Inutabu Riot (Inutabu Sōdō 犬田布騒動)

The Inutabu Riot occurred on April 23, 1864 (old lunar calendar: March 18, Bunkyū 4) in Inutabu Village, Tokunoshima. From the peasant’s point of view it is also called Inutabu Crusade (Inutabu gisen 犬田布義戦), emphasizing the righfulness of the action.

Background: The Amami Islands, which produced sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), were exploited by the strict sugar policy of the Satsuma Domain at that time and the islanders were prohibited from buying and selling sugar. The origin of the turmoil is said to be that one of the farmers, Niiyama Tamenari 新山為盛, was arrested and tortured on suspicion of diversion of sugar.

Over 150 Inutabu farmers rioted to rescue Tamenari, besieged the Satsuma magistrate’s office (kariya), chased the government officials, and stayed in the forest as their stronghold for seven days. Unable to to declare all villagers criminals, the magistrate’s office just exiled seven people to resolve the case without bloodshed. This turmoil became known throughout the Amami Islands and the subsequent sugar management was greatly eased.

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