Tanegashima Guns

I am not a fan of guns, in fact, I hate them. Their only purpose is to injure and kill and they should not exist in a truly civilized world. This said it is kind of ironic that this will be my residence for the next few years. Why? Tanegashima is the location were guns were first introduced into Japan.

Tanegashima is traditionally known as the site of the introduction of European firearms to Japan. Until modern times, firearms were colloquially known in Japan as "Tanegashima", due to the belief that they were introduced by the Portuguese on board that ship. In his memoirs published in 1614, Portuguese adventurer turned author, Fernão Mendes Pinto placed himself in that first landing party, although this claim has been roundly discredited and in fact contradicts with his claims to be simultaneously in Burma at the time. However, Mendes Pinto does appear to have visited Tanegashima soon thereafter. The Europeans had arrived to trade, not only guns, but also soap, tobacco and other goods unknown in medieval Japan, for the Japanese goods.

Graphic - First Westerners in Japan in 1542, by Hokusai (1817 woodblock painting).
Graphic - A "Tanegashima" gun.
During the Muromachi period, Tanegashima functioned as a relay station of one of the main routes of Chinese trade that connected Sakai to Ningbo. The Tanegashima clan cooperated with the Hosokawa clan, one of two powers who controlled Chinese trade. The clan also maintained a firm connection to Honnō-ji Temple of Kyoto. These account for the rapid spread of firearms from Tanegashima to central Japan.

Knife industry

Edge tools (particularly knives and scissors) made in Tanegashima are famous traditional handicrafts in Japan. Craftsmen in Tanegashima have kept alive traditional techniques for forging and sharpening iron tools. Tanegashima is also famous as the center of iron sand production. The technique has been around since about 1185 when the Taira clan were exiled here from Kyoto by Minamoto no Yoritomo, taking with them craftsmen and chefs from Kyoto. The people of the island speak with a Kyoto accent even now, rather than a Kyūshū or Kagoshima accent, despite its proximity to Kyūshū.[citation needed] These craftsmen were the original users of the distinct techniques used for forging and sharpening. The technique is unique in the world, and produces such tools as "Tanegashima Hōchō" (Tanegashima knives), used by chefs, and "Tane-basami" (Tanegashima scissors), preferred by many for the art of Bonsai.
Resources
Wikipedia - Tanegashima - General information about Tanegashima.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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