Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
Better duck around a corner or avert your eyes, because the samurai are not to be trifled with as they can merely wish to test the sharpness of their sword upon a menacing thief or random victim at anytime. The samurai were essentially deemed as the enforcers, especially during the reign of the Shogun amid a multitude of clans spread out throughout Japan. In the town of Shimabara, Arima clan leader Matsukura, strictly enforced the prohibition of Christianity by organizing mass executions and also severely raising taxes to pay for the construction of his new Shimabara Castle from 1618-1624.
It wasn’t before long that these heavy taxes levied upon the peasants, in addition to severe religious persecution against local Christians, led to what is known as the Shimabara Rebellion in 1637. The Shogun sent a force of over 125,000 troops consisting of many samurai to suppress the rebellion, and after a rather lengthy siege, the peasants and Christians were no match.
In the wake of this specific rebellion, persecution of Christianity became strictly enforced and Japan’s national seclusion policy was tightened until the 1850’s.
In Shimabara, various clans subsequently reigned in relative peace for the next 250+ years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
Amid my adventures in Nagasaki, I took a train that zigzagged through the beautiful Japanese countryside for about 90 minutes not knowing what to really expect. It didn’t really matter at the time, the views from the train were quite tranquil.
Upon my arrival to Shimabara Castle I was very glad that I had decided to take a day-trip there. Despite it’s sad history of religious persecution, the samurai castle was a great sight to see, including the rather fulfilling experience of walking almost entirely throughout the sleepy seaside town.
A part of me wanted to stay longer in order to hike the nearby mountain and catch a great view of the bay. I would have if I had been accompanied with someone just as eager to do it as me. Perhaps next time…