The Monument of Matsuda Shinshirō

in 1857 (Ansei 4), The Satsuma Domain imposed the trade of sugar-making on Kuchinoerabu Island. However, the village headman, Matsuda Shinshirō, along with two other individuals, opposed this measure. In an effort to protect the island’s way of life, they attempted to thwart the Clan’s efforts—and were subsequently caught and sentenced to caning. While his compatriots perished, Matsuda survived, despite heavy injuries. Their efforts proved fruitful, however. With this incident, sugar-making on the island ceased, and the fiasco came to be known as Hakutōgata Kuzure, or the Downfall of the Sugar People (referencing the Satsuma Domain), in the local histories.

With the onset of the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Matsuda carried on the spirit of his deceased comrades, and constantly worked for the betterment of the island even in a state of destitution without pay. In exchange for the use of Kuchierabu Island as the base of operations for the katsuo fishing fleet of Makurazaki, Matsuda negotiated and established a tax system for using the island’s harbours. With this income, the island was able to bolster its infrastructure. Matsuda also helped to facilitate forestry on the island, and devoted his entire life to the betterment of Kuchinoerabu Island.

The Monument of Matsuda Shinshirō



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