Koshiki Islands

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  • Japanese: 甑島 (koshiki jima), 甑島列島 (koshiki jima rettô)

The Koshiki Islands are a group of islands in Kagoshima prefecture, located just west of the Satsuma peninsula, in the East China Sea. They consist chiefly of the three islands of Kami-Koshiki, Naka-Koshiki, and Shimo-Koshiki.

In the Edo period, the Koshiki Islands were administered by officials known as bangashira, recruited or appointed from among the people of the island.[1]

Travelers were occasionally castaway on the Koshiki Islands; two famous incidents involved Ryukyuan castaways in 1604, and 1790. In the former instance, Satsuma han officials detained the castaways for a time, at the order of Shimazu Yoshihisa. In the latter instance, however, the stranded Ryukyuan officials simply procured a boat and made their way to Kagoshima on their own (or with the help of the locals).

In 1865, when a group of young men from Satsuma sought to secretly depart Japan to study in Europe, they claimed they were traveling merely to the Koshiki Islands, thus deflecting shogunate suspicion that they were boarding a seagoing vessel at all.[2]


  1. Ono Masako, Tomita Chinatsu, Kanna Keiko, Taguchi Megumi, "Shiryô shôkai Kishi Akimasa bunko Satsuyû kikô," Shiryôhenshûshitsu kiyô 31 (2006), 244.
  2. Plaque at Kagoshima-Chûô train station, Kagoshima City.[1]

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