Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Japan400 years celebrations Japan400 England selling to Japan Selling to UK Suntory

Suntory Wine International Ltd. - Tomi no oka Winery one of the supporters of Japan400

Four hundred years ago on the 11th June 1613 , the trading ship,‘The Clove’  arrivd at the port of Hirado near Nagasaki , Japan. 

 She was captained by export salesman extraordinaire John Saris .

We can now all populate our personal histories on a time line on our ' wall' on facebook.

 How might such a time line have looked 400 years ago for a certain John Saris ?

This year celebrates the 400th anniversary of Japanese/English trade relations through the initiative of

I had heard of the story of another Englishman who went to Japan- William Adams-  I confess only because his story was adapted in the novel and TV series "Shogun", but not of John Saris. It turns out the real Adams and Saris met in Japan.

 Not only that by coincidence John Saris is buried in the Church that I attend.

A special concert presented by Japan400 called " A Voyage through words and music"  took place in the church last night.

Lord Salisbury reading his ancestor's mission
 audience with King James I

Sales Strategy Presentation and Mission Statement
( 1611 style)

The present Lord Salisbury read from his ancestor's  record of an audience with King James 1st ( VI th of Scotland) describing the mission of  The Clove.

".. He ( John Saris) will then sail past the lands of the great Murghal to Java and the Spiceries, where he will linger to conduct further trade. From there the Clove alone shall sail to Japan with what British Goods are vendible in that place. ( Apparently the first beer to reach Japan)
He will seek out Mr William Adams, of Gillingham and Limehouse, an Englishman whom we learn has lived at the Japonian court for many years, and become a gentleman there."

Adams had a high regard for Japan, its people, and its civilisation:
Sales and Marketing Research and Cultural Insight (1612)

“The people of this Land of Japan are good of nature, curteous above measure, and valiant in war: their justice is severely executed without any partiality upon transgressors of the law. They are governed in great civility. I mean, not a land better governed in the world by civil policy. The people be very superstitious in their religion, and are of diverse opinions.“  (William Adams's letter to Bantam, 1612)

Part of an Ikabane display at
All Saints Church Fulham for the concert
Sales Opportunity Identified - ' Dutch already doing good business here.'

In 1611, news came to Adams of an English settlement in Banten, Indonesia, and he sent a letter asking them to give news of him to his family and friends in England and enticing them to engage in trade with Japan which "the Hollanders have here an Indies of money" (Adams's letter to Bantam)

In 1613, the English captain John Saris arrived at Hirado in the ship Clove with the intent of establishing a trading factory for the British East India Company (Hirado was already a trading post for the Dutch East India Company )

 Saris and Adams apparently did not get on too well .

Tombstone of John Saris in the chancel of
 All Saints Church Fulham , London
"He’s gone ‘native’"

 Saris was suspicious of Adams’ praise of Japan and adoption of Japanese customs:

“He persists in giving "admirable and affectionated commendations of Japan. It is generally thought amongst us that he is a naturalized Japaner." (John Saris)

In Hirado, Adams refused to stay in English quarters and instead resided with a local Japanese magistrate.

 It was also commented that he was wearing Japanese dress and spoke Japanese fluently!!
His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador to the
United Kingdom Keiichi Hayashi
Address at All Saints Church Fulham

Money, Authority and Need

– Who were the 'Decision makers' and 'Influencers' back in the day ?

 Adams estimated the cargo of the Clove was of little value, essentially broadcloth, tin and cloves (acquired in the Spice Islands), saying that "such things as he had brought were not very vendible’

 Saris and Adams travelled to Shizuoka where they met with Ieyasu at his principal residence in September and then continued to Kamakura where they visited the famous Buddha (the 1252 Daibutsu on which the sailors etched their names [legacy of British tourists oh dear !]) before moving on to Edo where they met Ieyasu's son Hidetada who was now nominally Shogun even though Ieyasu retained most of the actual decision-making powers.

Evan Davis, economist,author and presenter
of BBC Radio 4 excellent business programme
'Bottom line'
Reading form John Saris' log of the voyage to Japan.

On their way back, they  visited Tokugawa, who conferred trading privileges to the English through a “Red Seal” permit giving them "free license to abide, buy, sell and barter" in Japan.  

 The English party headed back to Hirado on 9 October 1613.

On this occasion, Adams asked for and obtained Tokugawa's authorisation to return to his home country.

 However, Adams ultimately declined Saris' offer to bring him back to England.

"I answered him I had spent in this country many years, through which I was poor... [and] desirous to get something before my return".

 However in  letter  to a William  Adams he revealed that  "The reason I would not go with him was for diverse injuries done against me, which were things to me very strange and unlooked for."

As Japan400 continues hroughout this year we will learn more about tis fascinating time in theh history of Selling
Singers and dancers from Hirado, Japan
The port that John Saris in 1613

Realted Links