small samurai town located on the Japan sea – it was the
birthplace also to Chikamatsu Monzaemon, the Japanese Shakespeare
(in 1653). The town is dotted with the natsumikan trees, the trees
with the yellow summer oranges.
was formerly the residence of the great Mori daimyos.
Shoin described his birthplace as follows: “The Nagato province
is situated at the West end of the Japanese mainland in the shadow
of the Hagi mountains and it overlooks the Korean strait. In this
country, with its damp climate, stands East of the Hagi castle,
the little village Matsumoto where I was born. On the South of
this village flows the O river of which the source is unknown
and where probably the Taira Descendants (descendents of Emperor
Kanmu 781-806) live in hiding. To the North East of the river
two mountains are situated, the larger of which is called Tojinzan,
where Korean captives bake pottery. The smaller is called Nagasoezan.
Here are the castle ruins of the Matsukura and Iga families. Between
the mountains and the rivers stand a thousand houses. The population
lives partly from agriculture, partly from the house-industry.
Yoshida Shoin Forerunner of the Meiji Restoration -A biographical
H. Van Straelen S.V.D., Ph.D.
Professor at Nanzan University, Nagoya
Published by Leiden, E.J. Brill, Netherlands. 1952