Sathuma
-han 100,000 - 150,000 gold coins. Many samurai of Satsuma-han thought that the demand
of the shogunate was unbearable. It would be better to die combating in revolt against the
shogunate than die in hunger,being humiliated by the shogunate and being ruined
The prime minister of Satsuma-han Hirata Yukie persuaded them to forebear hardship,
saying that it would be better to die for the benefit of peasants working on the big project
and thus the honor and fame of the samurai of Satsuma would remain in history丂than die
revolting against the shogunate. Hirata Yukie went to Kiso leading 1,000 samurai
of Satsuma. The works were carried on under the strict supervision of the officials of the
shogunate. The works were completed in 1 year and two months. The total expenses
of the works amounted to 300,000 gold coins. Many samurai of Satsuma died of desease
and by occidents. He wrote a letter to lord Shimazu informing him of the completion of
the works and commited seppuku assuming responsibility for the enormous expenses of
the works. The fields of Noobi was turned into fertile land free from flooding even when
typhoons would come.
The people of Gifu prefecture have not forgotten what the samurai of Satsuma did for them
about 250 years ago. They send their representatives to Kagoshima to take part in the
anual ceremony for the samurai died for the works on the Kiso River on the anniversary of
death of Hirata Yukie.
Zusho Shôzaemon who saved the Satsuma-han from financial crisis :
In 1,820's , when the debts of Satsuma-han reached 5,000,000 gold coins, Zusho
Syoozaemon Hirosato, who was only a waiter in the Castle was appointed as a finance
minister of Satsuma-han in 1824. He worked almost a miracle in improving financial
standing of Satsuma-han. Until 1840, he settled the debts of 5,000,000 gold coins, and
the Satsuma-han had 2,500,000 gold coin deposit. Zusyo was afraid that Shimazu
Nariakira,if elected as the ruler of Shimazu would spend money which he had saved,
and supported Shimazu Hisamitsu.
Nariakira wanted to eliminate Zusyo from the important post and sent the report about the
illegal trading with China by Zusho to his friend Abe Masahiro, chief minister of the shogunate.
Zusho committed suicide before being punished by the shogunate ( Bakufu ).
Eliminating all obstacles, Nariakira became the ruler of Satsuma-han in 1851 when he was
already 43 years old. He built a reverberating furnace, steam ships, canons, many factories
such as glassware facotory.
" Satsuma-kiriko "
The factory of glassware was built in 1855. It was bombed
by the Biritish fleet in 1863. Its production was suspended
until 1985, when the family of Shimazu resumed its
Lord Shimazu Nariakira presented glasswares to the shogun
and other warlords, and they were also exported.
Nariakira turned Satsuma to a modern military power. He
selected low rank samurais for important tasks, such
as Saigo Takamori, Kuroda Kiyotaka, Okubo Ichizoo
( Toshimichi ). Lord Nariakira believed that the shogun
should not be dominant over the Imperial Court. For that
reason, he supported Tokugawa Yoshinobu for the shogun,but Iemochi supported by Ii Naosuke became the fourteenth shogun,
Nariakira failed in his attemp to unite the shogun and imperial power - " Koobu gattai ".
Nariakira became the lord of Shimazu in 1851 when he was already 43 years old, and died
in 1858 when he was 50 years old. Many warlords wanted him to continue playing an
important and leading role for much more time to save Japan in a difficult situation.
After Nariakira died, Tadayoshi, according to the will of Nariakira bacame the ruler of Satsuma,
but his father Hisamitsu, however, obtained the de fact power. In 1862, Hisamitsu entered Kyoto
to promote his policy of the "Integration of Shogun power and Imperial power " . From there, he
wento to Edo accompanied by the imperial envoy and proposed to the shogunate to elect
Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu ( who would become the last shogun) as the chief advisor to the
shogun and Matsaudaira Yoshinaga as primer minister. These proposals in the name of
the emperor were accepted by the shogunate.
On his way back to Satsuma, at Namamugi near Yokohama, four British people on horseback
passed in front of the procession without showing any reverance to them. None of them
dismounted from horse, although one samurai ordered them to dismount from horses.
One samurai, being mad killed a Britishman named Carles Richardson. Three other British
people were injured also. The British Consulate asked the shogunate and Satsuma-han to
punish the Samurai for their barbarous acts and asked for the indemnification. The shogunate
paid 100,000 pounds to Great Britain. Satsuma-han refused to pay any indemnification to
Great Britain. On 15th August 1863, the British fleet of six warships under the vice-admiral
Kuper entered Kagoshima Bay to talk about the Richardson case.
Lord Shimazu Hisamitsu had no intention to negotiate with the British people. Peaceful
negotiation seemed to be impossible for English people. They captured 4 steamers anchored
in the Kinkoo-wan Bay. The British could not imagine that Kagoshima was equipped with
batteries of 80 up-to date canons which opened fire on the British warships.
The British counter-attacks burned down a large area of the Kagoshima city with wooden
houses.丂The bombings of Satsuma were surprisinly precise and they were concentrated on
the flap ship Euryalus. The commander Edward Wilmot died. Many batteries of Satsuma
were destroyed. The British fleet returned back to Yokohama. 13 British men died and 50 were
injured. Satsuma had only one died and 6 were wounded.
On October the 5th, the representative of Satsuma accepted to pay 25,000 pounds in the British
Legation in Yokohaya. Very soon, the relations between Satsuma and Great Britain became
very friendly which would develop to be friendly relations Japan and Great Britain, as many
leaders of Satsuma would become the leaders of the new government of Japan. The Japanese
-British alliance signed in 1902 would be a great support of the national security for Japan.
" Ninomaru " Palace
of the Nijyo-jyo Castle in
The reproduction of the scene of the
shogun Yoshinobu communicating to the important retainers of about 40 lords
stationed in Kyoto the return of the
governing power of the Shogun to the Imperial;Court on October 13th 1867.
The war between Satsuma and Great Britain created
mutual respect between people of Satsuma and British
people. The samurai of Satsuma realized the British
power and they understood that the slogan of " Expel the
foreign barbarians " was absurd.The British people
understood that Japanese must no be treated like
other Asians. Satsuma soon bought some modern ships
In Satsuma, the low rank samurai came to own power.
They bacame convinced that the shogunate must to
survive as it was impossble to expect that it could be
renovated. Satsuma, although powerful already, needed
to have some allies to destroy the old regime.
One Ronin of Tosa, Sakamoto Ryoma, worked as a go-
between to make Satsuma and Chochu allied. On March 17,
1866, the military alliance between Satsume and Choshu
was signed secretly in kyoto.
The feudal system in Chochu was being destroyed. The low rank samurai had power. The army
organized by Takasugi Shinsaku was made of people of every social classes. It was strong
enough against the troops of only samurai. Lord Mori was at the mercy of the low and middle
On october 13th, 1867, the last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu called important retainers stationed
in Kyoto of some 40 warlords to the Ninomaru palace in the Nijyo-jyo Castle in Kioto to
declaration of the return of the governing power of the shogunate to
The picture was taken from the
Saeda-bashi bridge, Fushimi, Kyoto.
The troops of Aizu-han and Kuwana-han
of15,000 samurai clashed here
against the troops of Satsuma
on 3rd January, 1868. The battle
of Toba Fushimi ended in three days
The battle showed the military
weekness of the shogun.
Fortress" Goryokaku - the Pentagon ",
the first European style fortress
constructed in Japan. Hakodate,
the Imperial Court .
On october 14th 1867, the Imperial Court accepted the return
of the power.
On december 9th 1867, the Imperial Restoration of the
political imperial power " Oosei Fukko " was proclaimed
officially, The shogunate regime disappeared. Yoshinobu
was willing to accept any treatment of the Imperial Court.
The fervent supporters of the shogunate, however, wanted
that the shogun must have some important role in the new
government. They also wanted that both shogun and
samurai should be treated with honor and dignity.
On January 3rd 1968, the establishment of the new government
was declared. The samurai and daimyo became discontent.
The domain of the shogunate would be confiscated. Matsudaira
Katamori who governed Kioto for the emperor was excluded from
any important role in the new government.
Yoshinobu was in the Osaka Castle. He wanted to go back to
Kyoto to obtain the imperial permission to punish Satsuma for
its autocratic attitude as the imperial enemies.
When the first troops of 15.000 men of Aizu and Kuwana
advanced up to the Saeda Bashi Bridge in Toba to enter Kyoto,
their advance was detained by the Satsuma troops.
The commander of the shogun troops said that they could
enter Kyoto with the inmperial permission. The commander
of Satsuma said that it could not be possible. Thus, the
battle of Toba-Fushimi happened. The shogun's troops were
scattered in three days.
The two thirds of Toba-Fushimi burned down. There are some
old houses which have the bullet holes of that war.
The military superiority of Satsuma was proved. Yoshinobu
was informed that the Satsuma troop called itself the imperial
troop and had a figure head imperial prince Arisugawa-no-miya Taruhito with the imperial standard of the imperial coat of arms of chrisanthemum. On 6th January 1868, Yoshinobu took refugee in an American warship in the Osaka bay, and on the next day, he went on board the shogun's ship Kaiyo maru and retuned back to Edo.
The poor samurai abandoned by the shogun lost their will to continue combating. Yoshinobu, back
in Edo, confined himself in the Kan-ei-ji temple and showed all his gesture of obedience to the
Although the battle of Toba Fushimi ended in three days. This battle triggered the civil war " Boshin
Senso " in the north of Japan. The war lasted more than one year, until on May 18th 1869, the
troops of Enomoto Takeaki , president of the Republic of Ezo, in the Goryokaku, Hakodate
surrendered to the troops of the New government of Japan.
