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  1. Takasugi Shinsaku

    Biographies Takasugi Shinsaku

    Takasugi Shinsaku (高杉晋作, 1839-1867) was born in the castle town of Hagi in the domain of Chōshū (modern-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) to Takasugi Kochuta (高杉小忠太), a middle-ranked samurai with a revenue of 200 koku of rice. He also used the name Tani Umenosuke (谷梅之助) as an alias in his activities...
  2. Yoshida Shoin

    History Yoshida Shoin

    Yoshida Shōin (吉田松陰, 1830-1859) was born in 1830 in Matsumoto (松本村), a small village close to the castle town of Hagi (萩), Chōshū Domain (modern-day Yamaguchi prefecture). He was the second son of a lower-ranking samurai named Sugi Yurinosuke (杉百合之介) and was adopted by his uncle, Yoshida Daisuke...
  3. Kido Takayoshi

    Biographies Kido Takayoshi

    A Chōshū samurai and Meiji statesman Born in Hagi in the Chōshū Domain in 1833 to the samurai physician Wada Masakage (和田 昌景), who served the Hagi clan, Kido Takayoshi (木戸孝允, 1833-1877) was adopted into the Katsura family in 1840 and known as Katsura Kogorō (桂小五郎) until 1865. In Hagi, he...
  4. Choshu Domain

    History Choshu Domain

    Chōshū han (Image: Japan Reference/JREF)Chōshū (長州藩) was a feudal daimyō domain located in modern-day Yamaguchi prefecture, at the Western tip of Honshū. It was also known as Nagato no kuni (長門国, Nagato Province). While Shimonoseki (下関市) was its ancient capital, Hagi (萩) used to be the seat of...
  5. Yamagata Aritomo

    Biographies Yamagata Aritomo

    Yamagata Aritomo (山県有朋, 1838-1922) was one of the seven members of the genrō, the group of senior statesmen who shaped modern Japan in and after the Meiji period. He is considered the father of the modern Japanese army and served twice as prime minister. His authoritarian views and autarchic...
  6. Katsura Taro

    Biographies Katsura Taro

    Born into a samurai family from Choshu (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) in 1848, Katsura Tarō (桂太郎, 1848-1913) fought along his clansmen during the Bakumatsu period. He was quickly recognised by Yamagata Aritomo, who later assisted his political rise. Katsura was sent twice to Germany...
  7. Ito Hirobumi

    Biographies Ito Hirobumi

    One of the most prominent Meiji statesmen, Itō (1841-1909) was a samurai of the Chōshū domain, four-time Prime Minister of Japan (the 1st, 5th, 7th and 10th), genrō and Resident-General of Korea. Youth Itō Hirobumi (伊藤博文) was born as Hayashi Risuke to Hayashi Jūzō, a farmer in the feudal...
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