Nagasaki

Mixed cultures from historical foreign trade due to its geographical location

Nagasaki is located on the Northwest coast of the island of Kyushu. It has played a significant role in foreign trade as a port city due to its geographical location. Foreign cultures were brought to Nagasaki by missionaries from Portugal, Spain and Netherland and Chinese traders and it has helped Japanese modernization.

Nagasaki is also known as the second city after Hiroshima that was destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II.

Shippoku Ryori - It is one of the great examples of multicultural influence on Nagasaki. Various types of fusion foods influenced by Japan, China and Western countries are served on a Chinese style round table. 

Nagasaki Champon - It is noodles topped with vegetables, pork and seafood. During the Meiji period, Chinese chef invented this dish for Chinese students to fill up their stomach for cheap.


Sara Udon - Noodles created under the influence by China.

Guzouni - Shimabara region’s traditional soup with vegetables, meat, fish and rice cakes that was created for fighters during the Shimabara Rebellion in the 17th century.


Castella - Castella is a Japanese sponge cake. It was first brought by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century.

Following the arrival of the first Portuguese ship to Nagasaki in the middle of the 16th century, missionaries from Portugal, Spain, Netherland and elsewhere came to Nagasaki to spread Christianity.

 

During that time Nagasaki flourished as an international city. 

In the 1630s, the third Tokugawa Shogun implemented the “Sakoku” policy that banned trading except for limited four ports including Dejima, an isolated island in Nagasaki.

 

At Dejima trading with only Dutch and Chinese was allowed and Dejima served as a prominent port during that time. The Nagasaki Peace Park commemorates the atomic bombing of the city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Hasami Porcelain and Mikawachi Porcelain are representative of Nagasaki’s local products. Both were introduced by potters from Korea 400 years ago. Hasami area is rich in soils for ceramics and has produced about 30% of daily wares in early 1990.

 

Mikawachi, a small village, has also flourished by making porcelain under the patronage of the Hirado daimyo (feudal lord). During the period of “Sakoku” policy, Hirado daimyo lost benefits from trading as a port at Hirado was forced to close. The Hirado daimyo encouraged to make ceramics for an export to seek for other source of revenue, and the Mikawachi Porcelain was exported to Netherland and China.

Nagasaki is also known for bekko, a traditional craft made by using the shell of a Taimai sea turtle that was brought to Nagasaki through international trading. As sea turtle being a symbol of long life, tie pines, hair accessories and jewelries were made and widely used by not only Japanese but also foreigners who came to Nagasaki.

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Hirotaka Iwasaki

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