In 1854, the Bakufu ( the shogun's government ) signed the Treaty of Commerce with the United
States, Great Britain and Russia and opened the ports of Shimoda, Yokohama and Hakodate
to those Western powers. The Bakufu dicided to govern directly Hakodate and needed to have
a goverrnent office there and ordered Takeda Ayasaburo ( Shigeaya ), a scholar of the Dutch
Studies who studied in the Tekijuku School in Osaka and then went to Edo and became a
student of Sakuma Syozan. Takeda Ayasaburo was a samurai born in Oozu, province of Iyo.
( Now, Oozu city, Ehime prefecture )
It is said in Japan that Takeda Ayasaburo studied the strucutres of the Dutch fortifications and
decided to build the pentagonal fortress with artillery and the buildings of government office.
But, actually, when the Netherlands were under the rule of the Spanish Duke of Alba, he built
some pentagonal fortificaciones in the Netherlands and Belgium which he ruled.
He started constructing the pentagonal fortress " Goryokaku " in 1857 and completed it in 1864,
when the Bakufu had not invited yet the French military mission to Japan. Againt bombing from
the sea, he did not build tall buildings nor castle on the pentagonal fortress of 4.5 meters tall of
180,000 square meters. The Office of the Government of Hakodate had the Institute of All
Tecniques, He was appointed as a professor there and tought the government officials,
their sons and young samurai who came from all over Japan the Western sciences, navigation,
ship building, artillery and land surveying.
When the last shogun Yoshinobu returned to the Imperial Court the political powers of governing
in October 1867, the fortress " Goryokaku " fell into the hands of the new government. It was
opended to the public in 1914. The Goryokaku has not any military importance now, and is one of
the few sports in Hokkaido for cherry blossom viewers.
Castle of Jaca
Castle of Jaca
Municipio : Jaca
Provincia : Huesca
Comunidad : Aragon
Country : Spain
Castle of Jaca
Spain, during the reign of Phillip II was at its height of power in Europe. It possessed Spain,
Portugal, Sicily, Milan, Naples, Hapsburg's Austria, Franche-Comté, Netherlands, Flanders,
Tunis, the Americas and the Phillipines. It was said that the sun never set on the Spanish
In 1595, the construction of the pentagonal fortress of the Castle of Jaca was started at the
order of Phillip II in the suburbs of Jaca and it was completed in the XVIII century. The bridges
which cross the moats were under construction yet around 1690. It was built based on the plan
made out by Tiburcio Spanoqui. It had a small church dedicated to San Pedro ( St. Peter ) built
in the XVII century, and was called, therefore, the Castle of San Pedro (St. Peter ) until the XIX
The architect and military engineer Tiburcio Spanoqui ( " Tiburzio Spannocchi " in Italian ) was
born in Siena, Toscana, Italy. He went to Sicily which belonged to the Kingdom of Aragon which
in its turn, belonged to the great Spanish Empire. He was, therefore, Spanish citizen. He changed
his Italian name Tiburzio Spannocchi to the Spanish name Tiburcio Spanoqui in Spain.
At that time, every military studies were only for the nobility. The designing of the fortifications and
castles were considered as a profession of noblemen such as marquis,counts and dukes.
The noblemen who were in charge of the contruction of castles and fortifications were
military engineers who had scarce knowledge of architecture. The excellent architects who
designed the wonderful churches and cathedrals who were not noble by birth were not permitted
to design fortresses and castles for military purposes. Moreover, the military engineers have
not been trained to draw and paint and had not artistic sense to build fortifications and castles
artistically beautiful, besides being functional militarily.
Tiburcio Spanoqui was a kight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and was a military engineer.
The Order was exclusively for noblemen who were supposed to be engaged in noble professions
and were not merchants, architects, and other non-military workers. He was not well-informed
about the practical aspects of architecture for being of noble birth.
In 1580, he was recommended as an official architect of fortresses and castles for Spanish King
Philip II by Marco Antonio Colonna who would become viroy of Sicily later. In the exam, his
noble birth was highly recognized although he did not know much about architecture. He could
draw and paint well. He knew mathematics and geometry very well, the disciplines required
for a good architect. He was officially employed as an architect for the Spanish Royal Court of
the king Philip II.
The citadel( Castle ) of Jaca was the only one pentagonal citadel preserved intact in Europe.
Another at Liege, Belgium, is preserved almost complete, but it has several structures annexed
to it in later years. The citadel of Liege was always the fortress to defend Belgium from foreign
invasions. In 1830, the decisive battle for Belgium's independence was fought there. In 1914,
during World War I, the Belgians held German forces at bay at the citadel (which is surrounded
by 12 forts) long enough for French troops to come and fight against the Germans. In 1940, again
at the citadel of Liege, German troops met with stubborn resistance from Belgian defenders.
Citadel of Pamplona,
at Avenida del Ejército,
The pentagonal fortress of Jaca has a bastion at each corner
of the pentagon against possible invaders from France
through the Pilgrim " Road to Santiago " which runs to the Alto
Valle ( High Valley ) of Aragon. The citadel on the South-east
of Pamplona City, Navarre, Spain, also remains now almost
intact. It was built also in the XVI century at the order of
Many Spaniards may not be informed that there is another
one in Hakodate, in Hokkaido,the north of Japan.
During XVI century, several pentagonal citadels were built
in Spain and the Netherlands which Duke of Alba sent by Phillip II ruled.
In the Netherlands, the moats of that type of the citadels were very usuful to control quantity of water. In the case of the Citadel of Hellevoetsluis, in the Netherlands built during the years 1696 - 1715, which is preserved now, it was built to protect the shipyards and vessels. Curiously enough, the engine of the war ship " Kaiyo Maru " of the Bakufu was made in the shipyards in Hellevoetsluis.
When the G7 Summit was held in Halifax, Canada, Hakodate city's mayor was invited by the
Mayor of Halifax to participate in some events. As both cities have a star-shaped citadel, the
mayor of Hakodate city suggested an internation summit meeting to be held in 1997 in
Hakodate of the cities which have a star-shaped citadel. The mayor of Halifax agreed to
co-chair the summit meeting to commemorate the 15th anniversary of sistership between
two cities. In the first International Star-Shaped Citadel Cities Summit, 10 cities from 9
In the first Citadel cities summit meeting, Jaca city ( municipio ) with a population of 11,300
people did not participated nor the city of el Callao in Peru with a population of 800,000
people, both of them with a splendid pentagonal star-shaped large citadel. The next Summit
meeting will be held in Hellevoetsluis, the Netherlands in 2006.
The Spanish Duke of Alba who ruled the Netherlands during the years 1567 - 1574, beside
the citadel in Liege, Belgium, built other citadel in Antwerp which was broken down later.
Another citadel in Pamplona was almost destroyed now.
In the American Continent, Spaniards built several more pentagonal fortifications. Among
them, la Fortaleza del Real Felipe ( Fortress of the Real Phillip ) in the El Callao Port is
Fortress of the Real Felipe
( Fortaleza del Real Felipe )
El Callao. Perú
In 1746, a strong earthquake struck el Callao and Lima city, and in its wake, a few
minutes later, a tidal wave plowed 6 kilometers inland devasting completing the city of el
Callao. The viceroy Jose Antonio Manso de Velazco dicided to re-build a new city more
safer against natural disasters and pirates.
The construction of the " Fortress of the Real Felipe " started in 1747. The viceroy Manso
de Velazco placed the first stone and christened the work " Fortaleza del Real Felipe " in
honor to the late emperor Phillip V. The construction took 27 years and the citadel was
completed in 1774. It was the largest fortification of this type that Spaniards built in their
El Callao was a very important port for Spain, because the gold and wealths of the New
World were shipped from there bound for the Old World. Many pirate ships hang aroung
the port. The port was ravaged in 1579 by British pirate Francis Drake. The fortress has
an area of 70,000 square meters. The walls are 1,600 meters long. Now, there is the
Army Museum of Peru in the citadel which is open to the public.
The scholar of Dutch Studies, Takeda Aysaburo must have seen some illustrations of
the pentagonal citadels built by Spaniards in some books written in Dutch, as they
were built when the Netherlands were under the Spanish rule. The Goryokaku in
Hakodate must have been modeled by him after one of the Spanish style pentagonal
citadels in the Netherlands.
The " Pentagon ", the building of Department of Defense of the United States is said
to have been modelled after the Citadel of Jaca in Spain. This fact is not well-known
among many Americans.
There is another pentagonal fortress in Japan, in Usuda-cho, in Nagono prefecture,
among the mountains, in a central part of Japan, most far away from the seas in
Japan. Lord Matsudaira Noritake was very interested in the Western artillery and
fortification. When the Tokugawa Bakufu was already perishing, he was moved to
a new feud in Shinano ( Now, Nagono prefecture ) with 12,000 koku from his ancestral
land in Mikawa province. He wanted to build the Tsuruoka Castle on the western
style fortress. This plan was approved by the Shogunate. The fortress was completed
in 1867, just in the year when the Sogunate collapsed. The fortress and the castle
have lost its military significance.
The Shogun's government did not exist already, due to the transfer of the governing
authority of the shogunate to the Imperial Court by the last shogun Yoshinobu. The
Edo Castle was handed to the new government peacefully in april, 1868. The new
government wanted, however, to use more military power to beat down hard the
defeated. It wanted to punish severely the samurais in the Shonai and Aizu district
in the north of Japan as enemies of the emperor.
The domains of the daimyo " Shinpan " ( related to the House of Tokugawa by blood ) and
Tozama daimyo ( not related to the House of Tokugawa by blood ) formed the anti-
overnment alliance in the north of Japan. It had a character of " the Confederate States of
the north of Japan ", declaring as an independent country to the foreign countires.
