Online dictionary of history and traditions in Japan: Satsuma domain,Satsuma ware,Seinan war,Sekku,Sen no Rikyu,Senbei,Sengoku period,Sennin,Sesshu Toyo,Setsubun

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Satsuma domain

satsumahann shimaZuhann
alternative words: Satsuma han, Satsumahan, Seigniory of Satsuma, Satsuma, Shimazu domain, Shimazu han, Shimazuhan, Shimazu
keywords: meiji revolution, state
related topics: Minamoto no Yoritomo , Battle of Sekigahara , Edo shogunate , Meiji revolution , Saigo Takamori , Ryukyu , Choshu domain , Jito
related web sites: ,
explanation: Domain located in the southern Kyushu and controlled by Simazu family until the end of Edo shogunate. Shimazu was nominated as "Jito" (tax collector) by Minamoto no Yoritomo. Gradually Shimazu extended their domain to Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures. During the battle of Sekigahara, they were in the bad side but survived and even successfully conquered Okinawa kingdom in 1609. The domain became one of the main contributors of Meiji revolution thanks to Saigo Takamori.

Satsuma ware

alternative words: Satsumayaki, Satsuma-yaki, Satsuma yaki, Satsuma ceramic, Satsuma
keywords: art, craft, korea, thing
related topics: Invasion of Korea , Satsuma domain
related web sites: ,
explanation: Ceramic originated by Korean potters brought by Shimazu Yoshihiro during Korean campaign of 16th century. Though the original technique has been lost in Korea, their descendants are still perpetuating the technique in southern Kyushu at Inashirogawa and Ryumonji. The most famous ceramic is Kokuyu (Kuro Satsuma i.e. black Satsuma) and Hakuyu (Shiro Satsuma i.e. white Satsuma).

Seinan war

alternative words: Seinan rebellion, Satsuma rebellion, Seinansenso, Seinan senso
keywords: korea, war
related topics: Saigo Takamori , Okubo Toshimichi , Meiji period , Satsuma domain
related web sites: ,
explanation: The reform of Meiji government which had suppressed the samurai privilege provoked many protests. In order to canalize their frustration, Saigo Takamori proposed to colonize Korea but his idea being rejected, he returned back to his home of Kagoshima. When the central government decided to transfer the powder factory, it provoked a large rebellion in 1877 led by Takamori. It conquered a half of Kyushu but 6 month later, defeated by the central government, Takamori killed himself.


sekku gosekku
alternative words: Sechiku, Go sekku, Five sekku, 5 sekku
keywords: china, festival
related topics: Momo no sekku , Tango no sekku , Tanabata
related web sites:
explanation: Tradition coming from China which consists to make offering to gods at the seasonal changes. In Japan, man has celebrated 5 sekku (Go sekku), i.e. January 7 (Jinjitsu or Nanakusa no sekku), March 3 (Joshi or Momo no sekku), 5 May (Tango or Shobu no sekku), 7 July (Tanabata no sekku) and 9 September (Choyo or Kiku no sekku). They subsist now merely as festivals for children like March 3 for girls and May 5 for boys without any religious references.

Sen no Rikyu

alternative words: Senno Rikyu, Rikyu, Rikyuu
keywords: artist, famous person
related topics: Tea ceremony , Oda Nobunaga , Toyotomi Hideyoshi , Omotesenke , Urasenke
related web sites: ,
explanation: Born in 1522 in a wealthy merchant family of Sakai near Osaka. He first learned tea ceremony from Kitamuki Dochin then Takeno Joo. During this period, he innovated tea houses and tools with more sober style (wabi sabi). Between 1570 and 1573, he served as instructor of tea ceremony for Oda Nobunaga then Toyotomi Hideyoshi and became quickly the confident of Hideyoshi. After a disagreement on the politics with Hideyoshi, he was ordered to commit a suicide and died in 1591.


alternative words: Senbe, Japanese rice cookie
keywords: food
related topics: Wagashi , Nara period , Edo period , Mochi
related web sites: , ,
explanation: The method to make cakes from flour, sugar and eggs was imported from China during Nara period. It was called "Tougashi", i.e. Chinese cake. During Edo period, a great number of varieties had been invented. There exist 2 categories of senbai: flour based senbai which is grilled on a mold after mixed with sugar and other flavors, and senbei from rice flour. The latter consists to grill cookie on iron plaque, while seasoning with soy sauce. "Souka senbei" falls in this category.

Sengoku period

alternative words: Sengoku jidai, Sengokujidai, Sengoku era, Warring States period, Civil war period, Sengoku
keywords: epoch
related topics: Onin war , Azuchi Momoyama period , Oda Nobunaga , Toyotomi Hideyoshi , Tokugawa Ieyasu , Battle of Sekigahara , Tanegashima rifle
related web sites: , , , ,
explanation: In a narrow sense, it corresponds to the period which spans between Onin war (Onin no ran) in 1467 and the entry of Oda Nobunaga into Kyoto in 1568, but in a broader sense, it could include up to the establishment of Tokugawa shogunate in 1603. As its name indicates, there had existed many battles small or large everywhere in Japan and war tactics had been greatly improved in particular after an introduction of guns by Portuguese in 1543. Christian missionaries were also active.


alternative words: Sen nin, Xianren, Xian ren, Hsienjen, Hsien jen
keywords: china, religion, title
related topics: Taoism , Asuka period , Nara period
related web sites:
explanation: The main character of Taoism, owing supernatural power such as eternal life and flying capacity, acquired from practicing asceticism. The concept was imported from China during Asuka period and became popular during Nara period. Though there was no official implementation of Taoism in Japan, many aristocrats were interested in it such as Emperor Tenmu. Yoshino mountains located in the south of Nara basin was a favorite training ground to become Sennin.

Sesshu Toyo

sesshyuutouyou sesshyuu
alternative words: Toyo Sesshu, Sesshu Touyou, Touyou Sesshu, Sesshu
keywords: artist, famous person
related topics: Ink painting , Muromachi period
related web sites: , ,
explanation: Born in 1420 in a samurai family of Okayama prefecture. He first went to Shokokuji temple at Kyoto, famous for its ink paint school, to become a monk. Then he went to Yamaguchi prefecture to continue painter's work. In 1467, with an aid of Lord Ouchi, he went to China to learn further the paint technique. After having seen many Chinese masters' works, he returned back 2 years later. Then, he alternated travel and sedentary life while creating many master pieces. He died in 1506.


alternative words: Setsu-bun, Setsu bun
keywords: festival
related topics: Oni , Onmyodo
related web sites: ,
explanation: Ceremony which takes place at the eve of a new spring (Risshun) and a new year in old calendar. In new calendar, the date falls between 3 and 4 February. At that date, not only each shrines and temples observe traditional rites to dispel "oni" (Japanese demons) but people throw in home, grilled soybeans against those who are wearing oni's mask (mamemaki) by crying "oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi!", i.e. "demons go out, happiness enter!", then eat the number of beans corresponding to their age.

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