In April of 1865, a Western steam sailing vessel appeared off of Hashima (now known as Hashima in Ichikikushikino City, Kagoshima Prefecture) located in the Satsuma Peninsula facing the East China Sea. It came to Hashima covertly in order to take nineteen young Satsuma feudal retainers on board. They were selected by the Satsuma clan to study abroad in Great Britain and to tour the European countries for the sake of national interests. They were ready to leave Japan, even though they would violate the national seclusion policy. They had spent for two months waiting for the ship to appear in Hashima after setting out from the castle town of Kagoshima. On the day of departure, they boarded a steam sailing vessel named the “Australian” with strong determination. It was exactly one step forward for facilitating the modernization of Japan. Ichikikushikino city has established a museum, the “Satsuma Students Museum” in order to make the public aware of the trials and experiences of the Satsuma students’ journey and their accomplishment after returning to Japan. The museum was opened in July 2014 and shares their achievements and great contributions to the modernization of Japan. When we think about the chaotic and anxious current time and back then, we might need to learn something from the path those pioneers had made. We hope this museum will inspire people, especially the younger generation, to realize the importance of opening their eyes, not only to home but also abroad, so that they can open up new prospects for the future of Japan. We are looking forward to seeing you at the museum.


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