Shimazu Hisayasu


Shimazu Clan


Satsuma Province

Lifespan:  Tenshō 1 (1573) to 9/8 of Bunroku 2 (1593)

Other Names:  Manjumaru (childhood), Mataichirō (common)

Rank:  bushō

Clan:  Shimazu

Father:  Shimazu Yoshihiro

Mother:  Hirose-fujin (daughter of Sonoda Saneaki)

Siblings:  Oyaji, Tsurujumaru, Hisayasu, Tadatsune, Manchiyomaru, Tadakiyo, Oshita

Wife:  Shimazu Kameju (third daughter of Shimazu Yoshihisa)

Shimazu Hisayasu served as a bushō during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.

In 1573, Hisayasu was born as the second son of Shimazu Yoshihiro, the seventeenth head of the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Province.  He was the older brother of Shimazu Tadatsune.

After the Subjugation of Kyūshū by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Hisayasu was granted landholdings in the Morokata District of Hyūga Province.  Following the surrender by the Shimazu clan in the spring of 1587, in the aftermath of the campaign, he also temporarily served as a hostage of the Toyotomi clan.  From early on, he was eyed by his uncle, Shimazu Yoshihisa, as well as his father, as a successor to the clan.

Hisayasu wed the third daughter of Yoshihisa named Shimazu Kameju.

Hisayasu served on behalf of the Toyotomi in the Conquest of Odawara and in the Bunroku Campaign on the Korean Peninsula.  On 9/8 of Bunroku 2 (1593), he died of illness on Geoje Island in Korea.  He was twenty-one years old.  Three individuals martyred themselves after he died.

To mourn for Hisayasu, his uncle, Yoshihisa, recited a waka, or traditional Japanese poetry.

Further, to pray for the enlightenment of Hisayasu,  two individuals named Horinouchi Hisanori and Hirayama Tadatsugu became yamabushi, or itinerant Buddhist monks.  Hisanori adopted the monk’s name of Nichigenbō while Tadatsugu adopted the name of Itchūbō.  Together, they traveled to over sixty provinces and made an offering of three Lotus Sūtras (Buddhist scriptures) in each province.


During the deployment in Korea, his father, Yoshihiro, brought seven cats as a means to keep accurate time.  In light, the cat’s eyes become narrow, and, in dark, turn round, so he could determine the time in this manner.  Out of the seven cats, two of them safely returned to Japan.  Hisayasu was particularly enamored by one of these cats, called Yasu, which had yellow stripes on white fur.  In a corner of a separate residence of the Shimazu clan in Kagoshima known as the Isoteien (or Senganen), there is a shrine dedicated to worship the seven cats who served in Korea.  On the votive tablets are images of a white and yellow cat depicting Yasu.