The transoceanic voyage in ships of Hasekura Tsunenaga () was remarkable in its scope and vision standing in hard contrast to the policies of the . A slightly more relevant case in point would probably be the story of Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga, a samurai who sailed from Japan to. Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga ( – ) (Japanese: 支倉六右衛門常長, also spelled Faxecura Rocuyemon in period European sources.

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Hasekura Rokuemon Tsunenaga — Japanese: On the return trip, Hasekura and his companions re-traced their route across Mexico insailing from Acapulco for Manilatsunebaga then sailing north to Japan in Although Hasekura’s embassy was cordially received in Europe, during his stay there, the Japanese Shogunate began its suppression of Christianity and its sakoku policy of national isolation. Hasekura and his Japanese entourage attracted considerable attention wherever they went, and numerous journals, church records and historical documents in Mexico and Europe contain descriptions of them.

Little is known of the early life of Hasekura Tsunenaga. He was a mid-level noble samurai in the Sendai Domain in northern Japan, in the service of the daimyo Date Masamune. It is also recorded that, for six months inHasekura served as hasekhra samurai in the Japanese invasion of Korea under Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

His fief was confiscated, and his son should ordinarily have been executed with him. Date, however, gave him the opportunity to redeem his honor by placing him in charge of the embassy to Europe, and soon returned his territories to him. There, the silver was used to purchase spices and trade goods gathered from throughout Asia, including until goods from Japan. Spanish ships were periodically shipwrecked on the coasts of Japan due to bad weather, hawekura contact between Spain and Japan.

However, some Japanese, such as Christopher and Cosmas, are known to have crossed the Pacific onboard Spanish galleons as early as It is known that gifts were exchanged between the governor of the Philippines and Toyotomi Hideyoshiwho thanked him in a letter datedwriting “The black elephant in particular I found most unusual.

Inthe Spanish Manila galleon San Francisco encountered bad weather on its way from Manila to Acapulco, and was wrecked on the Japanese coast in Chiba, near Tokyo. The sailors were rescued and welcomed, and the ship’s captain, Rodrigo de Vivero, former interim governor of the Philippines, met with the retired shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Rodrigo de Vivero drafted a treaty, signed on November 29,allowing for the Spaniards to establish a factory in eastern Japan, mining specialists to be imported from New Spain, Spanish ships to visit Japan in case of necessity, and a Japanese embassy to be sent to the Spanish court.

A Franciscan monk named Luis Sotelo, who was proselytizing in the area of Tokyoconvinced Tokugawa Ieyasu and his son Tokugawa Hidetada to send him as a representative to New Spain Mexico on one of their ships, in order to advance the trade treaty. Vizcaino hasekurz in Japan inand met many times with the Shogun and feudal lords. His lack of respect for Japanese customs, the mounting resistance of the Japanese towards Catholic proselytism, and the intrigues of the Dutch against Spanish ambitions made these meetings ineffectual.

Vizcaino finally left to search for the “Silver island,” encountered bad weather, and returned haselura Japan with his ships heavily damaged.

Without waiting for Vizcaino, another ship — built in Izu by the Bakufu under the minister of the Navy Mukai Shogen, and named San Sebastian, left for Mexico on September 9,carrying Luis Sotelo and two representatives of Date Masamune, with the objective of advancing the trade agreement with New Spain. However, the ship foundered a few miles from Uraga, and the expedition had to be abandoned. The galleon, named Date Maru by the Japanese and later San Juan Bautista by the Spanish, was built in 45 days, with the participation of technical experts from the Bakufu the Minister of the Navy Mukai Shogen, an acquaintance of William Adams with whom he built several ships, dispatched his Chief Carpentershipwrights, smiths, and carpenters.

The daimyo of Sendai, Date Masamune, was put in charge of the project, and named one of his retainers, Hasekura Tsunenaga his tsunenags was rated at around kokuto lead the mission:.

The tsunenxga of the Japanese embassy was both to discuss trade agreements with the Spanish crown in Madrid, and to meet with the Pope in Rome. Date Masamune displayed a great willingness to welcome the Catholic religion in his domain: In his letter to the Pope, brought by Hasekura, he wrote: Send us as many padres as possible.

