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All Under Heaven: Missionaries And Warlords

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Chapter Summary

Tanegashima and its neighbouring islands lay within the sphere of influence of the Shimazu family, lords of the Satsuma domain who ruled over an extensive territory on the mainland in southern Kyushu. In medieval times European ships had been confined to local waters, stretching from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seaboard in the south, to the Baltic and North seas. The appearance of 'black ships' laden with gold off the west coast and the growth of Christian communities added an extra dimension to the already complex struggle among the warring states in Kyushu. Although military campaigns were brutal, a distinctive samurai code of honour was developed and refined through the experience of the warring states. The tale of Takahashi's heroic defence of Iwaya lives on in local legend, and today a decorated float depicting him in full armour is kept on display in the bullet train foyer at Hakata Station.

Keywords: Christian communities; European ships; Hakata Station; Iwaya; Kyushu; Samurai warriors; Satsuma domain; Shimazu family; Takahashi; Tanegashima



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