Sakuma Shozan

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  • Born: 1811/2/28
  • Died: 1864/7/11
  • Titles: 修理 (Shuuri)
  • Other Names: 啓 (Hiraki)
  • Japanese: 佐久間象山 (Sakuma Shouzan)

Sakuma Shôzan was a scholar of Western learning (Rangaku) and a prominent figure of the Bakumatsu Period. He opened a private school in Edo in 1839, and in 1842 wrote the Kaibô Hassaku (海防八策, "Eight Plans for Naval Defense"). He was imprisoned by the shogunate beginning on 1854/4/6[1] under suspicion that he was involved in an assassination planned by Yoshida Shôin, but was eventually released as it was determined Shôzan was not involved.

Shôzan married Katsu Junko, a younger sister of Katsu Kaishû, in 1852.[2]

In 1864, Sakuma moved to Kyoto and established a residence in Kiyamachi. He was working for the shogunate at this time, in support of the promotion of the opening of the country. He was, however, killed by sonnô jôi Imperial loyalists (anti-shogunate rebels) who attacked him on the street, accusing him of supporting errors in national policy and of plotting to have the emperor leave Kyoto.[3]


  • Plaque on-site at site of Sakuma Shôzan's former residence in Kyoto Kiyamachi.
  1. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 1 (1937), 581.
  2. Gallery labels, Edo-Tokyo Museum.[1]
  3. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 5 (1937), 373.