They invited an imperial prince Rin-oojino-miya Hosshin-no nominating him the Emperor
of the East as their figurehead. The Alliance was not united well and was desintegrated
in octuber 1868. The AizuCastle was attacked and burned dowm. The story of faithful juvenile
samurais called the White Tigers - Byakkotai - who commited seppuku is so tragic.
The samurai who wanted to continue resistance against
( 1836 - 1908 )
de la República de Ezo
the new government fled to the Hokkaido Island and occupied
the citadel " Goryokaku " in Hakodate. Enomoto Takeaki, who
was a vice minister of the navy of the shogunate refused to
hand 8 war-ships in the Edo Bay and fled with them northward
to join the anti-government forces.
The fleet of the former shogunate was superior in its power
to that of the new government. The best ship " Kaiyo " of
2,817 tons with 26 canons of the former shogunate, however,
was struck by a tempest off the Ezashi coast and sunk.
"Jinsoku " went to rescue Kaiyo but its engine stopped runninjg
and went out of use. The naval battle in the Miyako Bay was
the first modern naval battle which Japan had experienced.
Enomoto Taeaki declared the foundation of the " Republic of Ezo in Hakodate and was elected president of the new country. The new state was recognized by some European countries.
In May 1869, the Republic of Ezo surrendered. Enomoto was judged and imprisoned. He was
set at liberty in 1872.
Enomoto Takeaki was born into a Hatamoto family in Edo in 1836. He studied at the shogunate
school of Shokei-zaka Gakumon-syo ". In 1854,acompanying the governor of Hakodate, he
explored Hokkaido and the island of Sakalin ( Karafuto ). In 1858, he entered the Naval School
at Nagasaki. In 1856, we was nominated as a professor of the school.
In 1862, shogunate sent hin to the Netherlands to study western sciences. In 1867, he returned
to Japan, after going to Latin America on board the ship " Kaiyo maru " which he bought in the
Netherlands at the order of shogunate.
In 1867, the War of Boshin started. He went to Hokkaido in October, 1868. In december 1868,
he was elected as president of the Republic of Ezo. In May 1869, he surrendered and was
imprisoned. He did not committed seppuku as a honorable samurai. What he he committed
was high treason against the nation and the emperor. The capital punishment was
considered as inevitable. But, Saigo Takamori, Fukuzawa Fukichi, Kuroda Kiyotaka, and many
other persons said that his talent was needed for the Nation. He was set at liberty in Janaury
He was employed by the new government of Meiji as a low class civil servant in charge of
exploration of Hokkaido. It was his modest beginning in the new government. He rose
rapidly to the higher postions in the government.
In January 1874, he was nominated as vice-admiral of Navy, and plenipotenciary minister
to St.Petersburg, in Russia. In 1880, we was Minister of Navy. In 1885, in the Cabinet of
Prime Minister Ito Hirofumi, he was nominated as Minister of Postal Services. In 1886,
minister of Agriculture and of Commerce. In 1887, viscount. In 1889, minister of Education
in the Kuroda Kiyotaka.
In 1891, minister of the foreign affairs and founded the department of the emigration in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote Japanese emigration.
In 1892, counselor of the Imperial Chamber. In 1893, he founded Colonizing Society
Japan - Mexico, and we was elected as its president.
In 1897, retiring from the political career, he bought 65,000 hectars of land in Escuintla,
Departmento of Sononusco, in the State of Chiapas, Mexico. He sent to Mexico 36
Japanese who were the first Japanese emigrants to Latin America.
In 1908, Enomoto Takeaki died. At that time, the number of Japanese imigrants in
Mexico must have been over 5,000 persons. Now, in 2004, about 10,000 - 12,000
mexicans of japanese ancenstry live in mexico, and in 2,003, 4,510 Japanese nationals
for long and permanent residence in Mexico live there.
On May 18th, 1998, some 500 Japanese Mexicans in Acacoygua, Escuintra, in the State of
Chiapas y in other regions of Mexico celebrated the 100th anninversary of Japanese
The history of " The last Samurai " - movie, directed by Edward
Don Benito Juarez
( 1809 - 1872 )
The first native
Preident of Mexico
Zick, starring Tom Cruise was a Hollywood fiction. The plot was
was loosely based on the Boshin War and a French captain
Jule Brunet who fought together with Enomoto Takeaki at the
Goryo-kaku citadel at Hokodate and also The Southern West
War - Seinan Senso - in Kyushu led by Saigo Takamori.
The Last Samurai who fought for the fallen shogun regime and
against the new Meiji government were actually French and not
In July 1865, the shogunate sent to England and France a small
delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lord Shibata
Hyuga-no-kami Takenaka. His main object was to negotiate with
the French government over the project of Yokusuka shipyards,to buy material, machines and to invite French engineers toconstruct them.
The Japanese delegation had another object. That was to invite to Japan a French mission
of the military instructors to train the shogun's soldiers in the advanced arts of modern wars.
The British government did not show any sign of interest to send to Japan a military mission.
Lord Shibata Hyuga-no-kami Takenaka, after inspecting the Toulon shipyards and after
negotiating with the French government over the detail of Yokosuka shipyards' construction,
had an interview with the french minister of foreign affairs Drouyn de Lhuys, who accepted
the request of the shogunate and decided to send a military mission of the instructors to
Japan to train the shogun's soldiers.
In February 1866, the fourteenth shogun Tokugawa Iemochi sent a letter of gratitude to
Napoleon III for their military assistance.
The minister of War of France, general Randon decided to send a mission of 16 officials
headed by captain Carles Sulpice Jules Cahnoine, 10 sub-officials and two soldiers. They
arrived at Yokohama on January 13th 1867, just in the year in which the shogunate would
collapse 9 months later. On October 14th 1867, the last shogun Yoshinobu presented to the
Imperial Court the the request of return of the governing power of the shogunate to the emperor.
The request was officially accepted on the following day. Thus, the Tokugawa Shogunate which
had lasted 264 years collapsed.
The French Militar personnel sent to Japan is as follows :
(1) Charles Sulpice Jules Chanoire, Capitain. He was in China in 1859-1862 during the Second
Opium War, commanding the French occupation troop. He commanded the French military
mission to Japan.
(2) Jules Brunet, captain of the Regiment of Cavalry of the Imperial Guard. Instructor of artillery
in Japan, a good water-colour painter ( In jJapan, a book with about 100 water colour paintings
of his was published. ) He was an elite military officer, graduated from Politechnique School.
He participated as second lieutenant in the battle of Puebla in Mexico, and received the order
of Legion of Honor of the Fifth Class for his brilliant explots when he was 24 years old.
In 1861, the debts of the Republican government of Mexico with European powers amounted to
82 million pesos. In July 1861, Mexican president Benito Juarez issued a decree publishing
the suspension of payments during two years. This was one of the reasons why the French
government broke off diplomatic relations with Mexico. Present of Mexico Benito Juarez was
the first native Mexican president. In most of his infancy, he spoke only Zapoteco and could not
In October 1861, the representatives of the creditor countries, Spain, Great Britain and France
met in London. They agreed to use military threat to force Mexico to pay their debts. In January
1862, the war ships of the three countries were in the port of Veracruz.
In April 1862, Spanish and British governments agreed to have a talk with Mexico over the
debts issue without using military forces. The French, however, had an ambition to invade
Mexico militarily. The spaniards and the British did not know the ambition of Napoleon III to
establish a monarchy in Mexico, a puppet of France, wantting to abolish the constitutional
republic of Mexico of Benito Juarez.
The French troops advanced towards Mexico City. President Benito Juarez ordered generalIn 1867, Jules Brunet was promoted to be Captain of the French Army and was sent to Japan
Ignacio Zaragoza to check the French advance in the forts near Puebla. General had only
4,800 men and his troops were poorly equipped. In the French troop of 7,000 men, there
was a second lieutenant named Jules Brunet who fought againt the mexican troop. He,
seven years later, would fight in Japan not for his country but for the last samurai of the
already fallen shogunate, of the Republic of Ezo.
On may 5th 1862, 1,000 French soldiers died in the battle of Puebla. In June 1864, Maximilian
of Hapsburg and his wife Carlota arrived at Mexico city and were crowned as emperor and
empress of the new Empire of Mexico. He did several reforms beneficial to Mexico and
Mexicans. The republican Mexicans, however, did not want to be ruled by the foreign
sovereign. The Mexicans revolted again the monarchy and Maximilian fled to the north of
Mexico. In may 1867, his army was defeated. He was captured, judged and shot down.
to serve as a instructor to the shogun's military forces. When the Battle of Toba-Fushimi
happended, the French government remained neutral. The Meiji government asked the French
minister Utulei that all French military mens must be repatriated to France. In October, 1868,
captain Charles Sulpice Jules Chanoire and several French miltary persons left Japan. Jules
Brunet and some French military persons, however, remained in Japan to fight for the last samurai
of the former shognate ( Bakufu ) against the new Meiji government.
He wrote a letter to her superior Captain Chanoire and sent a letter to the emperor napoleon III
saying that he would like to combat in Japan for the honor of his country.
Shamelessly for this French officer, before the surrender of the former Bakufu forces, he took
refuge in a French war ship near Hakodate, and via Yokohama, he returned to France, He
was sentenced as a desertor and was dismissed from militar services. Only one year later,
however, in 1870, when the Franco-Prussian War happened, his military experience was
needed again. He was called on to military service. He was captured at Metz by the Prussians.
He participated in the combats against the Còmmune of Páris on the side of Versailles.
