Tsuwaji Island

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  • Japanese: 津和地島 (Tsuwaji shima)

Tsuwaji is an island in the western Inland Sea. Today administered as a part of Matsuyama City, historically too Tsuwaji was within the territory of Iyo-Matsuyama han. A major port, Tsuwaji was a frequent stop for daimyô on sankin kôtai journeys, and for numerous other official and unofficial travelers.

The lord of Iyo-Matsuyama established a teahouse on the island in 1635 (likely a reception hall for elite guests, akin to a honjin), and named retainer Yahara Sanozaemon his deputy (nashiro), to oversee such matters. The Yahara family remained influential figures on the island throughout the Edo period, serving as district magistrates (gun bugyô) for much of the period. The Yahara-ke goyô nikki collects records of much of the magistrates' official matters from 1768 into the 1850s or 1860s.[1]

As early as the 1690s, when Engelbert Kaempfer passed through Tsuwaji on his way to Edo, he noted that Tsuwaji had as many as three hundred homes.[2]


  1. Kimura Yoshisato 木村吉聡 (ed.), Ryukyu shisetsu no Edo nobori to Mitarai 琉球使節の江戸上りと御手洗, Shiomachi kankô kôryû Center 潮待ち館観光交流センター (2001), 73-74.; Shirarezaru Ryûkyû shisetsu 知られざる琉球使節, Fukuyama-shi Tomonoura rekishi minzoku shiryôkan (2006), 113-134.
  2. Kimura, 5.