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Satsuma Domain /

Satsuma Rebellion

Satsuma map
Map by Homusubi
Saigo Takamori
Oriental (Japanese)



Satsuma led by Saigo Takamori is a custom civilisation by Homusubi, with contributions from PorkBean.

This mod requires Brave New World.



The far south of Kyushu, and the peninsulae of Satsuma and Osumi on either side of the bay of Kinko, may seem like an unlikely part of Japan to be particularly important in the history of the archipelago. It is as far away from Tokyo as Hokkaido is, to the extent that Seoul and Shanghai are both closer to Kagoshima, the region's capital, for a start. But in reality, the course of Japanese history would be very different indeed were it not for this fiercely independent domain.

Saigo Takamori[]

Sengoku period enthusiasts visiting Kagoshima, ancient capital of the Shimadzu of Satsuma, are sometimes surprised to find that the city's one-time control over all Kyushu in the 1500s is rarely mentioned. Kagoshima is more proud of its pivotal role in bringing about the Meiji Restoration, and in particular, of Saigo Takamori, a hoganbiiki (Japanese-style underdog worship; unlike the British style, those who lose are most revered) hero who first led the charge to fight for the Restoration and then desperately rebelled against what it had become.

Saigo was born in 1828, in the Shitakajiyacho (Lower Blacksmiths' Town) area of Kagoshima, to a family of low-ranking samurai in the service of the Shimadzu. He studied martial arts at one of 1800s Satsuma's many schools, but suffered an injury at thirteen and began to focus more heavily on intellectual study. Nevertheless, he did not abandon the military aspects of the way of the warrior, and was described as being excellent with a sword, as well as physically imposing and frightening.

When Saigo was seventeen, his writings on agricultural reform attracted the interest of Satsuma's daimyo, the radical moderniser Shimadzu Nariakira, who made him one of his advisors. Okubo Toshimichi, another Satsuma samurai who grew to be Saigo's close confidant and often seen as standing for rationality in contrast to the emotional and sometimes reckless Saigo, also became an advisor to Nariakira at the same time.

Nariakira died suddenly in 1858, only four years after first employing Saigo. In accordance with a samurai custom that had long since fallen out of favour, Saigo, along with a monk known as Gessho (rumoured to have been Saigo's male lover) attempted to commit ritual suicide to join their lord. However, Saigo, unlike Gessho, did not die in the attempt, and was subsequently exiled to the Amami Islands by the new Satsuma daimyo. He was later recalled from exile, only to be exiled once again shortly after. He returned from this second exile in 1864 and took up a position in the Satsuma administration, and, along with Okubo, was one of the Satsuma representatives responsible for negotiating the secret anti-shogunate alliance with the once-hostile domain of Choshu.

Saigo then became one of the leaders, both military and political, of the pro-Meiji forces during the Boshin War that ultimately brought about the Meiji Restoration. Saigo led both the troops that took the Kyoto Imperial Palace and so allowed the Emperor to officially dissolve the shogunate, and the negotiations that led to the peaceful surrender of Edo Castle at the end of the war. After the Meiji government had been proclaimed, although Okubo was quick to become one of its leading figures, Saigo retired to Kagoshima. However, he was persuaded to join the government in 1871 and became commander of the Imperial Guard.

However, Saigo left the government only two years after this, as his support of a full invasion of Korea was not shared by most other government figures, including Okubo. He went on to set up a school for future warriors and leaders in Kagoshima; although adhering to samurai ideals, the schools also taught modern weaponry and languages. These 'shigakko' schools grew in number until, by 1877, seven thousand existed in Satsuma.

And then the Satsuma Rebellion happened.

After hearing of plots to assassinate him by the Meiji government, Saigo led dispossessed former samurai against the empire he had helped to establish. Although these plots likely acted as the spark that set the rebellion going, it is probable that it also had something to do with the government being opposed to Satsuma's continued autonomy and maintenance of a few more old customs than the rest of the country, and also the anger of dispossessed samurai who had seen their rice stipend converted to worthless government bonds and who had already rioted on a smaller scale in several towns around Japan in the previous years.