In 1898, we mas nominated as a chief of the General Staff by Ministry of War Chanoine who
was curiously his superior in Japan. He received the order of Legion of Honor of the Second
Class. He rose to be general of division. He died in 1911 at the of 73 years old.
The French military mission which was
sent to Japan by the Emperor Napoleon III
to train the shogun's soldiers in the
advanced arts of war.
Some of them remained in Japan to
combat in 1869 even after the fall of the
shogunate, in the Battle of Miyako Bay
and the Battle of Hakodate.
(3) Charles Albert Dubousquet, liuetenant
of the 31st Regiment. Instructor of Infantry in
(4) Edouard Messelot, lieutenant of the 20th
Batalion of infantrymen.
instructor of infantry.
(5) Leon Descharmes, lieutenant of the Regiment
of the Dragons of the Empress.
instructor of cavalry in Japan.
6) Jean Marlin, sargent of the 8th Batalion
de infantrymen, instructor of Infantry.
Chief of a squad in the Battle of Hakodate.
( 7 ) Francois Bouffier, sargent of the 8th
Batalion of infrantrymen, instructor of
infantry in Japan. Patricipated in the
Battle of Hakodate.
(8) Henri Igrec, sargent of the 31st Regiment(9) Emile Peyrussel, sargent, instructor of cavalry in Japan.
instructor de infantry in Japan.
(10) Arthur Fortant, sargent, Regiment of the Guard of the field Artillery.
Instructor of artillery in Japan. Participated in the Battle of Hakodate.
(11) L. Gutthig, trompetist of the batalion of infantrymen of the Guard.
(12) Charles Bonnet, arms keeper of the second class
(13) Barthelemy Izard, sargent, bomb expert of the field artillery of the Regiment
of the guard.
(14) Frederic Vallet, sargent, master carpenter.
(15) Jean-Felix Mermet, mechanic.
(16) Jourdan, Captain, engineer of the First Regiment of the engineers.
(17) Michel, sargent, engineer of the First Regiment of the engineers.
(18) Felix Eugene Collache 丗丂Classmate of Nicol in the Military Naval School.
In the Battle of the Miyako Bay, he was on board the war ship " Takao " and he became
the only one French prisoner. He was brought to Tokyo and imprisoned in April 1869
and soon set at liberty. In 1874, he wrote " An Adventure in Japan 1868 - 1869 " about his
short stay in Japan and memory about his close friend Nicol.
Although he was dismissed from military services back in France, being judged as a
desertor, he was permitted to participate in the Franco-Prussian War with his friend Nicol.
(19) Henri Paul Hipolito Nicol : 丂
He was a classmate of Collache. graduated from the Military Naval School, where he
studied Japanese language. He was on board " Minerva " of Oriental Fleet of France.
When the ship was anchored at Yokohama Harbour, he deserted the ship with his friend
Collache. In the Miyako Bay, he entered the Enomoto's Fleet. In the Naval Battle of Miyako
Bay, he was severely wounded in the leg and the arm. He came from Bordeaux. He knew
very well the structure of the ship " Kootetsu " built in the shipyards of Bordeaux. Coming
back to France, he was judged as a desertor.
When the franco-Prussian War happened, he was drafted as a private soldier and died
at the age of 24 years old. Thusm his short andbrilliant military career ended. He fought
for two countries and was not rewarded.
(20) Clateau : Official of artillery. Participated in the Battle of Miyako Bay on board the ship
" Banryu ".
He established a Hotel-Restaurant in Tsukiji, Tokyo and another in Yokohama. The author
of this article investigated whether he married a Japanese woman or not and how his hotel
business went. But, any more information Clateau was not available.
(21) Cazenueve: Corporal. He was a right hand of capitain Brunet. Horse trainer of the Guard
of emperor Napoleon III. Severely wounded in the battle and was carried to a hospital in
Yokohama. He imported to Japan arab horses.
(22) Eugene Auguste Pradier : Civilian and retired official. Married a Japanese woman
and had two children.
(23) Tribout : Anything is known about sobre 乬 Tribout 乬 .
It is very difficult to understand why ten Frenchmen would want to fight for the fallen regime
of the shogun and their samurai against the troops of the new government. During that time,
France had the highest rate of military desertors her history had yet seen. Those 9 Frenchmen
were the first and the last foreign mercenaries Japan had ever had.
We can only speculate that in less than a year, while Nine French military instructors were
staying in Japan, the samurai must have charmed them druing their short stay of less than one
year in Japan and drove frenchmen to combat for them.
The War of Rebellion of the samurai of the fallen shogunate regime ended on May 18th 1869
at the Citadel of Hakodate. Only one year later, on July 19th 1870, the Franco-Prussian War
broke out in Europe. Most of the French military advisors sent to Japan were already back in
Even those dismissed as deserters from military service were called on to take part in the War.
They would soon see the French glory of Napoleon be replaced by the emergence of Prussia of
Germanic people as a military power in Europe.
In 1868, the Spanish throne became vacant after the revolution. Queen Isabel fled to France.
Bismark of Prussia wanted to establish a monarchy again in Spain with a German king. He asked
prince Leopold of Hohenzollen-Signaringen to assume the throne. The prince expepressed
that he was willing to rise to the throne. The French government was alarmed at this news and
sent Ambassador Comte Vicente Benedetti to Prussia to negotiate with Prussia to make the
Prussian king order Leopold to withdraw his candidacy to the throne.
The Prussian King William, although angered, suggested that the French ambassador should
communicate directly with Leopold by telegraph. Leopold was absent and his father Charles
Anthony sent a telegram agreeing to withdraw candidacy to the throne on behalf of his son.
The French government under Napoleon III was not still satisfied and wanted to humiliate
Prussia more even at the cost of war.
The French government demanded that King Willam should present a personal letter
addressed to Napoleon III, apologizing for the candidacy of a German prince to the Spanish
throne and promising to never allow the house of Hohenzollen-Signaringen to renew its
candidacy to the Spanish throne. William declined this insulting demand.
Bismark wanted to exploit the most of the French insult to inflame the indignation of all
Germanic peoples to make them unite against France under the Prussian leadership. With
the permission of king William, he publicized the insulting letter of the French government
and the reply letter to it.
The best way to reralize his aim was to make war against France. He intended to make both
Germans and Frenchmen indignant, wanting that France would declare war on Prussia.
France fell into the trap of Bismark. It declared war on Prussia on July 19th 1870. After some
battles, the decisive battle was fought in Sedan. Napoleon III, recognizing that there would
be no hope to win the battle ordered his men to raise the white flag. Tje conditions of surrender
were negotiated during the night. On the next day, he surrenderd with 83,000 soldiers.
The Parisians, at the news of the capture of Napoleon III, rose up in arms against the
government. The legislative Assembly was dissolved. France was proclaimed a republic.
On October 27th, 1870, Marshal Bazaine surrendered at metz with 173,000 men. Jules Brunet,
one of the last French samurai who fought at Hakodate, Japan, became a prisoner of war
at metz. He had been a deserter twice in Japan. He deserted the French corps and then
the troop of samurai at Hakodate.
Paris, meanwhile, was sieged by the Prussian troops and was subject to bombardment. On
January 18th, Bismark realized finally the unification of the germanic states. The King William I
was crowned as emperor of Germany in the palace of Versailles.
The revolutionaries of the Commune of Paris surrendered in May 1871. The Franco-Prussian
War ended. In the Treaty of Frankfurt, France was required to cede the province of Alsace and
part of Lorraine.
The news about the defeat of France was shocking to the high rank officers, military and civlilian
of the Japanese government who had admired France and Napoleon. They realized that
the French military system had some weak points and some Japanese systems should be
Germanized. They soon started to study the German systems.
The Minister of Home Affairs Yamagata Aritomo asked Bismark to send to Japan a good
professor in military arts and strategy. Major Klemens Wilhelm Jacob Meckel, one of the best
disciples of Marshal Graf von Moltke was selected. He came to Japan in 1885 ( The 18th year
of Meiji ). He taught only about 60 students in Japan during 3 years, but his influence over the
Japanese Army was significant.
The University of Army had only ten first students best selected. Meckel taught them military
strategy. Meckel told his students that the strength of the Prussian army lay in its unswerving
loyalty to the king. This teaching of his suited the Japanese government, because Japan had
the emperor. He also said that he could defeat the whole Japanese army with only one
Prussian regiment at his command. He went on excursions to old battle fields and asked
his pupils which side won.
General Akiyama Yoshihuru
( 1859 - 1930 )
One of his student was Akiyama Yoshihuru. He was born into
a poor samurai family of Kachi - footman, only one rank
superior to that of Ashigaru in Matasyama-han, Shikoku.
Father's anual salary was only 10 koku of rice. He wanted
to receive high eduation but his father was so poor to afford
to give him high education.
He entered Military Academy because its education was free
and some salary was paid to the students. Matsuyama-han
of Lord Hisamatsu ( Matsudaira ) with 150,000 koku of rice
production was treated as Shin-pan (relatives of the shogun )
and Lord Hisamatsu was permitted to use the coat of arms
of " Mitsuba-Aoi ".
Matsuyama-han fought against the troops of the government
in which the samurai of Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa and Hizen
clans had important posts in the government. Those samurais
of the clans who fought againt the government's troops were discriminated. On the other hand, the Meiji goverment encouraged learning and education. The talented and qualified people had the equal opportunities to obtain important posts regardless of the clans to which they had belonged.
In 1879, Yoshihuru graduated from the cavalry department of the Military Academy and became
second lieutenant. Although he was very young, he soon became a professor of cavalry, because
only his three classmates learned cavalry in the Military Academy. Mounted combat was last used
in the Kamakura period. They had fought one against another on horseback and not as group.
