Satsuma clan, located in the southern gateway of Japan, was led by Lord Nariakira Shimadzu. Sengan-en is the garden of his second residence overlooking Kagoshima Bay and Sakurajima volcano. He had a passion for the Western steamship and was quick to react to national defense. He developed the pioneer factory complex of the Shuseikan project in his garden. He built the first steamboat in Japan called Unko-Maru in 1855. A Dutch instructor of the Nagasaki Naval Institute visited Shuseikan and commented 'there are some imperfections in the details, but I take my hat off to the genius of the people who were building the ship without seeing an actual machine'. Shipbuilding was at the heart of the new national mission, Samurai in clans aspired to construct large modern ocean-going steamships for a navy and merchant fleet. The building of such advanced ships, however, required such a comprehensive technical knowledge that it remained for some time an insurmountable challenge.
Shuseikan was developed to help equip the Satsuma Lords in their defence of Kagoshima and the Ryukyu Islands (which the Satsuma administered) from foreign threat. Shuseikan was principally developed with cannon manufacturing and warship building in mind and marks the beginnings of the process of Western technology transfer to Japan, from 1851. Shuseikan included a reverberatory furnace, foreign engineers' residence and a machinery factory. Elements form a technological ensemble and comprise remains that date from 1851 to 1877.
|Designation:||National historic site|
|Address:||Shoko Shuseikan Museum, 9700-1 Yoshino, Kagoshima city, Kagoshima|
|Opening time :||8:30-17:30 (17:20, Nov 1-March 15)|