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  • Japanese: 屋久島 (Yakushima)

Yakushima is an island in Kagoshima prefecture, one of the Ôsumi Islands located just south of the Kyushu mainland. Large sections of the island are covered in ancient virgin forest, and have been designated a Natural World Heritage Site.

The people of Yakushima began paying regular tribute to the Yamato state in the 7th century.[1] It's unclear when this practice may have died off.

In the Edo period, Yakushima was overseen by a bugyô, appointed by Satsuma han, who served a one-year term in the position. A number of other officials, including Chinese-language interpreters, were also stationed there.[2]

In 1708, Jesuit missionary Giovanni Battista Sidotti landed on Yakushima, as part of intentional efforts to sneak into Japan. He was swiftly apprehended and turned over to Tokugawa shogunate authorities; Sidotti is believed to have been the last missionary to enter Japan prior to the end of maritime restrictions in the 1850s.


  1. Yokoyama Manabu 横山学, Ryûkyû koku shisetsu torai no kenkyû 琉球国使節渡来の研究, Tokyo: Yoshikawa kôbunkan (1987), 51.
  2. Ono Masako, Tomita Chinatsu, Kanna Keiko, Taguchi Megumi, "Shiryô shôkai Kishi Akimasa bunko Satsuyû kikô," Shiryôhenshûshitsu kiyô 31 (2006), 244.