Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tokyo Jan

The first Dutch ship to reach Japan was De Liefde (Love). It was shipwrecked off the island of Kyushu in 1600. The surviving crewmembers were not allowed to leave Japan. One of them, Jan Joosten van Lodensteyn (1556-1623), eventually moved to Tokyo where he became a merchant and advisor to the shogun, the Japanese military ruler. In due course, the area of Tokyo where he lived was given a Japanese version of Jan Joosten's name, Yaesu八重洲 (Jan Joosten -> Yayosu -> Yaesu). This area would later become home to Tokyo Central Station and so a number of toponyms in and around the station include this Japanese version of Jan Joosten's name to this day, for example, Yaesu kitaguchi 八重洲 北口i.e  Yaesu North Entrance. 



Further reading: Christopher Joby, ‘Dutch in Seventeenth-Century Japan: A Social History’. Dutch Crossing.  Published online: 26 Feb. 2017. https://doi.org/10.1080/03096564.2017.1279449

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