Takashima Shuhan (高島秋帆)

Shuhan TAKASHIMA (September 24, 1798 - February 28, 1866) was a hojutsuka (ballistic specialist) during the late Edo period and the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. His name was Shigeyoshi. His common name was Tadanojo, Shirodayu, and Kihei. The name he called himself was Shuhan. He was the founder (ryuso, an originator) of Takashima ryu hojutsu (the Takashima School of Gunnery). He gained recognition calling himself 'kagi chukoyohei kaiso' (the originator who introduced Western gunnery and military science to Japan).

He was born in 1798 as the third son of Shigeki (Shirobe) TAKASHIMA, a Nagasaki machi toshiyori (an important local officer under the Tokugawa Shogunate of Nagasaki-machi Town). At the time, since Nagasaki was the only city in Japan open to overseas, Shuhan, who grew up there, was astonished to find such a large gap between Japanese gunnery and Western gunnery, so he studied Dutch and foreign gunnery on his own, gathered firearms and so on with his private money, and in 1834, completed the Takashima ryu hojutsu. Also in this year, Shigeyoshi NABESHIMA, the feudal lord of Takeo in the Saga Domain, became his disciple, and a year after in 1835, along with granting menkyo-kaiden (full proficiency), he presented his first original cannon (a bronze mortar).

Later on, upon learning of Qing's defeat in the Opium War with England, Shuhan submitted a written report to the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and on June 27, 1841, conducted Japan's first public exercise of foreign gunnery and western armed encampment at Bushu Tokumarugahara (at present Takashimadaira, Itabashi-Ward, Tokyo). The heishozoku (military costume) at this time was tsutsusode joi (straight-sleeved jacket) with tatsutsuke bakama (man's formal divided skirt), and a black lacquered conical jujingasa (a conical headpiece for armed soldiers) on the head; this jujingasa, particularly, was such a novelty that officers of the feudal government who came for field surveying criticized it as 'iyo no kaburimono' (an eccentric headgear). As a result of this exercise, he was given an important post from the bakufu as an expert on gunnery, and as an instructor, he initiated Hidetatsu EGAWA and Kinsaburo SHIMOZONE into gunnery, but was imprisoned in 1842 on false charges raised by Yozo TORII who was jealous of Shuhan being taken into the bakufu's confidence, and the Takashima family line ended.

He was in confinement at the Okabe Domain of Musashi Province, but the domains that felt the need for the Western military science secretly contacted Shuhan TAKASHIMA and were given lessons.

In 1853, due to the changes of social conditions caused by the arrival of Commodore Perry, he was pardoned and discharged from prison. After this, he became Kobusho Shihai (an executive of Kobusho, a military training institute) of the bakufu and a grand master. And he assisted in directing the bakufu's gunnery training. In 1866, he died at the age of 69.

In 1865, a manual for military drills named 'Hoso Shinshiki' (a book on military drills completed by Shuhan TAKASHIMA) was compiled under the name 'Shuhan TAKASHIMA Yoshi' (Hirotake HONMA was the author, and Shuhan was the editor.)
In addition, it is believed that the 'Gourei' (words of command) of those times have lived on to the present day in schools and the self-defense forces; however, 'ki o tsuke' (stand at attention!) (it was written to mean "wear or put on attention"), 'yasume' (at ease!), 'mae e susume' (get up!), 'tatetsutsu' (order arms!), 'ninaetsutsu' (shoulder arms!) and so on were made in 1858 by a man named 元岡舎圭人, and to consider that Shuhan made them is incorrect. But it is still unknown who 元岡舎圭人 was. The rucksacks that foot soldiers carried at the time were called 'randoseru' (a school rucksack), and they became a symbol for 'elementary school students' in the following generations and became a familiar sight. Also, 'Sulfate paper,' the brown wrapping paper used today, is derived from the Dutch 'patroon' paper which at the time meant kamihayago (an ammunition cartridge made with paper), and the 'custom of firearms' of those times that continue to be used in the every day lives of Japan today can be discerned from these words.

Furthermore, 'Takashimadaira' in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo is named after the public exercise of foreign gunnery and western armed military camps by Shuhan TAKASHIMA, and it is not a historical name for a place.

Shuhan's western gunnery greatly influenced patriots in the end of Edo period such as Shoin YOSHIDA, Ryoma SAKAMOTO, and Tsugunosuke KAWAI.