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Higo Province (肥後国 Higo no kuni?) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū. It was sometimes called Hishū (肥州?), with Hizen Province. Higo bordered on Chikugo, Bungo, Hyūga, Ōsumi, and Satsuma Provinces.
The castle town of Higo was usually at Kumamoto City. During the Muromachi Period, Higo was held by the Kikuchi clan, but they were dispossessed during the Sengoku Period, and the province was occupied by neighboring lords, including the Shimazu clan of Satsuma, until Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Kyūshū and gave Higo to his retainers, first Sassa Narimasa and later Kato Kiyomasa. The Kato were soon stripped of their lands, and the region was given to the Hosokawa clan.
During the Sengoku Period, Higo was a major center for Christianity in Japan, and it is also the location where Miyamoto Musashi stayed at the Hosokawa daimyo's invitation while completing his The Book of Five Rings.
In the Meiji period, the provinces of Japan were converted into prefectures. Maps of Japan and Higo Province were reformed in the 1870s. At the same time, the province continued to exist for some purposes. For example, Higo is explicitly recognized in treaties in 1894 (a) between Japan and the United States and (b) between Japan and the United Kingdom.
Media related to Higo Province at Wikimedia Commons
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