Matsura Takanobu

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This article is about the 16th-century samurai and 25th head of the Matsura clan. For the 17th-century daimyo and 28th head of the clan, see Matsura Takanobu (daimyo).
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Matsura".
Matsura Takanobu
Lord of Hirado
In office
Preceded by Matsura Okinobu
Succeeded by Matsura Shigenobu
Personal details
Nationality Japanese

Matsura Takanobu (松浦 隆信?, 1529 – April 1, 1599) or Taqua Nombo was a 16th-century Japanese samurai and 25th hereditary lord of the Matsura clan of Hirado. He was one of the most powerful feudal lords of Kyūshū and one of the first to allow trading with Europeans, particularly the Portuguese, through whom he amassed great profits in the import of western firearms. He was also an early host and patron to the Jesuits, who he hoped would help secure an increase in trade with the Portuguese and other European traders.[1]


After becoming lord of Hirado in 1543, the 15-year-old Takanobu was advised by Yasumasa Toyohisa. Toyohisa was a well-known samurai and cousin of the previous lord of Hirado and, under his guidance, the domains of the Koteda family were increased to include much of Ikitsuki, together with the islands of Takushima, Ojika, Noshima as well as the areas of Kasuga[disambiguation needed], Shishi[disambiguation needed] and Iira in Hirado. That same year he became an ally of a powerful wakō leader, inviting him to live in Hirado and allowing his band to dominate the outlying islands off Kyūshū.[2]

During the 1550s, he was involved in a fierce rivalry with the rival Ōmura clan, the Christian convert Ōmura Sumitada, who also competed for Portuguese trade. This rivalry lasted for over three decades, and long after Takanobu had retired, until Ōmura eventually became the Portuguese "port of call" having ceded Nagasaki to the Jesuits in 1580.

Although tolerant to the Kirishitan movement introduced to Japan (Takanobu welcomed Francis Xavier to Hirado in 1550[3] and his retainer Koteda Yasumasa became the first samurai to convert to Catholicism in 1551), he expelled the Jesuits from his domain in 1558. The evangelism of the Jesuits' followers resulted in the destruction of three Buddhist temples[citation needed] and throwing artifacts into the sea. A speech given by a Zen priest from Yasumandake spoke out against Father Gaspar Vilela and resulted in several mobs of Buddhist followers stoning the three churches in the area and, in one instance, toppling the cross from one church. This recent surge in religious violence forced Takanobu to ask Vilela to leave. He later forced Kato Saemon, lord of the district of Kato, into retirement in Nagasaki due to pressure from his brothers.

In 1568, he stepped down in favor of his son Shigenobu. His great-grandson, baptized in 1591 and also named Matsura Takanobu, was the 3rd daimyo of Hirado Domain under the Tokugawa shogunate.

Matsura Takanobu died in 1599.[4]


  1. ^ Lach, Donald F. Asia in the Making of Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. (pg. 667) ISBN 0-226-46732-5
  2. ^ Brown, Delmer M. Money Economy in Medieval Japan: A Study in the Use of Coins. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1951. (pg. 28)
  3. ^ Lidin, Olof G. (2003). Tanegashima - The Arrival of Europe in Japan. Routledge. p. 115. ISBN 9781135788711. 
  4. ^ Turnbull, Stephen R. The Kakure Kirishitan of Japan: A Study of Their Development, Beliefs and Rituals to the Present Day. Richmond, UK: Japan Library, 1998. (28-31, 38) ISBN 1-873410-70-0

Further reading[edit]

  • Muto, Chozo. A Short History of Anglo-Japanese Relations. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1936.
  • Sansom, G.B. The Western World and Japan: A Study in the Interaction of European and Asiatic Cultures. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1950.
  • Varg, Paul A. The Closing of the Door: Sino-American Relations, 1936–1946. Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1970.
Preceded by
Matsura Okinobu
Lord of Hirado
Succeeded by
Matsura Shigenobu