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Introducing Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima!

This video, produced by Yomiuri Shimbun Online, is titled "Visiting History Books|Teppoki|Kagoshima|Tanegashima Island."
Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan's Kyushu region (九州地方, Kyushu Chiho), introduced in this video, is known as the place where firearms were first introduced to Japan.

The beginning of the video shows an aerial view of the beautiful Tanegashima Kadokura Cape, taken by drone.
Enjoy the rich natural scenery and the history of firearms in Japan!

Firearms on Tanegashima Island

Image of armored warriors holding matchlock guns
Photo:Armored warriors holding matchlock guns

Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima is a spot known for being where firearms where introduced to Japan.
The Portuguese, who came ashore Tanegashima Island in 1543, shared firearms, as well as manufacturing and shooting techniques.

At 0:27 in the video, we see a monument that commemorates the introduction of firearms to Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima.
The guns that were introduced to Tanegashima are large-barreled firearms called matchlock guns, and are also called "Tanegashima-Ju" (Tanegashima rifles).
In 1549, around the same time as the introduction of the guns, Christianity was introduced to Japan by European missionaries.

Where to See the History of Firearms on Tanegashima

Near the Tanegashima Development Center (Firearms Museum), introduced at 0:41 in the video, there is a statue of Tokitaka Tanegashima, the owner of the island who was said to be the first man who fired the firearms.
Tokitaka Tanegashima is also known for achieving the domestic production of matchlock guns.

Yaita Kinbei Kiyosada, shown at 1:17 in the video, is said to have duplicated the matchlocks and developed the screws necessary for firing the firearm.
This made it possible to mass-produce firearms, and during the Warring States Period many warlords could get firearms at low prices.

Visit Tanegashima Island!

Image of Kagoshima Prefecture・Tanegashima Island Caves
Photo:Kagoshima Prefecture・Tanegashima Island Caves

In addition to the spots related to firearms, there are many more sightseeing spots on Tanegashima Island. These include places like the Tanegashima Space Center, and Akaogijo Culture Traditional Museum Gessotei.

Be sure to check out the surrounding natural scenery at places like Kishigasaki Lighthouse, Urada Beach, Madate-no-Iwaya Cave, Chikura-no-Iwaya Cave, and the Banyan Tree Arch. In addition, the firearms festival is held every year in Tanegashima Island, and it attracts many tourists.

Summary of Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima

Image of Kagoshima Prefecture・Tanegashima Island
Photo:Kagoshima Prefecture・Tanegashima Island

As shown in the video, Tanegashima Island is a very attractive spot, rich with natural scenery. We invite you to explore the sights of Tanegashima and discover the deep history of firearms.

If you want to know more about firearms and the introduction of Christianity, we recommend visiting the Goto Islands (五島列島, Goto-Rettō) in Nagasaki Prefecture (長崎県, Nagasaki-Ken) as well.

【Official Website】Learn while playing on an Island in the South TANEGASHIMA | The Tanegashima Tourism Association

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Tanegashima Island: Where Guns Were First Introduced to Japan! Enjoy Sightseeing at Historical Locations on the Island Located in Kagoshima Prefecture!
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