Saccho Domei (Satsuma-Choshu Alliance) (薩長同盟)

Saccho Domei' refers to the political and military alliance concluded on March 7, 1866 in the last days of the Edo period between the Satsuma Domain and Choshu Domain. It is also called the "Saccho Meiyaku" (Satsuma-Choshu Confederacy) or "Saccho Rengo" (Satsuma-Choshu League).

The Satsuma and Choshu Domains, both of which had clout within Japanese political circles in the last days of the Edo period, had the anti-shogunate idea in common. However, the Satsuma Domain, led by Takamori SAIGO and Toshimichi OKUBO, ousted the Choshu Domain from Kyoto in the Coup of August 18 and the "Kinmon no Hen" (the Kinmon Incident) in cooperation with the Aizu Domain. In addition, in the First Choshu Expedition (also called the Baku-cho War [the war between Choshu and 'bakufu,' or shogunate]), the Satsuma Domain participated and forced the Choshu Domain to surrender. Therefore, the two clans held hostility to each other. Notwithstanding, the two clans held a conference at the residence of the Choshu Domain's senior retainer Kisuke FUKUNAGA (an advocate of the war against the bakufu), with the mediation of Ryoma SAKAMOTO and Shintaro NAKAOKA, both of whom had left the Tosa Domain and had relationship with the Satsuma and Choshu domain. Although the conference due to be held in Shimonoseki was cancelled by Saigo just before its start, the six-article alliance for defeating the shogunate was concluded on March 7 (some say on March 8) with the mediation of Sakamoto at Kiyotada KOMATSU's residence in Kyoto (in the present Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City) between the Satsuma representatives (Takamori SAIGO, Toshimichi OKUBO and Kiyotada KOMOTSU [the clan's chief retainer]) and the Choshu counterpart Takayoshi KIDO (called Kogoro KATSURA at that time). Besides, there were some attendees from the Satsuma Domain, namely, Ise SHIMAZU (also called Jinroku Koken SUWA), Hisatake KATSURA, Tomozane YOSHII and Shigeru NARAHARA.

Content of the Alliance (Six Articles)
Article 1: When war breaks out between the Choshu clan and bakufu, the Satsuma Domain shall immediately dispatch its approximately 2000 soldiers to Kyoto, make them guard Kyoto together with the soldiers already there at present, and keep about 1000 soldiers in Osaka, thereby taking control of Kyoto and Osaka.

Article 2 : When the Choshu Domain's victory is near at hand, the Satsuma Domain shall immediately appeal to the Imperial Court to back up Choshu and make every effort to mediate a peace.

Article 3 : Even if worst comes to worst, the total destruction of the Choshu Domain would not come in a year, or at least half a year, so the Satsuma Domain shall make every effort to help Choshu during this period.

Article 4 : When the war ends in stalemate and bakufu returns to the Kanto region, the Satsuma Domain shall definitely appeal to the Imperial Court to clear up the false charge of being the enemy of the emperor, which was imposed on Choshu on the occasion of Coup on August 18.

Article 5 : We will make our forces come into Kyoto and Osaka, so if the clan of Hitotsubashi, Kuwana and Aizu (the allies of Bakufu) continue to commit the sacrilege of utilizing the Imperial Court, reject the implementation of the right, and block the mediation of the Satsuma Domain, we cannot help but fight a decisive battle against bakufu.

Article 6 : When the false charge is cleared up, both the Satsuma Domain and Choshu Domain are sure to be reconciled sincerely with each other and to do their best for the sake of the Japanese Empire, and regardless of the result of the Satsuma Domain's appeal about the charge, both clans shall make every effort from today with sincerity to revive and extend the imperial authority for the empire's sake.

At the request of Kogoro KATSURA, Ryoma SAKAMOTO endorsed the document of the alliance with a brush dipped in vermillion ink.

The six articles written on the face were concluded in the presence of some people, such as Kiyotada KOMATSU, Takamari SAIGO, Kogoro KATSURA, and Ryoma SAKAMOTO, and the contents are just the same as the alliance. God knows the alliance will never change in the future, too.

[Original Japanese]