Hasekura Tsunenaga – Wikipedia

The embassy was probably part of a plan to diversify and increase trade with foreign countries, before the participation of Christians in the Osaka rebellion caused the Shogunate to prohibit Christianity in the territories it directly controlled, in The Date Maru ship left on October, 28, for Acapulco, with around people on board, including ten samurai of the Shogun provided by the Minister of the Navy Mukai Shogen Tadakatsu12 samurai from Sendai, Japanese merchants, sailors, and servants, and around 40 Spaniards and Portuguese, including Sebastian Vizcaino who, in his own words, only had the status of a passenger.


The ship first reached Cape Mendocino in today’s Californiaand then continued along the coast to arrive in Acapulco on January 25,after three months at sea.

The Japanese were received with great ceremony, but had to wait in Hasekurs until they received orders regarding the rest of their travels.

Fights erupted between the Japanese and the Spaniards, especially Vizcaino, apparently over the handling of presents from the Japanese ruler. Following these fights, orders were promulgated on March 4th and March 5th to restore peace. Hasejura orders explained that:.

The Japanese will be free to go where they want, and should be treated properly. They should not be abused in words or actions. They will be free to sell their goods. These orders have been promulgated to the Spanish, the Indians, the Mulattos, the Mestizos, and the Blacks, and those who don’t respect them will be punished”. The embassy remained two months in Acapulco and on March 24,entered Mexico City, [12] where it was received with great ceremony.

The embassy spent some time in Mexico, and then went to Veracruz to board the fleet of Don Antonio Oquendo and continue its mission to Europe.

Hasekura Tsunenaga – Wikiwand

They are transporting here all things of iron, and writing desks, and some cloth that they are to sell here. Hasekura was settled in a house next to the Church of San Francisco, and met with the Viceroy. He explained to him that he tsunenagq also planning to meet King Philip III to offer him peace and to obtain permission for the Japanese to come to Mexico for tsknenaga. Altogether, 63 of them received confirmation on April Hasekura tsunejaga for his travel to Europe to be baptized there:.

The embassy left for Europe on nasekura San Jose on June 10, Hasekura had to leave the largest part of the Japanese group behind, to wait in Acapulco for the return of the embassy. Chimalpahin explains that Hasekura left some of his compatriots behind before leaving for Europe:. In going he divided his vassals; he took a certain number of Japanese, and he left an equal number here as merchants to trade and sell things.

Some of them, as well as those from the previous voyage of Tanaka Shosuke, returned to Japan the same year, sailing back with the San Juan Bautista:. Some still remained here; they earn a living trading and selling here the goods they brought with them from Japan.

The embassy stopped and changed ships in Havana in Cuba in July, A bronze statue commemorating this event was erected on April 26,at the head of Havana Bay. He sent carriages to honor them and accommodate the Ambassador tsunfnaga his gentlemen” Scipione Amati “History of the Kingdom of Voxu”.

He was accompanied by 30 Japanese with blades, their captain of the guard, and 12 bowmen and halberdiers with painted lances and blades of ceremony. The captain of the guard was Christian and was called Don Thomas, the son of a Japanese martyr. He has come to give his obediences to His Holiness on behalf of his king and queen, who have been baptized. All of them had rosaries around their necks; he has come to receive baptism from the hand of the Pope….

Hasekura remitted to the King a letter from Date Masamune, as well as an offer for a treaty. The King responded that he would do what he could to accommodate these requests. Hasekura was baptized on February 17 by the king’s personal chaplain, and renamed Felipe Francisco Hasekura. The baptism ceremony was to have been conducted by the Archbishop of Toledo, though he was too ill to actually carry this out, and the Duke of Lerma — the main administrator of Phillip III’s rule and the de facto ruler of Spain — was designated as Hasekura’s godfather.

After traveling across Spain, the embassy sailed on the Mediterranean Sea aboard three Spanish frigates towards Italy. Due to bad weather, they had to stay for a few days in the French harbour of Saint-Tropez, where they were received by the local nobility, and made quite a sensation with the populace.

The Japanese Embassy went on to Italy where they were able to meet with Pope Paul V in Rome in November,the same year Galileo Galilei was first confronted by the Roman Inquisition regarding his findings against geocentricism.

Hasekura remitted to the Pope two gilded letters, one in Japanese and one in Latin, containing a request for a trade treaty between Japan and Mexico and the dispatch of Christian missionaries to Japan. These letters are still visible in the Vatican archives. The Pope agreed to the dispatch of missionaries, but left the decision for trade to the King of Spain. The Roman Senate also gave to Hasekura the honorary title of Roman Citizen, in a document he brought back to Japan, and which is preserved today in Sendai.

