Kochi has been called “Tosa” since old times. The name is said to date back to an ancient myth about how the province was formed. In the myth, what is now Kochi was called Tosa-no-kuni Takeyoriwake and described as a virile province. The Chosokabe clan successfully unified Tosa, but Yamauchi Katsutoyo became the lord of Tosa in 1601 after the Chosokabe clan was defeated in the 1600 Battle of Sekigahara. Thus, Katsutoyo became the ruler of a 240,000-koku domain (koku was a unit used during the Edo period to show the value of land; one koku was regarded as land where enough rice for one person for one year could be produced).
At the end of the Tokugawa shogunate in the late 19th century, many reform-minded people who played a key role in overthrowing the shogunate appeared from Tosa. They included Sakamoto Ryoma, who is particularly popular with many people throughout the country. Since the 1860s, numerous great figures, such as thinkers, businessmen and scholars, have hailed from Tosa.

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