Questions and Answers about History of Shimabara

1. All about the Shimabara Rebellion

1. Why did the revolt of Shimabara happen?
Because politics of the feudal lord, Matsukura Shigetsugu (Iekatsu), was not good, the citizens of the domain raised a riot. The reasons,

(1) The tributes increased.
(2) The weather was bad, and there was a little harvest, and the tribute could not be paid.
(3) The lord still collected the tribute strictly.
(4) Christianity was controlled severely. The dissatisfaction of the people rose
2. Whereabouts did the rebellion take place?
It started on October 25th, 1637 in Arima's village. People in each village attacked the Shimabara castle on the 26th but they failed. Moreover, the farmer's resistance started in various places such as Mie and Kushiyama. When November came, the farmers in Amakusa raised a revolt and attached Tomioka castle and other places.
In December, the farmers of Shimabara gathered around the ruins of Hara castle and kept resisting
3. Were there any strategies for their fight?
The farmers gathered in each village and decided defense positions. The village headmen of the villages became mediators and led the villagers and took care of them every day. The masterless samurai became councilors, prepared for the fighting and taught military affairs. The villager believed in Christianity again and prayed to God every day.
4. How long did they shut themselves up in the Ruins of Hara Castle?
For three months. (From December 14th to February 28th 1638 when they were exterminated)
5. How many people took part in the revolt?
27,000 to 37,000 farmers took part. As for the south side of Shimabara Peninsula most of the people joined and as for the Amakusa side many more people of the Ariake sea side joined in it. Even some children, old people and women were included.
As for the samurai¥shogunate side, about 120,000 soldiers participated, each Kyushu feudal clan soldiers and Fukuyama feudal clan came from a long distance.
27,000 to 37,000 were killed for the rebellion (farmers) side, 2,400 casualties of the Shogunate feudal clan side
6. What kind of weapon did they use?
The farmers used anything, such as a gun, a sword, a spear, a sickle, a hoe, a stone or a wooden stick.
The samurai had guns, swords; a cannon (brought in from the Dutch ship).
7. What did they eat during the fight?
Since rice, wheat, vegetables, etc. were brought in when shutting themselves up, they ate them. Rice was taken from the warehouse of Shimabara domain. At first there was some food, but food ran short at the end. They took seaweed at the seashore, grasses and roots and ate them
8. How large was the Hara Castle?
It is about 12 hectares at 1000-1200 meters in length to 200-300 meters in width
9. What is a 'Kiristan'?
It is a Christian. Christianity spread out in Shimabara from 1563, and most of the residents of the domain were Christians, about 30,000 believers.
10. What kind of person was Amakusa Shiro?
He was a son of Masuda Jinbe, a vassal of Konishi Yukinaga who was the fudal lord of Uto Domain. He was called 'Shiro Tokisada'. He was thought to be born in 1623. He learned Christianity and various studies in Nagasaki. The revolt started at the age of 16, and he became everybody's mediator
11. Why did Amakusa Siro become the learder?
Because he was a central figure who gathered up 30,000-40,000 farmers, and became the symbol. He also became the central person of the faith and played a role of the priest. He became, in a way, God of this world
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