Episode 115 – The Far Side of the World

This week, we cover the first Japanese expeditions to Europe. How was it decided that a group of samurai should be dispatched to Rome? Were there really samurai who were also technically knights? How scandalized were the European upper classes by the idea of chopsticks? All that and more, this week!

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

This Japan Times article on 400 years of bilateral Japan-Spain relations

Ellis, Robert Richmond. “Japanese and Spaniards in the Christian Century.”

Elisonas, Jurgis. “Christianity and the Daimyo” in The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 4.

Tucci, Giuseppe. “Japanese Ambassadors as Roman Patricians.” East and West 2, No 2( July 1951).

Images

The members of the Tensho Embassy with Pope Gregory XIII.
The members of the Tensho Embassy with Pope Gregory XIII.
The members of the Tensho embassy as depicted in a German pamphlet from the time.
The members of the Tensho embassy as depicted in a German pamphlet from the time.
The European style portrait given to Hasekura as a gift when he left Europe.
The European style portrait given to Hasekura as a gift when he left Europe.
Hasekura at prayer in European style dress.
Hasekura at prayer in European style dress.
Though the original San Juan Bautista is long gone, you can go see this carefully made replica to get some idea of the scale of the ship.
Though the original San Juan Bautista is long gone, you can go see this carefully made replica to get some idea of the scale of the ship.
The route taken by Hasekura and company to Europe and back.
The route taken by Hasekura and company to Europe and back.
Hasekura Tsunenaga (in white) depicted in a fresco at the Qirinal Palace.
Hasekura Tsunenaga (in white) depicted in a fresco at the Qirinal Palace.
These daggers were purchased by Hasekura in the Philippines during his return journey, and now reside in the Iwate Prefectural Museum.
These daggers were purchased by Hasekura in the Philippines during his return journey, and now reside in the Iwate Prefectural Museum.
Though he was less than popular with the domain government at the time of his death, today Hasekura is celebrated as a pioneer of Japan's relations with the West.
Though he was less than popular with the domain government at the time of his death, today Hasekura is celebrated as a pioneer of Japan’s relations with the West.
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