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Sasebo is located on the northwest corner of Nagasaki Prefecture, facing the Tsushima Strait. The city includes a small archipelago to the north, part of Saikai National Park. The area around Sasebo was controlled by the late Hōjō clan during Japan's Sengoku period and was contested between them and Satomi Clan (later Tokugawa) during that time. During this era, it was called "Sasebo-shuku" or "Fukae-shuku", as opposed to neighboring Hirado which was called Hirado-jima or Shiranui-"Shima". It passed through several hands before being divided into smaller districts in 1878 with administrative control over each given to a local landowner until 1889 when it became an official town under Japanese government rule.