Tracing the history of firearms
Many people would associate Tanegashima with the introduction of firearms to Japan.
In 1543, Portuguese travelers came to Tanegashima and introduced firearms to Japan. Tanegashima Tokitaka, the lord of Tanegashima at that time, purchased two firearms and ordered his retainers to learn how to use and make them. Based on this fact, this type of firearm was often referred to as ”Tanegashima” and was manufactured in places such as Sakai, Omi and Negoro.
Oda Nobunaga was among the first to have an eye for firearms that were introduced in the war-torn era. It is a famous story that Nobunaga used the firearms to overwhelmingly beat Takeda in the Battle of Nagashino. As represented by the story, firearms became a significant determinant of the victors of battles. As is always the case with historical stories, the story about the introduction of firearms is divided. Either way, the introduction of firearms meant a lot to the Japanese people who had never dreamed about the existence of a great country beyond the continent of China.
Exhibits at ”Teppokan” or Firearm Museum include the first firearms that were introduced to Japan and the matchlocks that were manufactured in Japan during that time, among others. If you visit Tanegashima, don’t miss the opportunity to go and see it.