According to Yoshihuru, Minamoto no Yoshitsune was the only warrior who used cavalry in the
real sense of the word. Many people could not understand what the cavalry was. The modern
cavalry began with only 20 horses.
After the fall of the shogunate, 276 warlords were called to live in Tokyo. The new government of
Meiji gave great privileges to the former warlords ( Daimyo ) although they abolished soon all
the privileges of the ordianry samurai. The daimyo with a territory of more than 150,000 koku of
rice production were nominated Kooshaku - Marquis, and those with less than 150,000 koku
and over 50,000 koku Hakusyaku - count, those with less than 50,000 and over 10,000 koku
Shishaku - viscount. Even those who had not been daimyo could obtain the title of nobility
according to their contributions to the Nation.
The vice-admiral Enomoto Takeaki bacame viscount for his services to the country although he
had been only a Hatamoto, a simple retainer of the shogun. The last shogun Yoshinobu was
bestowed the title of duke, the title usually erserved for the noblemen related to the Imperial
House. The Marshal general Oyama Iwao of the former Satsuma clan was also conferred the
supreme title of duke because he was considered as a savior of the country as he was
Commander in Chief of the Japanese Army in the Russo-Japanese War.A state funeral was
held for him.
General Kodama Gentaro of the former Choshu clan, the chief of General Staff in the Russo-
Japanese War,became viscount, and postumously count. Itoh Hirobumi bacame count and
then duke, the same rank of the title of the former shogun. He had been a son of a poor
samurai of the Shoshu clan. General Akiyama Yoshihuru had no title of nobility, because
he declined to accept any noble title. A son of a merchant or peasant could obtain a title of
noble class according to his contributions to the country.
The former daimyo were well-off, with the payment by the government, being freed from the
obligation to pay to the retainers. Lord Hisamatsu Sadakoto of Matsuyama became Count
Hisamatsu. He believed that the members of the new nobility should be educated and be
models of common people and must not live aloof from the society. At the end of Edo period
and in the Boshin War at the beginning of Meiji, no warlord fought at the head of the troops.
The revolution of Meiji was carried out by the low class samurai.
The Count decided to go to France to study. In the new Era of Meiji, he did not have already
any retainers to accompany him to Europe. Some people said although the feudal system had
been abolished, one who had been an important daimyo like Count Hisamatsu should not
go alone to France and somebody who had been his retainer should accompany him as his
Akiyama Yoshihuru was recommended as his tutor who would accompany the Count. .
He did not want to go to France, because the main currents in the army were Germans. One
who would study the French miitary arts were believed to surely delay in promotion in the
military ranks. But, there was not any qualified person who was wiiling to go to France. He,
therefore, accepted to go to France. In 1887 ( The twentyth year of Meiji), he went to France.
In France, Akiyama Yoshihuru studied cavalry. He believed that the French cavalry was better
than German Cavalry. In German cavalry, the horse was not considered as a living creature
and German Cavalry was too pompous. When the Minister of the House Affairs Yamagata
Aritomo visited him in France, he explained about the French cavalry and said that the
French chivalry should be adopted officially in Japan and Yamagata accepted it.
In the Sino-Japanese War, he took part in the War as major of the first Brigade of Cavalry
which he organized. After the War, he bacame the principal of the School of Cavalry.
Around 1898, a devastating drought was driving people to the edge of starvation in the
province of Shantung. Those poor people were attracted towards the society of people
called I-ho-chuan - the band of righteous and harmonious fists - called Giwadan in
Japanese. Those people were anti-foreigner and and anti-Christian. They believed in
a kind of mystic Buddhism and they practised martial arts. They believed that they could
be bullet-proof with hard training. Only the leaders had weapons and ordinary members
of the bands did not used weapons but used their fists. The westerners called them
In the province of Shangtung, Germany had a concession with railway, churches and
factories. Much land was occupied by Germans. The boxers began attacking German
Christian misionaries and Chinese Christians and other German citizens destroying
the German churches, railways and factories. They passed across the border of
Shantung and marched towards Peijing increasing in number. At first, they wanted to
overthrow the government which allowed foreigners to come and treat them like slaves
and to expel "foreign devils ". But, empress dowager Cixi wanted to make use of them
to expell western invaders from China through her ministers who negotiated with the
They began to use the slogan of " Assist China of Qing dynasty and expel foreign
devils ". When they entered Peijing, they became 200,000. The ministers of foreign
countries demanded Chinese government to stop their movements. The empress
dowager Cixi told the diplomats of Western counties that she would crush the
rebellion soon. Her government was actually encouraging them to attack the
Westerners. In June 1900, a secretary of Japanese Legation was killed and also
German minister Ketler. Unbelievably, the chinese government declared war against
the foreign countries and and ordered the rebellion troops and its own government
forces to enter into war to expell foreigners.
The foreign diplomats and citizens defended themselves with a small force of military
personnel in the hastely made defenses of the foreign legation quarter. The
international relief force of eight powers of 20,000 strong of Great Britain, Germany,
France, Russia, America, Australia and Italy, arrived to rescue them. Japan dispatched
from Hiroshima 8,000 men. The Japanese force was the largest .Japan had most
Great Britain asked Japan to send troops to China because Japan is closer to China than
the European countries. However, Germany and Russia did not want the Japanese troops
to be sent to China because they feared that Japan would demand its share of the prizes
after the war.
Back in 1895, Russia together with Germany and France threatened Japan and forced
Japan to return back the peninsula of Liao-tung which Japan had acquired in the
Shimonoseki Treaty after the Sino-Japanese War. Russia soon possessed a part of
Liao-tung peninsula and there established the fortified city of Port Aruthur. In 1898,
Germany acquired her concession at Qingtao in the Shantung province. France
obtained her concession in 1898 in Kwangchowwan.
Japan knew that she would continue to suffer humiliation at the hands of other powerful
countries unless she became a formidable miltary power. Within ten years Japan was
not only able to detain Russian advance in the far East, but she was also able to regain
the city of Port Arthur. In the World War I, Japan occupied the Gereman concession at
Qingtao in 1914, which Japan returned to China in 1922. The French concession in
Kwagchowwan became under the Japanese occupation in 1940-1945. It was returned
to China when Japan was defeated in 1945 in the World War II.
The besieged forces in Peijin legation quarter withstood the attack of the Chinese troops
during 2 months at the command of Lieutenant Colonel Shiba Goro who happened to be in
China as a military attache, until the rescue forces would arrive.
Admiral Seymour of Great Britain expressed a sincere gratitude to major general
Fukushima Yasumasa for brave combat of Lieutenant Coronel Shiba Goro. The War of
the Boxer Rebellion paved the way for Japan to revise in 1911 the hummiliating unequal
treaties with the Western powers obtaining the rights to decide on the custom duties.
The equal and reciprocal judicial rights had been obtained already until 1899.
Lieutenant Colonel Shiba Goro was born into a samuai family of the Aizu clan which fought
to the last against the forces of the new government. His house was burnt down in the
Boshin War. The samurai of the Aizu clan were sent to an infertile and cold land in Tsugaru.
All of them were almost starving. His father said ; " Forbear hardship. Consider this land
a battle field. We must win. "
He entered the Military Academy and rose to be a general in the army where former samurai
of Satsuma and Choshu clans were dominant. In China, after the War of the Boxer rebellion,
Shiba Goro told his men not to treat ill Chinese people and not to ransack their houses.
In " The Forbidden City " of Peijin, ransacking, rape and murder were not forbidden for the
Western troops. Russian general Linevich himself ransacked Chinese buildings. Marshal
Waldersee of Germany ordered his men to bomb a large area of a Chinese town outside of
Peiking for the purpose of artillery excercise. Russia did not withdrew its troops from
Manchuria after the war ended.
Akiyama Yoshihuru was colonel and supervisor of logistics at Peking. He forbade his
men to take anything back from China except swords, lances and other weapons,
which were permitted as tokens for their brave combats, whi they could pass on to
their descendants. The discipline of Japanese soldiers was maintained very severe.
No Japanese soldier ransacked Chinese buildings. It was shocking for Japanese to
see how Chinese were treated by Westeners. Many high rank officers had one been
samurai or sons of samurai.
Some high rank officers asked Yoshihuru for special permission to take back some
articles to Japan. He declined the requests.
He took part in the Russo-Japanese War which broke out in 1904 commanding his First
Brigade of Cavalry which belonged to th Japanese Army under Marshal General Oyama Iwao
of the former Satsuma clan and a chief of General Staff, general Kodama Gentaro of Choshu.
His First Brigade of Cavalry was only one Japanese Chivalry force which took part in the
Battle of Mukden in which seven Russian cavalry divisiones and two Russian cavalry brigades
took part. The three divisiones of them and one brigade were of the famous brave and skillful
In the Battle of Mukeden ( 丂曭揤丂亅丂Hooten in Japanese, Feng tien in Chinese ), 320,000
Russian soldiers under the command of Alexei Nicolaevich Kuropatkin and 250,000
Japanese soldiers clashed. Both Japanese and Russian soldiers fought bravely a fierce
battle. 90,000 Russian soldiers died, and 70,000 Japanese soldiers died. Akiyama
Yoshihuru defended well the Left Wing against the numerous Cosacks. The Russians
retreated and the Japanese troops, exhausted,didn't not pursue them. They occupied the
deserted city of Mukden. 20,773 Russian prisoners of war were carried to Japan.
Akiyana Yoshihuru rose to be captain general. Accoding to one of his classmate in the Military
Academy, he declined the title of Marshal - Gensui. After his retirement from military career, he
returned to his home town Matsuyama and worked as a principal of a middle school. That was
the only middle school which had a general as principal.
