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Kaminoseki is a port-town and fishing town on the [[Inland Sea]] coast of [[Yamaguchi prefecture]] (formerly [[Suo province|Suô province]]). It is situated across three islands and a small peninsula of "mainland" [[Honshu]], and incorporates a number of formerly distinct villages, including that of Murotsu.<ref>Not to be confused with the more significant port of [[Murotsu]] in [[Hyogo prefecture|Hyôgo prefecture]].</ref> A major regional harbor not only for local/regional traffic but even for foreign voyagers, Kaminoseki or areas immediately nearby appear in records as early as those written by ambassadors from [[Silla]] in the 8th century, recorded in the ''[[Manyoshu|Man'yôshû]]'', as well as records associated with [[Korean embassies to Edo|Korean]] and [[Ryukyuan embassies to Edo]] in the 17th-19th century, and in diaries and journals of Western travelers such as [[Carl Peter Thunberg]] in the 1770s, and [[Robert Fortune]] in the 1860s.
 
Kaminoseki is a port-town and fishing town on the [[Inland Sea]] coast of [[Yamaguchi prefecture]] (formerly [[Suo province|Suô province]]). It is situated across three islands and a small peninsula of "mainland" [[Honshu]], and incorporates a number of formerly distinct villages, including that of Murotsu.<ref>Not to be confused with the more significant port of [[Murotsu]] in [[Hyogo prefecture|Hyôgo prefecture]].</ref> A major regional harbor not only for local/regional traffic but even for foreign voyagers, Kaminoseki or areas immediately nearby appear in records as early as those written by ambassadors from [[Silla]] in the 8th century, recorded in the ''[[Manyoshu|Man'yôshû]]'', as well as records associated with [[Korean embassies to Edo|Korean]] and [[Ryukyuan embassies to Edo]] in the 17th-19th century, and in diaries and journals of Western travelers such as [[Carl Peter Thunberg]] in the 1770s, and [[Robert Fortune]] in the 1860s.
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In the 16th century, Kaminoseki was one of a number of major bases of the [[Murakami clan (Chugoku)|Murakami clan]] "pirate" navy. The Murakami maintained a castle in the area, and enjoyed authority from the [[Mori clan (Aki)|Môri clan]] (the dominant clan in the region) to exact tolls and custom fees from ships entering or passing by the harbor. This castle was eventually demolished, and the Murakami's piratical activities outlawed in [[1588]], but the Murakami maintained [[subinfeudation|sub-fiefs]] in some of the surrounding regions (namely [[Iwaishima]] and parts of [[Nagashima (Suo)|Nagashima]]) into the [[Edo period]]. Meanwhile, the Môri, now based in [[Hagi]] (on the northwestern coast of Yamaguchi pref.), reallocated many of the sub-fiefs in [[1625]], bringing portions of Kaminoseki (including Murotsu and parts of Nagashima) along with much other territory in the domain, more directly under Môri control.
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==Geography==
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Today, the town of Kaminoseki spans two large islands and a small portion of the Murotsu Peninsula, which juts out from the "mainland" of Honshû. It faces the Suô Channel to the west, and the Iyo Channel to the east.<ref name=hardtimes22>Dusinberre, 22.</ref>
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Today, the town is perhaps most known for the nuclear power plant which was proposed to be constructed in the 1980s, and which as a result of local protests, has been delayed and delayed, essentially blocked, and today more than 30 years later still has not been built; many of those opposing the construction of the power plant argue that they do so, in part at least, in order to protect their hometown (''furusato''), though there are also many in favor of the power plant who argue similarly that its construction will help revive the town, which has seen considerable decline as have many rural areas in Japan in recent decades.
