Update : December 27, 2013

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History of Kagoshima

The most ancient historical remains in Kagoshima prefecture is the “Tachikiri-Iseki Relics” on Tanegashima Island, where traces of livelihood and animal pitfalls that date back to the Palaeolithic age (more than 30,000 years ago) have been discovered.


Traces of livelihood dating back to the Jomon period can also be seen all around Kagoshima. A pit dwelling site from 9,500 years ago was discovered at Uenohara in Kirishima city in 1997, confirming the fact that human beings had been residing in village settlements in Kagoshima during ancient times.

The ruins of the Yayoi Culture, which had been a largely agrarian culture dependant on rice crops, can be found everywhere in Japan. However, Kagoshima Prefecture was known for having both dry field crops and rice crops due in part to the abundance of Shirasu (volcanic ejecta) that covered the land throughout the Prefecture.

Japan had been unified into the Yamato Imperial Court from the second half of the third century to the beginning of the fourth century. Moreover, the southern part of Kyushu was under influence of the Yamato Imperial Court in the second half of the fourth century.

During the 8th century, the Satsuma and Osumi local governments were established and incorporated into the Ritsuryo Government (a law system based on the philosophies of Confucianism and Chinese legalism).



At the end of twelfth century, Minamoto-no-Yoritomo established samurai's administration, and they ruled Japan instead of the nobles. The Shimazu family extended influences little by little since then, and they soon rule almost the same area as present Kagoshima in the second half of the sixteenth century.

Kagoshima is the southern gateway to Japan , therefore trade with China , Korea , Ryukyu and the Asia-Pacific region has been flourishing for many years, and western culture was introduced during the sixteenth century.

The first gun had been brought into Japan when the Portuguese who rode on the Chinese ship had drifted ashore on Tanegashima Island about 1543. Saint Francis Xavier, the Jesuit missionary, had come to Kagoshima and introduced Christianity to Japan.

Kagoshima had concentrated enthusiasm on positively adopting western culture under the leadership of lord of Satsuma clan when Japan's isolation system had collapsed in the second half of the nineteenth century. Building reverberatory furnace and machine shops of every kind, sending young men to England for studying are some examples.
In this way, Kagoshima became powerful and had strong influence over Japan, which results in the overthrow of old government and establish new one.
New Japanese government of Meiji had changed old society, and had pressed on making modern unified nation. Able people in Kagoshima such like Takamori Saigoh and Toshimichi Okubo had fulfilled their responsible role in this government.
Kagoshima has produced many talented people, such as politicians, including the Prime Minister of Kiyotaka Kuroda, Masayoshi Matsukata, Gonbei Yamamoto and others, and a military man of Heihachiro Togoh and others, cultured men of Kiyoteru Kuroda (a painter) and others.