Shimazu Tadahisa

Shimazu Tadahisa

Shimazu Tadahisa (島津 忠久; - August 1, 1227) was a Japanese daimyō, founder of the Shimazu clan.

Shimazu Tadahisa Biography

Tadahisa was the founder of the Shimazu clan and the clan's claims to both Satsuma province and the Ryūkyū Islands.

Tadahisa's initial name was Koremune no Tadahisa (惟宗忠久) and he was the son of Koremune Hirokoto, head of the Imperial Guard; his mother, Tango no tsubone, was the younger sister of Hiki Yoshikazu.

According to some accounts he was an illegitimate son of Minamoto no Yoritomo and was adopted by the Koremune clan; however, this theory or myth is no longer considered fact by scholars.

He was also named "Lord of the Twelve Southern Islands," in reference to the Ryūkyū Islands, in 1206. However, the Shimazu never exercised any direct administration or government of the islands, nor did he receive any tribute until 1609, when they were given permission by the Tokugawa shogunate to invade and take them over.

Tadahisa was gokenin (servant or "servant") of the Minamoto clan, in 1186 he received the domain of Shioda (Shinano) and later appointed Shugo (military governor) of Satsuma; Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1187 gave him the Shimazu area in the province and Tadahisa took his name and founded the clan.

He remained for a time in Kamakura, while his servant Honda Sadachika was sent to Satsuma to administer the territory in his place. During this time, he contributed to the fight against the Ōshū-Fujiwara and accompanied Yoritomo in his move to Kamakura.

Tadahisa first settled in Satsuma in 1196, building a castle and taking control of Ōsumi and part of Hyūga province; the Kamakura shogunate formally recognized his claims to those territories by appointing him Shugo of all three provinces. During the Edo period the future domain of Satsuma would cover about the same territory.

He lost power in 1203, when his influential relative Hiki Yoshikazu was accused of conspiring against the shōgun and killed; however, Tadahisa later managed to regain the titles of shugo of Satsuma province and jitō (advisor to the shōgun) of the Satsuma domain (part of the Shimazu domain).

The titles of shugo of Ōsumi and jitō of the Ōsumi territory of Shimazu, which controlled Tanegashima, became the preserve of the Hōjō clan. The Nagoe branch of the Hōjō clan appointed the leader of the Higo clan as governor of Tanegashima, thus founding the Tanegashima clan.

He regained titles and authority in 1205, but only over a territory in Satsuma province; the Shimazu would regain control of the lost provinces three centuries later.

He died in 1227 passing the position of Shugo to his son Tadatoki. Tadahisa's other son, Tadatsuna, became the founder of the Shimazu of Echizen.

Tadahisa's tomb is located in Kamakura, a few hundred meters from the tomb of Minamoto no Yoritomo, and next to those of Noe no Hiromoto and the founder of the Mōri clan, Mōri Suemitsu.