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Shimazu Takahisa, the 15th leader of the Shimazu clan, played a pivotal role in transforming samurai warfare by introducing firearms to Japan. With a keen interest in fostering international relations, Takahisa recognized the significance of trade and established connections with travelers of his time, particularly with the Ryukyu (Okinawa) Kingdom and China. However, this trade inadvertently led to the introduction of cockroaches into Japan through the Shimazu clan's activities.

In 1542, following a Portuguese shipwreck on Tanigashima Island within his domain, Takahisa acquired early matchlock guns. Understanding the military potential of these weapons, he sought to procure more from Portuguese traders. Upon the arrival of Francis Xavier in Japan, Takahisa was among the initial daimyo to welcome Christianity, granting permission for Jesuit priests to carry out their activities within his domain. However, due to pressure from Buddhist temples and monks, Takahisa later revoked his support for the foreign religion.

The Shimazu Takahisa-led Siege of Kajiki in 1549 marked the first use of Portuguese-derived matchlock guns in Japan, demonstrating Takahisa's early adoption of firearm technology in warfare.

Takahisa passed away at the age of 57, leaving behind a legacy that forever altered the landscape of samurai combat.


See also 

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