F IR S T E N C O U N T E R S : T H E P ORT U G U E S E I N J A P A N – TAASA Review June 2013


This article was originally found in the June 2013 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 22, Issue 2, Page 7).

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Olivia Meehan I n 1543, after more than a century of exploration and expansion, the first Europeans, the Portuguese, landed on the Isle of Tanegashima off the southern island of Kysh, Japan.

Their arrival has been described in Japanese as kamikaze, by the winds of the gods', orby accident’ and, indeed, the Portuguese did not intend to visit Japan; their landing on Japanese shores was caused by severe weather conditions (Lidin 2002).

Initially they were received well by the Daimy and the shgunate of Japan, who recognized the political importance and value of relations with the Portuguese as facilitators of trade with China...