He had several nicknames like general Hindenburg of Japan, " Father of Japanese Cavalry "
but the most fitting nickname for him was " The Last Old Samurai ". One of his classmates in
the Military Academy, Marshal Uehara Yusaku said : " He was the Last Old Samurai. Japan will
never have again a soldier like him in its history. "
His younger brother Akiyama Masayuki fought at sea. He was graduated as class Valedictorian
from the Naval academy. He was at the side of Admiral Togo Heihachiro from Satsuma on board
the flag ship " Mikasa ". It was said that he was like a fountain and wise strategic plans sprang
out of him like fountain water. He was a good friend of the great contemporary Haiku poet
Masaoka Shiki. Masayuki had also literary talent. Some military messages he sent on behalf of
Admiral Togo had an elegant literary flavor. His message declaring the dissolution of of the
United Fleet of the war formation written in the name of admiral Togo Heihachiro was well-known.
The president of the United States read the english translation and was so moved that he ordered
that the text should be delivered to soldiers and officers of the Navy. He sent it also to King
Edward VII of Great Britain.
Declaration dissolving the United Fleet :
The 20 month long war has ended and became already a thing of the past. Now, we disband the
United Fleet as it completed its mission. Our responsiblity and duty as naval soldiers, however,
has not reduced. We must be prepared at all times for any invasion by enemies from outside.
Therefore, our naval power should be maintained in both war times and peace times. Let us now
try to make our country more prosperous, by making the best use of the fruits of the victory that we
Th military power does not lie only in the quantity of warships and armament but also in the skill
to use them. We must understand that if one cannon of ours can hit the target one hundred times
on end, and if each of 100 cannons of enemies' can hit the targret only 1 % of the time, our one
cannon can be strong enough against 100 cannons of the enemies. Therefore, we must not
consider military power as merely a sum of visible armament. Rather, as stated before, we must
consider the skill involved in the use of the armament.
The victory of our Navy in the war last time was due to the honorable virtues of our Mejesty the
Emperor as well as to the navy's constant hard training which brought about the victory. If we
consider what has already happened as an indication of future events, we should not be rest
although the war is over.
We must bear in mind that the life of a warrior is the constant combat without any break. Our
responsibility and duty will not become smaller at peace times. We must use our military
power at war times and must have hard training at peace times. We must fulfill our duty all
It was not easy to combat against brave winds and waves during more than 1 year and a half,
against the unhospitable weathers, and against the formidable enemies, but all what we
experienced were a long term traning and we must feel happy as warriors that we learned
much from that training. Don't say that you suffered hardship.
We must be aware that if we remained rested in peace times, the armament which seems
strong is a castle on the sand. It will be destroyed easily with a tempest.
In ancient times, our Empress Jinguu conquered three Korean nations. They were under
Japanese rule during four centuries. But, once our naval forces became week, Japan lost
them very soon. In more recent times, the Tokugawa shogunate was accustomed to a long
peace and neglected the national defenses, and with several American warships which
came to Japan, the whole nation was quite at a loss what to do with them.
Moreover, when the Russian warships hanged around the Kuril Islands and the Sakalin
Island, we could not drive them away. Now, reflecting on the history of the Western countries,
Great Britain, at the beginning of the XIX century, after the victory in the naval battles of
Trafalgar and Niles, put the nation well at ease. She continued to build up unweavingly military
forces, keeping abreast with the advancement of the world, and has been able to defend the
national interests and to expand the national prestage.
The historical examples in the West and the East which we mentioned were largely the
results of the politics. They were also the results of the constant military preparation againt
the enemies from outside. We, the soldiers, must reflect on these things, and aim at further
advancement in our skill by hard training and real combats we have experienced. If we bear
deeply in mind the honorable intention of the emperor and keep at its best always our skill,
we will be able to fulfill our noble duty to defend our country.
God gives laurel wreaths to those who have a hard training constantly every day and will take off
laurel wreaths from those who are rested at ease, not endevoring to improve their skill. Our
ancient warriors said :
" Tighten up your helmet string after winning a battle. "
On December 21st 1905 ( The 38th year of the Meiji Era. )
Commander in chief of the United Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro
Almost all of the strategic plans in the Battle of Tsushima was made by him. The deployment
of the ships was so unique that no Western country had ever experienced in their naval battles.
When he was a child, the house of one of his classmates had many old books of combat at sea
of Suigun -ancient marine warriors. He was able to read those books.
Suigun were called also " Kaizoku -pirates ". They sometimes conducted piracy at sea, but
sometimes traders and were even policemen at sea in the Muromachi Period. They were
pilots in the Seto Island Sea who guided ships through the rapid currents among many
islands. Akiyama Yoshihuru put the marine martial arts of the marine samurai in the
Civil War " Sengoku " period into practice.
About these two eminent soldiers and poet Masaoka Shiki, Osakan writer Shiba Ryotaro
wrote a novel enitled " Saka no Ue no Kuro - The clouds over the slope ". Regrettably, so far
to my knowledge it has not been translated into English yet.
Statue of Saigo
Ueno Park in
The new government of Meiji with those who had been
samurais of low and middle ranks of Satsuma, Choushu,
Tosa and Hizen had a solid foundation after defeating
the rebels in the northern regions of Japan.
The discontent of the samurai lingered on, however, in
Kanto, in the west of Honshu and Kyushu about 8 years
more until 1877 ( the tenth year of the Meiji Era ).
In 1873, one of the three important persons who contributed to
the Meiji Restauration, Saigo Takamori, resigned his important
posts in the new government, as an army general and a
councilor of the state and returned home to Kagoshima,
because he did not agree with several policies of the new
government and specially because his opinion to make
Korea open her doors to the international society as Japan
did, even using military forces and make Korea an ally of
Japan against the Western threats.
Saigo was disappointed with some leaders of the new Meiji government who lived in large houses like palaces, forgetting their frugal ways and the self-sacrifice of a samurai. Saigo Takamori fought to destroy the shogunate and to restore the imperial power, he did not fight to ruin the traditional ways of acting and think ing of samurai - Bushido.
As Saigo Takamori was a charismatic person among Satsuma people, 600 high ranking officials within the new government, military and civilian, also resigned and went back home to Satsuma.
In the background of the incident in 1873 of massive resignations of the leaders from the
goverment, there were complicated conflicts of ideas and interests among different groups
of people. Saigo Takamori, back in Kagoshima, spent day by day, working in the field as a
farmer, and also hunting and fishing. He built a private school for young former samurai.
The discontent of the former samurai went on growing. The new government wanted to build a
modern army and navy of all people of every social background. Therefore,in 1876, it stopped
paying the salaries to the former samurai.To make some compensation for the lost priviledges
of samurai,the government issued bonds. Some former samurai started business selling the
bonds. However, not many of them were successful. People laughted at their businesses,
calling them " Bushi no Shoohoo - Business of samurai ". The former samurai were prohibitted
to carry swords.
Satsuma province became like an independent country of people who did not agree with the
policies of the government in Tokyo. Okubo Toshimichi ordered Kawaji Toshinaga, the
Commissioner of the Police, to send some spies to the Satsuma province to search of any
signs of a revolt against the Meiji government.
The spilit of the Satuma clan was very tragic. Okubo Toshimishi had been a close friend of
Saigo Takamori from infancy, as both of them were born in the same neighborhood in
Satsuma. Both of them respected each other and had fought together to destroy the Tokugawa
government and to build the new regime of the modern national government. However, Okubo
Toshimichi had to be antagonistic towards Saigo Takamori to keep order in Japan. For
Kawaji Toshinaga, Saigo Takamori was his great benefactor and master. He could learn the
police system in France and could obtain an important post in the governement thanks to
the favors he had received from Saigo Takamori, although he was a son of a low rank samurai.
His master Saigo Takamori taught him that one must be devoted to the benefit of the country
being free from any personal feelings and interests.He decided to be faithful to the teaching
of his master Saigo Takamori even being antagonistic toward him.
Saigo Jyudo, younger brother of Saigo Takamori, did not agree with the opinion of his brother
Takamori and took sides with the government. The sad and tragic confrontation beween
friends and family members was coming soon.
In January 1877, some of the secret agents sent by the government were detained by the
students of Saigo's school. Some of the agents are said to have confessed that they were sent
to Kagoshima to assassinate Saigo Takamori. But, some people say that the students
misunderstood the word - Shisatsu.which has two meanings in Japanese language, inspection
and assassination. The agents should have meant to say that their object was to inspect the
situation in Kagoshima.
On 30th January 1877, the mad students assaulted the government arsenal in Kagoshima.
Young former Samurai decided to rise in rebellion against the government. They asked Saigo
Takamori to be the commander in chief of the rebellion troops.
The troops of 13,000 former samurai of Satsuma started advancing northward on February 15th
1877and attacked Kumamoto Castle which resisted the attacks of Satsuma rebellion troops
and as the government troops landed the Ktyushu Island, only 3,000 men were left to continue
attacking Kumamoto Castle, and the main forces went to Tabaruzaka.
This rebellion is callled " Seinan Sensoo - The South-western Rebellion War ". Many former
samurai from other regions came to Kyushu to join the rebellion troops. The fierce battles
were fought in Miyazaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima. The most fierce battle was fought at
Tabaruzaka, Kumamoto. The battle lasted 17 days and nights. The govement troops used
320,000 bullets each day and had more than 100 casualities each day. The battle field was
covered with dead bodies and blood. The Satsuma troops became short of ammunition and
food and were defeated. They fled to Kagosima and Saigo Takamori and 300 mens of
Satsuma were sorrounded by 50,000 soldiers of the govermet troops. Saigo Takamori
The war ended on 24th September 1877. Satsuma troops had 6,765 casualties, unbelievably
the half of them. The government had suffered 6,405 dead soldiers.