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Historically, prior to Kaminoseki coming to incorporate neighboring municipalities, Kaminoseki "proper" was but one of a number of villages on the island of Nagashima, along with the villages of Hetsu, Shiraida, Kamai, and Shidai. Murotsu, Kaminoseki's twin port and fishing village, sat on the tip of the Murotsu Peninsula, facing Kaminoseki across a narrow strait. The two are now linked by a bridge, allowing road access to the island of Nagashima. Iwaishima, located to the southwest, was also home to separate villages, and is now a part of the town of Kaminoseki.<ref name=hardtimes22/>
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==History==
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In the 16th century, Kaminoseki was one of a number of major bases of the [[Murakami clan (Chugoku)|Murakami clan]] "pirate" navy. The Murakami maintained a castle in the area, and enjoyed authority from the [[Mori clan (Aki)|Môri clan]] (the dominant clan in the region) to exact tolls and custom fees from ships entering or passing by the harbor. This castle was eventually demolished, and the Murakami's piratical activities outlawed in [[1588]], but the Murakami maintained [[subinfeudation|sub-fiefs]] in some of the surrounding regions (namely [[Iwaishima]] and parts of [[Nagashima (Suo)|Nagashima]]) into the [[Edo period]]. Meanwhile, the Môri, now based in [[Hagi]] (on the northwestern coast of Yamaguchi pref.), reallocated many of the sub-fiefs in [[1625]], bringing portions of Kaminoseki (including Murotsu and parts of Nagashima) along with much other territory in the domain, more directly under Môri control.<ref>Dusinberre, 20.</ref>
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Along with ports at Hôfu (also known as Nakanoseki) and the more famous [[Shimonoseki]],<ref>''Kami'', ''naka'', and ''shimo'', meaning "above," "middle," and "below," or "upper," "middle," and "lower," respectively, with ''seki'' meaning "barrier" or "checkpoint."</ref> Kaminoseki was one of a number of maritime checkpoints, or ''[[sekisho]]'', maintained by the ''han'' government. As such, it was home to a number of official facilities, including an official guesthouse (''ochaya''), expanded in [[1643]] to include not just lodging, dining space, and kitchens, but baths, entertainment space, storage space, and residences for the staff, spread out over an area roughly the size of a modern-day soccer field. This guesthouse served not only the lords of Chôshû as they made their way to and from [[Edo]] on their ''[[sankin kotai|sankin kôtai]]'' (alternate attendance) journeys, but also a number of Kyushu ''daimyô'' making that journey, and Korean and Ryukyuan embassies.<ref>The Korean embassies in particular lodged at Kaminoseki eleven times, on every one of their embassy journeys to Japan, with the exception of the final mission, the [[1811]] mission, which only traveled to [[Tsushima han|Tsushima]], and not to mainland Japan. Dusinberre, 21-23.</ref> Meanwhile, Chôshû and [[Tsushima han]] officials accompanying the Korean embassies took up lodging in villagers' homes, often taking up the majority of the homes along the main streets of both Kaminoseki and Murotsu. The situation was similar when the Môri or other ''daimyô'' passed through on their ''sankin kôtai'' journeys.<ref>For example, in 1764, Chôshû and Tsushima officials accompanying the Korean missions occupied 36 out of 43 homes along the main street in Kaminoseki, as well as some number of homes in Murotsu. Dusinberre, 24-25.</ref>
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The domain's local administrative office, or ''bansho'', in the town was relocated in [[1711]] to a more prominent location which allowed officials to throw open the doors and look out over the waterfront, flanked by [[yumi|longbows]] and thus presenting an impressive visage as well to those looking up at them.<ref>Dusinberre, 21.</ref> At that time, the population of the town is estimated at roughly 140 households, comprised of a total of less than one thousand people.<ref>Dusinberre, 23.</ref>
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Along with neighboring Murotsu and a handful of other Chôshû fishing villages, Kaminoseki also enjoyed a privileged position as a designated ''tateura'' port. Fishermen from these villages enjoyed certain privileges in fishing in certain waters, but were also obligated to offer certain forms of assistance to drifting ships or castaway sailors, as well as unloading or otherwise serving the ''daimyô's'' ships when they came to port.<ref name=hardtimes21/>
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Today, the town is perhaps most known for the nuclear power plant which was proposed to be constructed in the 1980s, and which as a result of local protests, has been delayed and delayed, essentially blocked, and today more than 30 years later still has not been built; many of those opposing the construction of the power plant argue that they do so, in part at least, in order to protect their hometown (''furusato''), though there are also many in favor of the power plant who argue similarly that its construction will help revive the town, which has seen considerable decline as have many rural areas in Japan in recent decades.<ref>Dusinberre, 7-9.</ref>
    
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