Satsuma, the name of a province in the S. part of Kiushiu, Japan, and of the most noted of all the feudal clans in the empire. The fief of the daimio of Satsuma comprised Sat-suma proper, Osumi, Hiuga, and the Loo Choo islands. Satsuma now forms the Kagoshima ken or district; pop., 1,183,000. The surface is mountainous, and the soil indifferent. Commerce, mineral wealth, and manufactures, especially of porcelain, have made this one of the richest provinces of Japan. The history of the clan dates from 1571, when Shimadzu Yoshihisa became daimio. After the battle of Sekigahara, the daimio of Satsuma was allowed by Iyeyasu to retain his territory. In 1609 Iyehisa, one of the Shimadzu family, conquered the Loo Choo islands, which the shogun allowed him to retain as part of his fief. The Satsuma clan has long been preeminent for the ability of its leaders, and for military ardor and prowess. During the To-kugawa shogunate they were the most restive under; its rule, rendering only nominal obedience. The last but one of the daimios of Satsuma, who died in 1858, was the first to develop the impulse toward occidental civilization.
He introduced foreign learning and measures when the shogun endeavored to repress such tendencies, and diligently prepared the way for the revolution of 1868. On Sept. 12, 1862, Shimadzu Saburo, his younger brother, having left Yedo with a grudge against the shogun, and cherishing a desire to embroil him with foreigners, was met on the highway between Yedo and Yokohama by a party of English gentlemen and a lady, who were attacked by his procession, and Mr. C. L. Richardson, a merchant from Hong Kong, was killed. The British government demanded and obtained from the shogunate an indemnity of £100,000, and after the bombardment of Kagoshima, Aug. 13, 1863, the Satsuma men paid to the British an indemnity of £25,000. In 1868 the clan led the coalition that overthrew the shogunate, restored the mikado, organized the new government, and led the van at the battle of Fushimi. Satsuma has sent more students to foreign countries and furnished more able men than any other province. The clan also led the way in the abolition of the feudal system in 1872.