Saigo's rebellion was initially successful in taking control of southern Kyushu, and he soon lay siege to Kumamoto Castle. The rebels came very close to taking the castle and so creating a credible chance of victory, but the far larger government army relieved the castle, and began chasing Saigo around Kyushu, where his samurai suffered defeat after defeat: despite the rebels having better morale and more thorough training, the sheer numbers and tactical acumen of the Meiji army could not be overcome, and Saigo eventually retreated to Shiroyama, the former site of the castle in Kagoshima, where he hid in a cave for five days before finally committing seppuku and ending the rebellion.

Although Saigo was, of course, not successful in restoring the samurai, he was, at least, revered rather than reviled for the next century, and soon after the Satsuma Rebellion the people of Japan began to remember that 'wakon yosai' had two parts, and that Japanese spirit was as important as Western technology in the new, Meiji Japan. And, of course, he is still loved in Kagoshima. If you ever travel to that city, do not say anything against the last samurai of Satsuma!

Dawn of Man[]

Satsuma scene

"The warriors of all these islands call to you, noble Saigo Takamori, last hope for the ancient way of the samurai. Hailing from Satsuma, in the far south, a land as renowned for its strong martial traditions as for the volcanoes blowing ash past the unbowed faces of its people. Satsuma has already changed the course of history once, when it served as the cradle of the movement which spelt the end for the failing shogunate and ushered in a new, strong Japan. You were at the head of that movement, too; but little did you know that they would betray all you stood for.

General Saigo, these new rulers must be reminded once more of who they are and where they come from, and just as in the past, it is the task of the people of Satsuma to remind them. Will you take up arms in this final struggle? Can you ensure Satsuma sets the pace of history once more, whatever the odds? Can you win your battle to ensure your civilisation stands the test of time?"

Introduction 1: "Greetings from far Satsuma! I am but a warrior, but I hope to foster good relations with foreign powers such as yourself."

Defeat: "Ah, it looks as if our dreams are at an end. Please, leave me in peace so I can do what is honourable. Oh, and take this citrus tree, so you will always remember our country and our culture even after I am gone."

Unique Attributes[]

Satsuma (Saigo Takamori)
Satsuma leader
War of the Southwest

Units gain +10% Combat Strength for every adjacent enemy above two. Damaged units adjacent to at least two enemies can Commit Seppuku, killing the unit and yielding a burst of CultureIcon Culture from each adjacent enemy.

Satsuma uu
Shizoku (Rifleman)

Starts with an extra +4% Combat Strength multiplied by the number of Social Policies Satsuma has discovered above the world average, up to five. Bonuses remain on upgrade.

Satsuma ub
Shigakko (Military Academy)

Replaces the Military Academy. Gives +10% Production Production to its city when producing buildings when at peace, and +15% Production Production when producing units when at war.

City List
  1. Kagoshima
  2. Miyakonojo
  3. Ibusuki
  4. Izaku
  5. Chiran
  6. Shibushi
  7. Kimotsuki-Takayama
  8. Satsumasendai
  9. Bonotsu
  10. Izumi
  11. Kajiki
  12. Kaseda
  13. Tarumizu
  14. Hishikari
  15. Aya
  16. Kakuto
  17. Kanoya
  18. Nishinoomote
  19. Miyanoura
  20. Sato
  21. Kokubu
  22. Kushikino
  23. Ijuin
  24. Kobayashi
  25. Aira
  26. Nejime
  27. Ishiki
  28. Okuchi
  29. Mimata
  30. Kurino
Spy List
  • Tadahisa
  • Kanetoki
  • Shigetomo
  • Shoji
  • Toshimichi
  • Atsuhime
  • Kametoku
  • Rin
  • Oyachi
  • Kashun
Satsuma icon


Peace Theme War Theme
Link Link
Winds of Fate by Jeff Van Dyck Shiroyama by Sabaton, cover by Epic Scores

Mod Support[]

Unique Cultural Influence[]

(To Saigo) “Our people are drinking your shochu and practicing your jigen sword techniques. I worry the rest of the world will also succumb to the influence of your culture.”

(From Saigo) "I see your people are building their settlements at the foot of active volcanoes by choice. The amazing works of our civilisation are truly inspiring!"

Full Credits List[]

Steam Workshop
Latest Version: v 1.1
Last Updated: 8 June 2020


  • Homusubi: original author, XML, art, most Lua, text (including Civilopedia)
  • PorkBean: Commit Seppuku button and functionality
  • Sukritact: PlotIterators library functions
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