William Adams: The First Englishman in Japan

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William Adams: The First Englishman in Japan

<p>William Adams was an English pilot and navigator who in the employ of the Dutch East India Company reached Japan in 1600. Jesuit missionaries sought to have the 23 survivors executed but the local

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William Adams was an English pilot and navigator who in the employ of the Dutch East India Company reached Japan in 1600. Jesuit missionaries sought to have the 23 survivors executed but the local Daimo, Ieyasu, later shogun of Japan, spared them. Adams over time became a key advisor to Ieyasu and supervised the first ship built in Japan to western designs. Later he played a key part in Japan’s approval for the establishment of trading factories for the Netherlands and England. Between 1614-1619 he headed 4 trading expeditions to Vietnam and Thailand. He died near Nagasaki in 1620 aged 55. He was one of the most influential foreigners in Japan during this period. This illustrated talk covers his story.


SUGGESTED READING

  • Corr William. Adams the Pilot: The Life and Times of Captain William Adams: 1564–1620. Curzon Press, 1995
  • Milton Giles. Samurai William: the Adventurer Who Unlocked Japan. Hodder and Stoughton 2002