Prince Shimazu Hisamitsu (島津 久光?, November 28, 1817 – December 6, 1887), also known as Shimazu Saburō (島津 三郎?), was a Japanese samurai of the late Edo period. The younger brother of Shimazu Nariakira, Hisamitsu served as regent for his underage son Tadayoshi (島津 忠義), who became the 12th and last lord. Hisamitsu was instrumental in the efforts of the southern Satsuma, Chōshū, and Tosa clans to bring down the Tokugawa Shogunate. Hisamitsu held the court title of Ōsumi no Kami 大隈守. In the Meiji Era, he was created prince in the Meiji-era kazoku nobility.
Hisamitsu was born in Kagoshima Castle in 1817, the son of Shimazu Narioki, the 10th lord of the Satsuma domain; Hisamitsu's name at birth was Kanenoshin; his mother was Yura, Narioki's concubine. He was briefly adopted by the Tanegashima family as an heir, but was returned to the Shimazu family while still a child. At age eight, he was adopted into the Shigetomi-Shimazu, a branch family of the main Shimazu house. Kanenoshin, now named Matajirō, came of age in 1828, and took the adult name Tadayuki (忠教?). At age 22, following his marriage to the daughter of the previous Shigetomi lord, Tadakimi, he inherited family headship. He was supported as a candidate for succession to the main Shimazu house during the Oyura Disturbance (お由羅騒動 Oyura sōdō?). His half-brother Nariakira won the dispute and succeeded their father as lord of Satsuma; however, following Nariakira's death in 1858, Tadayuki's young son Mochihisa (later known as Shimazu Tadayoshi (島津 忠義?)) was chosen as the next lord of Satsuma. Tadayuki gained a position of primacy in Satsuma, due to his status as the lord's father. He returned to the main Shimazu house in 1861, and it was then that he changed his name to Hisamitsu.
In 1862, Hisamitsu went to Kyoto, and took part in the increasingly Kyoto-centered politics of the 1860s; he was a part of the kōbu-gattai political faction. It was during Hisamitsu's return from a stay in Edo, when two English men on horse offended his retainers by refusing to dismount. The Englishmen`s failure to observe proper etiquette resulted in some argument, a chase, and they were killed. Some scholars suggest that the encounter and subsequent English deaths precipitated the Namamugi Incident. Hisamitsu remained at the core of the kōbu-gattai movement in Kyoto, until Satsuma's secret alliance with men of the Chōshū Domain. He supported the Satsuma domain's military actions in the Boshin War, and retired soon after the Meiji Restoration. In the Meiji era, he was given the rank of prince (kōshaku (公爵?)). Hisamitsu died in 1887, at age 70; he is buried in Kagoshima Prefecture.
From the article in the Japanese Wikipedia
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (15 July 1881)
- Prince (7 July 1884)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (5 November 1887)
Order of precedence
- Junior fourth rank (March 1864)
- Fourth rank (16 May 1864)
- Third rank (Sixth day, third month of the second year of Meiji (1869))
- Second rank (13th day, ninth month of the fourth year of Meiji (1871))
- Senior second rank (17 June 1879)
- First rank (21 September 1887)
- Shimazu Hisamitsu rireki 島津久光履歴.
- Shimazu Hisamitsu-kō jikki 島津久光公実紀 (1977). Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai 東京大学出版会. (published posthumously)
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- Kanbashi Norimasa 芳即正 (2002). Shimazu Hisamitsu to Meiji ishin: Hisamitsu wa naze, tōbaku wo ketsui shita ka 島津久光と明治維新 : 久光はなぜ, 討幕を決意したか. Tokyo: Shin Jinbutsu Ōraisha 新人物往来社.