Hirado City, the Birthplace of Zheng Chenggong, the Hero of Japan and Taiwan

Zheng Chenggong Memorial Museum

1.Zheng Chenggong; His Footprints and Countries He Brought Together

1.Who is Zheng Chenggong?

Zheng Chenggong portrait
Zheng Chenggong was born in July 14, 1624, to Zheng Zhilong, who was a Chinese sea merchant based in Hirado, and Tagawa Matsu. His childhood name was Fukumatsu and his Chinese name was Zheng Sen. He traveled abroad at very young age of 7 and was granted the imperial surname of the Ming Dynasty “Shu” from Shu Yujian, when he was 21, which led to people calling him “Koxinga (man given an honorable name from the government).” Later in the battle against the Qing Dynasty, while his father Zhilong had to surrender to the Qing, Zheng Chenggong also became committed to the rebellion against the Qing Dynasty and despite disadvantageous battles advanced into Taiwan and successfully expelled the Dutch who had occupied the land. Zheng Chenggong then established a government and the legal system in Taiwan, developed the country and enriched the national resources. When he seemed to have risen to the peak of his political career, he died from disease in 1662 at the age of 39.

Zheng Zhilong, the father of Zheng Chenggong

Zheng Zhilong was born in Nanan, Fujian Province of China. His Chinese courtesy name was Fei Huang, and was later called Hiko Shogun, Hirado Roikkan. He traveled to Hirado at the age of 20 and married Tagawa Matsu and had two children with her (Fukumatsu/Tagawa Shichizaemon). Zhilong was favored by the Lord of the Hirado Domain and gradually distinguished himself and became the head of the largest merchant group in East Asia based in Japan and Taiwan. Eventually, he was requested to return to the Ming Dynasty and was appointed major general. In the course of time, Qing gained power and Zhilong had to surrender to the Qing Dynasty when the king of Ming was under a physical threat. He was then placed under confinement and executed in 1661.

Tagawa Matsu, the mother of Zheng Chenggong

Tagawa Matsu was born to Tagawa Shichizaemon and his wife. It is said that she started to have labor pains when she was picking seashells on the Senrigahama beach, and gave birth to Zheng Chenggong leaning on a large stone on the beach. In 1645, Tagawa was invited by Zheng Chenggong to live together in Quanzhou, China. However, when Qing attacked and destructed Quanzhou castle, Tagawa, who was in the castle, refused to surrender and killed herself, displaying the spirit of a Japanese woman.

Traces of Zheng Chenggong

Born in 1624 in Hirado, Zheng Chenggong traveled to his father Zhilong’s homeland Nanan, Fujian Province in China. He renamed himself Sen, became a student of Nanan Prefectural School and learned the teaching of Confucius. In 1644, he attended the Imperial Nanking University, renamed himself Damu, and later he received the imperial surname of the Ming Dynasty “Shu” and the first name “Chenggong” from Shu Yujian. When the Qing started to gain power and the King of Ming was in danger, he promised to defeat Qing and restore Ming and organized a rebel movement based in Xiamen, Quemoy. However, after the Ming Dynasty lost the battle of Nanking, Qing gradually gained power and Zheng Chenggong’s troops had to transfer their headquarters to Taiwan and waited for a chance to avenge.

Hirado Foreign Affairs Timeline

1542 Wang Zhi, a sea merchant of Ming, made Hirado the base of his trading activity.
1543 Portuguese introduced guns to Tanegashima Island.
1550 A Portuguese ship called at Hirado for the first time. (Trade with Portuguese began)
1565 The port of trade with Portuguese moved to Fukuda Port in the Omura Domain.
1584 Spanish called at Hirado Port for the first time.
1600 A Dutch trade ship Liefde washed ashore in the Bungo Area.
1609 The Dutch ship called at Hirado. (A trading house for the Dutch was established in Hirado and the trade with the Netherlands began.)
1613 An English fleet called at Hirado. (A trading house for the English was established in Hirado and the trade with England began.)
1623 The English trade house was shut down.
1639 Portuguese were forbidden to enter Japan.
1641 The Dutch trading house was shut down and moved to Nagasaki.

