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Japan: Yokosuka (Tsukayama Park/ 塚山公園)

Concluding our travels in Yokosuka, we travel to Tsukayama Park, a scenic hilltop park where you can see the memorial for William Adams (Anjin Miura) and his wife, Oyuki.

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William Adams (Anjin Miura)

William Adams (1564-1620) was a British navigator who travelled to Japan becoming the first Western samurai. If you are old enough, you may recall the 1980s television mini-series, called Shogun starring Richard Chamberlain. The series was based on a novel by James Clavell who used William Adams as the inspiration for his lead character.

Shogun

Adams along with a crew of about twenty sick and dying men dropped anchor off the coast of Kyushu, Japan in April 1600. The ship carrying the ill-fated crew was called the Liefde. The journey had taken nineteen months and the crew originally numbered 100. Shortly after his arrival, Adams won the favor of Tokugawa Ieyasu and was charged with building Japan’s first Western-style sailing ships. Although Adams had a wife and children back home in England, he was not permitted to leave Japan. He was given the authority of samurai and called Anjin Miura thereafter. Miura eventually married a woman named, Oyuki (お雪), the daughter of a highway official named Magome Kageyu. The couple had a son and a daughter together.

Miura went on to become a revered diplomatic and trade advisor to Ieyasu. He was granted land within the present boundaries of Yokosuka and provided with a sizeable income. Following Ieyasu’s death in 1616, Miura relocated to Nagasaki where he tried to establish his own foreign trade business. He died at Hirado, north of Nagasaki, on May 16, 1620 at the age of 55. His title was transferred to his son who became a successful trader until the seclusion of Japan and the Closed Country Edict of 1635. After this time, his name disappeared from all historical records.

Although Miura is buried in Hirado, Nagasaki, his son, in accordance with the wishes and dictates of his father’s will, established a memorial for his parents in Yokosuka. The memorial located within Tsukayama Park is 20 minutes on foot from the Anjinzuka Station on the Keikyu Line. In addition to the memorial, the park has several nice viewpoints overlooking the Yokosuka Bay area. On a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji to the west and the Boso Peninsula to the south.

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The cherry trees make the park a popular destination in April. There is an annual festival honoring Miura during this time as well. It is said that Miura loved to climb up to this area and survey Edo. By climbing up the hill to the park you just maybe tracing his footsteps yourself.

Web page: http://www.kanagawa-park.or.jp/tsukayama/

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