THE BOMBARDMENT OF KAGOSHIMA.ONE of the agents most prominent in bringing about the restoration, under the plea of "the renovation of the institutions created by the founder of the Tokugawa line," was Shimadzŭ Saburo (now Sa Dai Jin), brother of the next to the last, and father of the last daimiō of Satsuma. On his way from Yedo, while his train was passing along the, Tōkaidō, the "Richardson affair," which led to the bombardment of Kagoshima, the chief city of Satsuma, took place. "Some English people came riding, through the head of the train at a place called Namamugi" (Kinsé. Shiriakŭ - Satow's translation, p. 23). A native who would attempt to cross, walk, or ride into a daimiō's procession would, according to invariable custom, meet with instant death. The Yedo authorities had previously requested foreigners not to go on the Tōkaidō that day; but their contemptuously, and with no waste of courteous language or sympathy for national troubles, refused. Two American gentlemen, Messrs. E. Van Reed and F. Schoyer, while. out riding on the same afternoon (September 14th, 1862), met Shimadzŭ's train, and, by filing aside, passed on without hinderance. Soon after, three English gentlemen and a lady, one of the former being Mr. Richardson, who had lived several years in China, and "knew how to deal with these people," disregarded the warnings of the discreet members of the party, and impatiently urged their horses into the procession. Some Satsuma retainers, taking this as a direct and intentional insult, drew their swords, and fell like butchers on the unarmed men. The lady was untouched. The three men were all wounded, Richardson to death. There is no proof that either Shimadzŭ Saburo or the train-leader gave the order to kill, as is alleged. Such heated fictions are at par with the statement that the captain of the Bombay, after sinking, the Oneida, willingly allowed her crew to perish.
In the "Richardson affair" were, on the one hand, arrogant people, who despised all Asiatics as an inferior order of beings, disregarded their rights, and were utterly ignorant of the misery their coming had wrought on Japan. On the other hand were proud men, who considered the foreigners as sordid and cruel invaders, red the men before them as having purposely insulted them and their master. This affair led to the extortion, in presence of cannon-muzzles, of one hundred thousand pounds sterling from the bakufu, twenty-five thousand pounds from the Satsuma clan, the capture of three Satsuma steamers, and the bombardment of Kagoshima.
The English fleet of seven men-of-war arrived off Kagoshima, August 11th, 1863, and, while deliberations were pending, began hostilities by. seizing the three steamers belonging to the clan. In the British official report this hostile act is called "a reprisal;" and the sentence following declares that "suddenly and unexpectedly" hostilities were begun [assumed] by the Japanese!! The squadron then, forming in line of battle, bombarded the forts and city. The net result of two days' bombardment were. the explosion of magazines, partial destruction of the batteries, a conflagration which reduced factories, foundries, mills - the beginnings of a new civilization - to ashes, the sinking of five Liu Kiu junks, the firing of the palace of the prince, besides the slaughter of human beings, whose number Japanese pride has never divulged. Having accomplished act of retribution and punishment within the scope" of their force, and believing "that the entire town of Kagoshima" was "a mass of ruins," the fleet, after severe loss, having fully vindicated the Asiatic policy of England, left the bay. The twentyfive thousand pounds indemnity was shortly afterward paid. Both parties fought with equal bravery.
The effect of this act of savage vengeance was salutary, in opening the eyes of the yet unconvinced Satsuma men to the power of the foreigners, their rifled cannon and steamers. In England, by press and Parliament, the wanton act was bitterly denounced, and by French and German writers stigmatized as a horrible act of vengeance, justified neither by international law nor even by the laws of war. It is a pity that such a storm of righteous indignation could not prevent an act of almost equal barbarity in the year following at Shimonoséki.
For a thorough study of the case, see Adams "History of Japan", vol. i., London, 1874; Kinsé translated by E. Satow, Esq., Yokohama, 1873; "Kagoshima,"E. H. House, Tōkiō, 1875. I have also had the advantage of hearing the story from the Japanese samurai, in Shimadzŭ's train, from others who were in Kagoshima during the bombardment, from Mr. E. Van Reed, and from English friends.