Satsuma Domain

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The Satsuma domain ( 薩摩藩, Satsuma Han) was one of the most powerful feudal domains in Tokugawa Japan, and played a major role in the Meiji Restoration and in the government of the Meiji period which followed. Controlled throughout the Edo period by the tozama daimyō of the Shimazu clan, its territory spanned the provinces of Satsuma, Osumi and the south-west region of Hyūga on the island of Kyūshū, and had the Ryūkyū Kingdom as a vassal state. The territory is largely contiguous with today's Kagoshima prefecture, and parts of Miyazaki prefecture.

Officially called Kagoshima han, the domain was ruled from Kagoshima Castle in Kagoshima city. Its kokudaka, the official measure of the domain's production, and therefore its wealth and power, was assessed at 770,000 koku for most of the period, the second highest kokudaka after that of Kaga Domain.


The Shimazu family controlled Satsuma province for roughly four centuries prior to the beginning of the Edo period and the establishment of the han, and towards the end of the 16th century, controlled nearly all of Kyūshū. Despite being chastised by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in his 1587 Kyūshū Campaign, and forced back to Satsuma, they remained one of the most powerful clans in the archipelago. During the decisive battle of Sekigahara, which took place in 1600 and put an end to the long period of war, the Shimazu stayed home in Satsuma, consolidating and protecting their power. While a great many clans fought and...
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