Saga Domain - History


The Nabeshima clan were originally vassals of the Ryūzōji clan who controlled the region. However, Ryūzōji Takanobu was killed in battle with the Shimazu and Arima clans in 1584, and Nabeshima Naoshige became the guardian of Takanobu's young heir, Ryūzōji Takafusa. Six years later, Toyotomi Hideyoshi granted approval for Nabeshima to overthrow Ryūzōji and seize the territory for his own lineage. Nabeshima supported Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea in the 1590s, and fought in the Western Army, against the Tokugawa clan in the fateful battle of Sekigahara in 1600. During this battle, however, he turned against and captured Western Army general Tachibana Muneshige, earning some degree of favor from Tokugawa Ieyasu and being allowed to keep his fief. The domain was governed from Saga Castle in the capital city of Saga by the Nabeshima clan of tozama daimyō. Though the Dutch and Chinese trading posts in Nagasaki were overseen directly by officials of the Tokugawa shogunate, the domain was largely responsible for the military defense of the city and the port.

The Nabeshima enjoyed an income of 357,000 koku throughout the Tokugawa period, including among their vassals the lords of the nearby Ogi, Hasunoike, and Kashima Domains.

The domain's location close to Korea and far from Edo, the shogunal capital, along with its trade connections, brought significant foreign influence to the area. The area was a center for ceramic production and techniques as a result of its connections with Korea, becoming famous for its Imari porcelain which was a significant export good to Europe.

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