Sengan-en: Stately Home and Gardens of the Shimazu Clan


Power and Prestige During the Edo period (1604-1868), the 18th head of the Shimazu family, Iehisa constructed Kagoshima Castle and annexed the Ryukyu Islands, establishing trade with China and making Satsuma one of the wealthiest domains in Japan. During the peace of the Edo period cultural pursuits flourished, and the 19th head of the family, […]

Satsuma-ware Pottery: Constancy, Change and the Art of the Samurai

Satsuma ware

Chin Jukan Kiln Satsuma-ware pottery is one of Japan’s most famous exports to the world. Meet the 15th generation Chin Jukan at his kiln and explore the aesthetic changes that Satsuma ware pottery has seen through the ages from the simple plain white tea ware used by the samurai, and the highly decorated art pieces […]

Satsuma Biwa: Music of the Samurai

Satsuma Biwa

Satsuma Biwa Satsuma Biwa is a stringed instrument resembling a lute that was used to accompany narrative storytelling. The samurai of Satsuma were unusual in that they played instruments, something not normally associated with the warrior class. For over 500 years the Satsuma Biwa was used as an educational tool to teach moral behaviour and […]