Nobody is so respected as Saigo Takamori in Kagoshima. He has been a model of the true
samurai. In Kagoshima, there is a statue of Saigo Takamori in military uniform in Kagoshima.
But, the more well-known statue of Saigo in the Ueno Park, Tokyo wears a simple kimono
for taking a walk with his dog, and not on horseback nor wears a military unform with many
medals. The sculptor Takamura Kooun wanted to show his legendary character of a
statesman who did not want wealth nor high social distinctions. He awed the heaven and
loved people and his dog, being content with a frugal life.
In the inaugural ceremony of the statue in 1898, the wife of Saigo Takamori said : " The statue
does not look like my husband. "
Saigo Takamori could be said to be the boss of the rebels who fought against the forces of the
emperor. It must be difficult to understand for many of you why he was and is respected by
so many people in Satsuma and Japan. Some stories about him told by his admirors would
confuse you more than clarify why he was respected so much. Many samurai who met him were
charmed by his personality. He charmed people with some aura he had. He was not
an eloquent speaker. He did write any famous books. In Satsuma, " don't be argumentative " is
one of the moral codes of the people. Some samurai who visited the Saigo's house intending
to assassinate him did not do so, and instead, became great admirers of Saigo Takamori.
The followings are some of the words of silent Saigo don - as he was called in Satsuma, which
have been guiding words for the people of Satsuma.
" Those who are willing to lose life, and do not want to have fame nor money are difficut to deal
with, but the difficult tasks of the state can be realized only by those foolish people who do not
ask for anything. "
" Bear in mind always the will of Heaven and not the will of man. Be sincere with Heaven.
Don't find faults with others. Be aware of your own faults. "
" Heaven and Nature show us the path we must advance on. You must awe Heaven who
love equally you and others. Love other people just like you love yourselves. "
" Those who perform the sacred duties of govenment must listen to the voice of Heaven
and follow it. Do not act according to your personal interests nor your personal wishes.
Sellect wise persons for important positions which Heaven dictates. Do not walk stray
from the path which Haeven dictates you to walk on. "
Owe the Heaven and love
This laconic philosophy of Saigo is condensed into
the 4 chinese characters " Kei -Ten - Ai - Jin " - Owe
Heaven and Love Man.
The people of Satsuma do not like to be argumentative.
Due to changes in the social sctructures, their traditions
and their ways of thinking and acting have changed
The people of Satsuma, or " Satsuma Hayato ", who lived
for honor, however, have not disappeared completely.
In 2000, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Battle of Sekigahara, the Great Exposicions of martial arts were held in the " Sengen-en ( Iso Teien ) " Garden of the Palace of lord Shimazu. Thousands of people of Kagoshima demonstrated many excellent martial arts of different types
of different schools.
On the fourth Sunday of October every year, they will held a 40 kilometer march. They march
day and night fully armed as warriors from the Myoen-ji temple in Ijuin town to Kagoshima city
and back to the Myoen-ji temple to bear in mind the hard combat and return to Satsuma at the
times of the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
The tradition of the marcial spirit has been preserved until today in Kagoshima.
( 1834 - 1879 )
Founder of the modern
Police of Japan
Kawaji Toshinaga was born in 1834 in Minayoshi-cho, KagoshimaIn 1872, he was nominated as Insperctor General of the Police.
into a samura-policeman " Yoriki " family. In 1868, he fought in the
Battle of Toba-Fushimi and in attacking the Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle.
In September 1872, he was sent to Europe to study the advanced
police system in Europe. The French police impressed him as
it was the guardians of the citizens and nation.
In 1874, he established the Tokyo Motropolitan City Police Agency and he bacame the first director general of the National Police Agency.
Kawaji Toshiyoshi respected Saigo Takamori who gave him the chance to go to Europe and gave him the important position in the government.
He was informed of the discontented Satsuma people who are admirers of Saigo Takamori.
They might rise in rebelion at any moment. Kawaji Toshiyoshi sent several secret agents to
Satsuma in January 1877. Some of them were caught by the students of Saigo.
One of them confessed that the purpose of his trip to Kagoshima was " Shisatsu ". This
word has two meanings in japanese. " Inspection" and " Assassination ". The students
of Saigo believed that they were sent bto Kagoshima to assassinate Saigo Takamori.
When the War Seinan Senso happened, he organized the special brigade of policemen.
Many of them had been low class samurai of Satsuma. There were also policemen
who had been soldiers of Shogunate troops defeated by the government troops. They
wanted to take revenge on the samurai of Satsuma. Now, they belonged to the army
of the emperor and their combating this time could be justified. The government's troops
have many farmers who were frightened at the brave warriors of Saigo.
The low class samurai of Satsuma called " Goushi " lived far away from the castle and
they were farmer-warriors. Many of them entered the Police headed by Kawaji. Many
of high rank samurai of Satsuma entered the army headed by Saigo Takamori.
In 1879, Kawaji Toshinaga travelled to France for the second time to study more about
the French Police. In Paris, he fell ill. He retuned back on October 8th 1879, in a dangerous
situation and died five days later at the age of 45 years old.
It was distressing for him to make war against Saigo Takamori and his men who were his
friends and relatives. But, it was Saigo who taught him that the important tasks of Nation
should be performed free from personal feelings listening to the voice of the Heaven.
In Kagoshima, Kawaji Toshinaga and Okubo Toshimichi have been disliked, because
they made war against their friends and relatives heasded by Saigo. The statue of Kawai
Toshinaga, the father of the modern Japanese Police, however. is in front of the Kagoshima
Prefectural Police Station. 120 years after his death, it was erected in 1999.
Now, in the year 2004, there is some controversity over the corruption of policemen. The
number of crimes has icreased significantly as the foreign population has increased to
1,850,000 y the arrest rate has went down. The Japanese, however, is the best in the
Ezra F. Vogel wrote " Japan No.1 - lessons for America which was published in 1979
by Harvard Press. In the champer 9 of the part 2, Vogel wrote ; " Crime Control :
Enforcement and Public Support.
The following article is the translation of " Memory of my infancy - martial art of Jigen-ryu
written by Mr. I. Noda who live in Kagoshima prefecture. Jigen-ryu was a school of martial
art to use a sword. This martial art was developed in Satsuma. Mr. I. Noda permitted me to
translate his article written in Japanese and take in my web.page their photos in " Kagoshima
Yuuho - Strolling in Kagoshima " ( http://www005.upp.so-net.ne.jp/a-kgs//index.htm)
Saigo Takamori, Okubo Toshimichi, admiral Togo Heihachiro and many samurai of
Satsuma, mostly of low class, learned the martial art of sword " Nodachi-Jigenryu ( Yakumaru
Jigenryu ), sub-school of Jigen-ryu founded by Togo Chuui, martial art of sword which
samurai of high rank of Satsuma learned.
Nakamura Hanjiroo, known for his nick-name " Hanjiro the killer " was expert in Nodachi
Jigenryu. Some people say, therefore, that the Meiji Restauration was realized by the martial
art of Nodachi Jigen-ryu ( Yakumaru Jigenryu ).
The martial art " Togo Jigen-ryu " learned by the high rank samurai of Satsuma has some
theory and philosophy, because Togo Chuui learned " Tenshin Sho Jigen-ryu " from Buddhist
Circa the year 1600, Togo Chuui developed two schools of the martial art integrating them into
the school of " Jigen-ryu ". One of his his disciples Yakumaru Kanetaka founded his own
school of more practical martial art Nodachi Jigen-ryu ( Yakumaru Jigen-ryu), integrating
the Jingen-ryu and the ancestral martial art of his family Nodachi-ryu.
Lord Shimazu nominated Togo Chuui as an official master of martial art " Jigen-ryu " of
Satsuma-han and encouraged him to promote his martial art as an official martial art of
Satsuma-han. The Martial art of sword Jigen-ryu formed the spirit and the body of the
The only aim of the martial art Nodachi Jigenryu ( Yakumaru Jigenryu) was to kill one's
enemy and so, it didn't have a complicated philosophy associated with it.
They practiced the martial art Jigen-ryu, by putting two X shaped supporting wooden struts
on the ground and by nestling some wood into their cruxes spanning them. They struck
them 3,000 times with a wooden stick in the morning and 8,000 times in the evening.
The grade of a practicioner's skill was determined by his speed. The attack's speed was its
strength. The maximum level of skill is called " Unyoo " which means lightning. It was an
attack that took 1/1,800th of a heartbeat, and has only been attained by the founder of
Jigen-ryu Togo Shuui.
The wood struck by experts of certain high level will give off scorching smoke. In the martial
art Jigen-ryu, there is only an attack ( Seme ) and there is no defense ( Uke ). The second
attacks are not considered. With only one strike, the armature, bone and flesh should be cut.
Even Kondo Isamu, the head of the Shinsen-gumi warned his men to avoid the first attack of the
martial art Jigen-ryu of the samurai of Satsuma. Even the fearless samurai of the Shinsen-gumi
were afraid of the martial art of sword Yakumaru Jigen-ryu. Takayama Yahei, who came from
Satsuma was the only samurai in the Shinsen-gumi who knew the martial art " Jigen-ryu ".
In the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, Many heads of the dead samurai of the shogunate forces were
found with the back of their own swords driven into their foreheads. They could not defend the
attack of Jigen-ryu with their swords which were driven back into their foreheads by the fierce
attack of Satsuma Jigen-ryu. The bones of many skulls were found broken.