Zheng Chenggong Biographical Timeline

1622 His father Zheng Zhilong settled in Kawachiura, Hirado.
1624 Zheng Chenggong was born as Fukumatsu on July 14th (by the old calendar).
1630 Fukumatsu moved to China (Ming) and was given a Chinese name.
1638 Became a student in Nanan. Worshipped Confucius and received Confucian clothes.
1644 Entered Guozijian Imperial University in Nanking. Renamed himself as Damu.
1645 Met the king of Ming, Shu Yujian and received the imperial surname of Ming Dynasty “Shu” and the first name “Chenggong” from him. People called him Koxinga.
His mother moved from Japan to Quanzhou.
1646 When Qing attacked Ming and Quanzhou Castle fell, his mother Tagawa committed a suicide inside the castle. 
Became Shouto Taishogun (major general) and swore to fall Qing and revive Ming.
1648 Asked Japan to send reinforcements to the Ming Dynasty. (Totally 4 times including 1651, 1658 and 1660.)
1650 Occupied Quemoy and Xiamen and aimed to expand their force.
1661 Ming fought against the Netherlands which was occupying Taiwan and won the battle. After that, they set up their base in Taiwan, established the government, legislated, exploited the land and educated people. He aimed to revive the Ming Dynasty.
1662 Died from disease in Taiwan on May 8th (the old calendar) when he was 39 years old.
1683 Ming falls to the Qing. Three generations of Zheng ended.

2.Friendly Nations of Zheng Chenggong

Nanan in China

Nanan is located in the southeastern Fujian Province of China. The population is 1,480,000 and the total area is 2,036 square kilometers. Zheng Chenggong was raised there in his childhood and is also known as the hometown for overseas Chinese. Eastern Wu in Eian 3 (260AD), became a province, and eventually became a city in 1993. Nanan City considered the historical tie with Hirado through Zheng Chenggong as important and aimed for friendly exchanges and stimulation of economic trade. A friendship-city relationship was established with Hirado on October 20th, 1995.

Xiamen in China

Xiamen is located in the southeastern Fujian Province of China siting on the mainland at the mouth of the Jiulong River facing Taiwan. It is famous as a harbor city and for the seaport view. The total population is 3,500,000, and about 1,900,000 people live in the city of Xiamen Island. Its total area is 1,600 square kilometers. Xiamen Island is 130 square kilometers in total area. Four bridges and one undersea tunnel connect Xiamen Island with the mainland. From the end of Ming to the beginning of Qing, Zheng Chenggong set up the military base on Xiamen. Today, a statue of Zheng Chenggong is on Kolons Island, a three minute boat ride from Xiamen Island.

Tainan City in Taiwan

Tainan City is located in the southwestern Taiwan next to Kagi Prefecture and Takao City. Tainan City and Tainan Prefecture merged and promoted special municipality on December 25, 2010. Currently, the total area is 2,192 square kilometers with a population of 1,870,000. Tainan was the origin of the development of modern history as the area functioned as a center of administration from 1624 the period of Dutch rule, through the Ming Dynasty of Zheng Chenggong, to the fall of Qing Dynasty, for a total of 264 years.

Quemoy Prefecture in Taiwan

It includes twelve islands such as Greater Kinmen, Lesser Kinmen, Dadan Island and Erdan Island. It is 150 square kilometers in area. It was the base when Zheng Chenggong aimed to fall Qing and revive Ming.

3.Events Related to Zheng Chenggong

The Zheng Chenggong Festival

In 1962, Taiwan sent the sand of Zheng Chenggong’s Mausoleum to Hirado. Zheng Chenggong’s Mausoleum was built in Sendaimaruyama. The Zheng Chenggong Festival is held on his birthday, July 14th. The nation’s designated significant intangible folklore cultural asset of Hirado, Hirado’s Jangara Dance is performed, creating a grand festival.

The Maso Festival

The statue of Maso is housed in the Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall. Zheng Chenggong’s father dedicated this statue to celebrate the birth of his child. Maso is worshiped as a guardian god of sailing and fishing. The Maso Festival is held every year to pray for safety of family, a huge harvest and nature.