A bit of History


I’ve always loved to study History, despite the fact that when I was in school many of my classmates found that it was a geeky thing… Lately I’ve been reading some articles about the Portuguese presence in Japan (The Portuguese were the first European people to ever land on Japan) and amongst many interesting things that I read I found this bit really sweet, it’s about what Francisco Xavier (a Portuguese missionary) thought of the Japanese people.

It’s a quotation from Matsuda (1965) taken from the article “Nambajin: Sobre os Portugueses no Japão” (“Nambanjin:About the Portuguese in Japan) by Daniela de Carvalho. I’ve translated this myself, as accurately as possible:

“The arrival of Francisco Xavier in Japan, as a missionary, is an historical landmark in the encounters between Europeans and Japanese. On April of 1549, Francisco Xavier arrived at Kagoshima in Kyushu (the land of Anjiro) with two Spanish Jesuits. Shortly after his arrival, he wrote to a friend in Goa, saying that from all the pagan people that he had met, the Japanese were the best. According to him, no other people could match them, because the Japanese were very kind and honest and didn’t have any bad thoughts in them. He also wrote that they had a good sense of humor and a surprisingly ambition for fame.”

and here is the original in Portuguese:


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