In the late Edo period (1603–1868), the Choshu Domain established dozens of batteries along the coast facing the Hibikinada and Seto Inland Sea to prepare for foreign attacks. Maeda Battery Site is one of the batteries created by the Choshu Domain on the Kanmon Straits for a war based on the principle of excluding foreigners in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate (commonly called the Shimonoseki War). It is located close to the east entrance of the Kanmon Straits that gives a panoramic view from the Kanmon Straits to the Suonada, and consists of a “lower battery” and a “higher battery.” The national isolation policy of the shogunate government crumbled, and at the end of the Edo period when ports were continuously being opened, supporters of the expulsion of foreigners who were discontent with Japan opening itself to the world became involved with noble supporterscourt nobility supporting of this movement. The Choshu Domain, which was centered bent on this exclusion of foreigners, established the Maeda Battery (lower battery) in preparation for war to expel foreigners. On May 10, 1863, it fired on the Pembroke, an American trade ship that was anchored in the waters of Tanoura. Seeing the Pembroke flee to the Suonada, the fighting spirit of the Choshu Domain soared. It also fired on the French dispatch boat, the Kien-Chang on the 23rd of the same month, and on the Medusa belonging to the Dutch Far East Fleet that was sailing from Nagasaki to Yokohama on the 26th. In a short period, trade ships and military vessels from the United States, France, and the Netherlands were fired on 3 times. Robert Pruyn , the United States Foreign Minister to Japan, viewed took a dim view of this situation as grave and protested to the shogunate government. He encouraged Commander David McDougal of the Wyoming, a the naval ship, the Wyoming that was anchored in Yokohama, to carry out a reprisal attack. On June 1st that year, the Wyoming entered the Kanmon Straits and discovered the Choshu Domain naval ships, the Koshin Maru, the Jinjutsu Maru, and the Kigai Maru anchored at Shimonoseki Port. It fired on the Jinjutsu Maru and sank it. Furthermore, on June 5th, French forces penetrated from the east side of the lower battery. It was taken overcaptured and destroyed. In 1864, a higher battery was built in a short period of time to make defense preparations on the eastern side. In the same year, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and the United States invaded Shimonoseki using a combined 4-country fleet on the pretext of punishing the Choshu Domain and removing the military blockade in the straits. The true aim of the Western countries was to demand retraction of the exclusion of foreign ships in Yokohama and gain an imperial sanction of commercial trade through military force. The invincible combined fleet began firing on the battery in Shimonoseki on August 5th, and the battle with the Choshu Domain continued until August 8th. Maeda Battery stood on a key site in the straits and suffered a concentrated attack. The combined fleet breached the battery and it was taken overcaptured. On the afternoon of August 8th, envoys were dispatched from the Choshu Domain and the fighting ceased. Peace was achieved on August 14th. Both batteries were destroyed by the combined fleet, and the cannons installed there were seized. Some of the cannons still remain in those countries, but one of them was returned by the Army Museum at Les Invalides in Paris, France and is displayed at Shimonoseki City History Museum.
Address：1-7 Maeda, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Tel： 083-254-4697 (Board of Education Cultural Properties Protection Division )
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Category: Constituent cultural properties
Genre: Story 1