Sotelo also described the visit to the Pope, book De ecclesiae Iaponicae statu relatio published posthumously in Besides the official description of Hasekura’s visit to Rome, some contemporary communications indicate that political matters were also discussed, and that an alliance with Date Masamune was suggested as a way to establish Christian influence in the whole of Japan:.


On his return to Spain, Hasekura met again with the King, who declined to sign a trade agreement, on the ground that the Japanese Embassy did not appear to be an official embassy from the ruler of Japan Tokugawa Ieyasuwho, on the contrary, had promulgated an edict in January ordering the expulsion of all missionaries from Japan, and started the persecution of the Christian faith in Japan.

The embassy left Seville for Mexico in June after a period of two years spent in Europe. The embassy of Hasekura Tsunenaga was the subject of numerous publications throughout Europe.

The Italian writer Scipione Amati, who accompanied the embassy in andpublished in in Rome a book titled “History of the Kingdom of Voxu.

Hasekura stayed in Mexico for five months on his way back to Japan. Captained by Yokozawa Shogen, she was laden with fine pepper and lacquerware from Kyoto, which were sold on the Mexican market. Following a request by the Spanish king, in order to avoid too much silver leaving Mexico for Japan, the Viceroy asked for the proceeds to be spent on Mexican goods, except for an amount of 12, pesos and 8, pesos in silver which Hasekura and Yokozawa could bring back with them respectively. The ship was acquired by the Spanish government there, for use in building up defenses against the attacks of the Dutch and the English.

The bishop of the Philippines with the local Filipinos and native Tagalog in Manila described the deal to the king of Spain in a missive dated July 28, During his stay in the Philippines with local Filipinos and Native Tagalog, Hasekura purchased numerous goods for Date Masamune, and built a ship, as he explained in a letter he wrote to his son.

He finally returned to Japan in Augustreaching the harbor of Nagasaki. By the time Hasekura came back, Japan had changed drastically: News of these persecutions arrived in Europe during Hasekura’s embassy, and European rulers — especially the King of Spain — became very reluctant to respond favorably to Hasekura’s trade and missionary proposals.

Hasekura reported his travels to Date Masamune upon his arrival in Sendai. It is recorded that he remitted a portrait of Pope Paul V, a portrait of himself in prayer shown aboveand a set of Ceylonese and Indonesian daggers acquired in the Philippines, all preserved today in the Sendai City Museum. The direct effect of Hasekura’s return to Sendai was the interdiction of Christianity in the Sendai fief two days later:. It is not known what Hasekura said or did to bring about such a reaction.

Later events indicate that he and his descendants remained faithful Christians; Hasekura may have given an enthusiastic — and disturbing — account of the greatness and might of Western countries and the Christian religion. He may also have encouraged an alliance between the Church and Date Masamune to take over Japan an idea promoted by the Franciscans while in RomeHopes of trade with Spain evaporated when Hasekura communicated that the Spanish King would not enter into an agreement as long as persecutions were occurring in the rest of the country.

Date Masamune, who had been very tolerant of Christianity in spite of the Bakufu’s prohibition in the land it directly controlled, suddenly chose to distance himself from the Western faith. The first executions of Christians started 40 days later. The anti-Christian measures taken by Date Masumune were, however, comparatively mild, and Japanese and Western Christians repeatedly claimed that they were only undertaken to appease the Shogun:. One month after Hasekura’s return, Date Masamune wrote a letter to the Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada, in which he makes a very clear effort to evade responsibility for the embassy, explaining in detail how it was organized with the approval, and even the collaboration, of the Shogun:.

From Japan to Civitavecchia: Hasekura Tsunenaga’s trip

Spain, with a colony and hasrkura army in the nearby Philippines, was the greatest threat to Japan at that time. Contemporary Christian commentators could only rely on hearsay; some rumors claimed that he abandoned Christianity, others that he was martyred for his faith, and others that he practiced Christianity in secret. The hasekuraa of his descendants and servants, who were later executed for being Christians, suggests that Hasekura remained strongly Christian himself, and transmitted his faith to the members of his family.

Sotelo, who returned to Japan but was caught and finally burned at the stake ingave before his tssunenaga an account of Hasekura returning to Japan as a hero who propagated the Christian faith, and passed away one year after his return:.