Postcard from... Coria del Rio
It is exactly 400 years since the samurai Hasekura Tsunenaga established the first ever diplomatic contact between Japan and Spain when, after a 12-month journey, his ship made its landfall in the small town of Coria del Rio on the River Guadalquivir in Andalusia.
And to commemorate that encounter, Prince Naruhito, pictured, the heir to the Japanese throne, ensured that part of his state visit to Spain last week included a visit to Coria del Rio. Among those who greeted him were some of the hundreds of Coria del Rio modern-day inhabitants whose surname is Japón.
Japón is Spanish for Japan and indicative, the Coria del Rio inhabitants claim, that some of Tsunenaga’s group of accompanying nobles stayed behind after their three-year visit to Italy and Spain and married local women.
Historians have backed up this theory, pointing out that Japón first appears as a surname in 1642 in Coria del Rio, some 30 years later. The modern-day Japóns from Coria include the rector of Andalusia’s International University, Juan Manuel Suárez Japón, and a former football referee, José Japón Sevilla. The youngest Japón, Carmen, was born on 10 March this year and is the daughter of Juan Francisco Japón Carvajal, president of the Hasekura Tsunenaga Hispano-Japanese association.
To commemorate the four centuries of links between the two cultures, Prince Naruhito planted a cherry tree (a symbol of friendship in Japan) next to Hasekura’s statue – itself a present from Sendai, the town where he set sail, to Coria del Rio in the early 1990s.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...