The martial art of sword Jigen-ryu had been taught and learned confidentially among the
samurai only in Satsuma during many years. In 1995, however, the twelfth successor of the
marcial art Jigen-ryu Togo Shigetoku founded " Jigen-ryu Togo Zaidan Foundation " to promote
the martial art " Jigen-ryu". In 1997, the traning school " Jigen-ryu Hiehoo Sho " and the
museum " Jigen-ryu Shiryo-kan " were built near the Xavier Park. The martial " Jigen-ryu " is
no longer the secret art of swordplay known onlt to the Satsuma clan that it used to be. . The art
will be exhibited in many contests and the festivals.
" The Memory of my infant days and the Martial art " Jigen-ryu "
When I was hardly in first grade of elementary school, my father taught a martial art to two
of my brothers and me. It was not the usual practice of Kendo with a well-finished wooden or
bamboo sword, mask and and protective gear. It was simply striking wood with a wooden
The picture of a little
samurai happy with asword
is the translator and the
writer of this article
circa the year 1944.
We did not play at
computer games. We
enjoyed sword plays
" Chambara Gokko "
( The picture was taken
during the Second
World War in 1944. Japan
surrendered in 1945)
We put some wood across the X shaped wooden
struts placed at some distance. From the entrance of
my house, we ran through the garden about 50-60
meters to the wood, and struck it strongly giving
a sharp cry of " Yeee ".
Even when my father was absent, I would enjoy striking
the wood many times with my brothers. At that time, we
were living in a house which seemed to have been
a house of the samurai in Ijyuuin-cho where there had
been the castle of lord Shimazu during some time in
the past, and people there were conservative.
I thought what I learned was the martial art Jigen-ryu.
But, when I grew up, I came to know that the martial art
I learned is, more precisely, was the Nodachi-Jigen-ryu,
a branch of the Jigen-ryu.
My father did not learned it formally. My grand-father must
have taught him to practice it.
The original text in Japanese was written in Japanese by Mr.I Noda, true-born Kagoshiman.Translated into Ebglish on July 15th 2004 by Hiroaki Sasaki.
( The translation is not the faithful translation in 100 % of the original Japnese text. )
St. Francis Xavier preaching
St. Francis Xavier
Municipal Museum of Kobe, Japan
Monument of the stay in
Kagoshima of St. Francis Xavier
( A part of the church bombed
in 1945 during the Second World
War. The new church is across the
road from this monument. )
St. Francis Xavier talking about Buddhism
and Christianity with the Buddhist priest
Ninjitsu of the Buddhist Temple
" Fukushoo-ji "
In India, one Portuguese merchant said to St. Francis Xavier that beyond the Pgillipines,
there is a country of civlilized people called Japan. In Malaca, he knew in 1547 a samurai
from Satsuma called Yajiroo. St. Francis Xavier was impressed with intelligence of Yajiroo
who told him about Japan. St. Francis Xavier wanted to go to the country of Yajiroo/
On August 15th 1549, St.Francis Xavier landed on the beach of Kagoshima accompanied by
He became a good friend of the Buddhist priest Ninjitsu of the Buddhist temple Fukushoo-ji.
They talked about Buddhism and Christianity. In September, he met Lord Shimazu Takahisa
who permitted him to preach Christianity in Satsuma. In July 1550, lord Shimazu prohibitted
Christian faith to be prechaed in his domain, because there were protests against Chrtistian
faith by the Buddhist priests who were not tolerant with Christianity, and also because the
Portuguese mercantile vessels stopped caming to Satsuma and began coming to Hirado.
He went to Hirado. During 10 months of his stay in Kagoshima, 100 Japanese became
Chtristians. This was his modest step of the religious activities. In a few decades, hundreds
of thousands of Japanese would became Christians,
People of Satsuma were the first Japanese whom St.Francis Xavier knew. On November 3rd,
1549, only two and half months after the arrival to Satsunma, he wrote a letter to one of his
" Of all the peoples I have seen, any other people can not be compared to Japanese people
for their nature. They are perfectly sincere, frank, faithful, indigenous, mindful of honor and
dignity. The honor is more important than anything for them. Most of them are poor. But, poverty
is not a shame for them.
Almost all of them can read, which is very helpful for us to make them learn prayers, and the
basic teaching of Christianity. I had some interviews with some distinguished Buddhist
priests who are highly respected in this country. ..... " He wrote about " Japanese people "
but he knew only the people of Satsuma. He wrote about the people of Satsuma.
When St.Francis Xavier left Japan in 1551, one Japanese whose Christian name was Bernardo
accompanied him. he studied at Coimbra university, Portugal and died very young. He was the
first Japanese who went to Europe. We are not familiar with this fact, as there is almost no
information about him.
Mosot of us believe that the juvenile sent by the Christian warlords in Kyushu 3 decades later
wetre the first Japanese who went to Europe.
The Martial art " Jigen-ryu " of
The Martial art of " Nodachi-Jigen-ryu
( Yakumaru Jigen-ryu )
The martial art
" Satsuma Kageno-ryu "
The Martial Arts of
" Kurama yooshin-jutsu丂亅
of many kinds of martial arts
The Martial art " Muso Shinden Iaido "
Martial art " Nodachi Jigen-ryuu
( Yakumaru Nodachi Jigen-ryuu ) "
Ushiwaka-maru and Benkei on the
bridge of Gojo, Kyoto
From the text book of Japanese language
for elementary school published in
( 1835 - 1885 )
The first president of the Chamber of
Commerce and Industry of Osaka
Statue of Godai Tomoatsu
at the Chamber of Commerce
and Industry of Osaka
Naginata - Cyokushin kage-ryu
The martial arts " Kurama yooshin-jutsu丂亅
synthesis of many martial arts
Acording to a legend for Japanese children, Minamoto no Yoshitsune whose name in his infancy
was Ushiwaka-maru, younger brother of the first Kamakura Shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo,
was deposited in a temple in ther Kurama mountain, in Kyoto. The red-faced and long-nosed
Tengu taught Ushiwakamaru super human martial arts.
At that time, there was a rumor in Kyoto that on the Gojo Bridge
in Kyoto, one priest-worrior would appear at night and
defeating samurai who passed through the bridge, robbed
their swords and other arms. His name was Beikei.
One day, Benkei found a little boy with swords passing
through the Gojo Bridge. Benkei thretened him and told
him to give up his swords, but the little boy refused to hand
his swords to him. Benkei tried to attack him with a sharp
Naginata. The little boy evaded the attack and jumped up
to the railing of the bridge4 like a Tengu. The little boy
was Ushiwaka-maru. Beikei, defeated by Ushikawa-maru,
offered him his service as his retainer. He would become
his most faithful retainer.
Yoshitsune is a person with many fantastic legends. When
he was called Ushiwakamaru, any super humantengu
of coutrse taught him martial arts, One of the Buddhist priests
Seibo taught martial arts to the priest Imadegawa Kiichi
Hoogen whose nickname was Kurama Tengu. Hoogen
taught martial arts to the little Ushiwaka-maru.
Some centuries later, in the second half of the XVIII century, one samurai of Satsuma, Shioda
Jindayu mastered completely the martial arts of Kurama Yooshinjutsu which was a synthesis
of many martial arts which includes Jujitsu, Ninjutsu, arts of sword, art of arrest armed criminals,
and other martial arts.
In 1879 ( the twelfth year of the meiji era ), when the National Police was founded, Satsuma
Yooshin-jutsu was adapted as official martial arts of the National Police. In 1948, a master
of Judo of the Kagoshima Police, Kitabatake Kiyonori developed the Satsuma Yooshin-jutsu
and created an art of arresting criminals. It was to evade an attack of an armed criminal and
get him down to the ground and bind theirs arms behind his back with a rope.
By the way, there are 6,000 policemen in the Kyoto Prefectural Police, about the half of them
are from Kyoto, and 25 % of them ( 1,500 ) come from the prefectures of kyushu, like Fukuoka,
Kumamoto, Oita and Kagoshima. The " Kyushu Danji - the strong and brave men of Kyushu
" have been always the best samurai, soldiers and policemen in Japan.
On March 13th 2004, the bullet trains between Shin-Yatsushiro ( Kumamoto ) and Kagoshima
went into operarion. The 127 kilometer ( 74.6 miles) trip was shortened from 130 minutes to 35 minutes.
The bullet trains which are called Tsubame " runs at an average speed of 218 kilometers per hour and
at the maximum speed of 260 kilometers per hour.
When the bullet train railways between Hakata ( Fukuoka ) and Kagoshima are completed in 2013,
the time of the trip between Hakata ( Fukuoka ) and Kagoshima will be shortened to one hour and twenty
minutes from the present 4 hours.
The bullet train " Kyushu
" Tsubame series 800 "
in Kumamoto pref.
and Kagoshima-chuo in
Written On July 16th 2004
by Hiroaki Sasaki
All copy rights are reserved.
(Under construction )
Questions & Suggestions
Map of sight 丂乮丂Index of information 乯丂
|©All copyrights are reserved - Wriiten on 23rd September 2004 - Hiroaki Sasaki
| Japanese garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This Japanese garden is one of
the best and biggest in South America. It has a function of the culture center of
Japan. Visit this page once in a while to see about the events to be presented
by the Japanese Culture Foundation.
Kagoshima City - The city of Fire
|丂The Town of Fire - Sakura-jima Cho|
| The Martial Art " Jigen-ryu Togo " Foundation. You can see some demonstrations
of the Jigen-ryu Martial art on video.
San Francisco Javier en Yamaguchi
Fortaleza del Real Felipe ( Fortress of Real Felipe )
El Callao, Peru
| Citadel ( Castle ) of Jaca, Huesca, Aragon, Spain.
|International Star-shaped Citadel Summit|