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The first “Mediterranean Samurai”

For many centuries Japan was a country that had no relationship or contact with Europe, except for some sporadic encounter with adventurous merchants from the “Silk Road” according to Marco Polo.

The first documented direct contact between Cipango (Japan) and Europe finally occurred in 1542, when a shipwreck sees three Portuguese sailors land on the Japanese islands.

From that moment various encounters took place, especially with Spanish and Portuguese Jesuits, until 1582 when the “Tensho” mission travelled to Europe in order to establish contact with the Pope and the European kings.

Encouraged by the positive results of this mission, in 1613 the great feudal lord DATE MASAMUNE decided to send the galleon Date Maru to Europe on a great expedition to establish commercial relations with Spain and a religious agreement with the Vatican.

This was the Keicho Embassy, made up of Japanese merchants and 22 authentic Samurai, under the command of the noble Samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga.

Despite three years of negotiations, unfortunately the embassy was not able to achieve their desired treaty, however they left a profound mark: a group of these Samurai who became fascinated with the passion and warmth of the Spanish population, decided to remain in Spain: the first “Mediterranean Samurai”. 

These were the first individuals who merged the traditional Japanese values with the Mediterranean passion and creativity, leaving as a legacy for their hundreds of descendants the surname “JAPÓN”. 

The new “Mediterranean Samurai”

Since 1543, and for more than three centuries, there were only a handful of commercial and religious links between Japan and Spain, but no meetings forged between the two societies that generated mutual knowledge, except for the 17th century KEICHO Embassy and its first “Mediterranean Samurai”.

In 1868, a first official commercial and diplomatic agreement was finally signed between the two countries, but it was not until the end of the 20th century that a radical change occurred in this situation.

All of a sudden, Japanese society began to show a great deal of interest in Antoni Gaudí’s architecture, flamenco singing and dancing, Spanish culture and for the Mediterranean passion, which continues to grow increasingly today.

At the same time, in Spain, there was also a huge interest in Japanese modernity and technology, its gastronomy, literature, martial arts, Manga … as well as a true fascination for the ancestral values of the Japanese culture and the legendary Samurai.

This deep and constant exchange between both cultures during the last decades has produced a new reality that we have called “The new Mediterranean Samurai“: the fusion of Japanese modernity, culture and values with the Mediterranean passion and creativity. 

A new concept that we can observe in Japanese companies and professionals present in Spain who have appreciated and adapted to our culture and values.

Likewise, one has noted Spanish companies and professionals that have incorporated concepts of traditional Japanese culture and their capacity for innovation and modernity into their philosophy and activity.

Here we present a selection of “Mediterranean Samurai” that collaborate with us and showcase their projects and activities.