Celebrating 400 years of UK-Japan relations

Written by BCCJ
July 19, 2013

Written by BCCJ
July 19, 2013

On the evening of July 18, members from the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ), the Japan British Society (JBS), and the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) gathered at the Conrad Tokyo to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of diplomatic, trading and cultural relations between the UK and Japan.

At this landmark event, 240 guests celebrated the spirit of discovery and mutual regard that has inspired many successful collaborations and a remarkable friendship between two societies on opposite sides of the world.

Though separated by ten thousand leagues of clouds and waves, our territories are as it were close to each other.
– Tokugawa Ieyasu, letter to King James I, October 1613

BCCJ Executive Director, Lori Henderson, gave opening remarks: “It is now 400 years since a British ship named the Clove arrived into the Harbour at Hirado near Nagasaki on 12th of June 1613. At that time, King James I sent a letter and gifts for the emperor of Japan, by which they meant Tokugawa Ieyasu. In return, the Japanese gave us armour and gold screens. From this initial meeting and exchange of treasures, one of the world’s most enduring cultural, trade and political relationships was born”.

And, renowned author, essayist, academic and TV personality Nozomu Hayashi – widely recognised as Japan’s first and foremost expert on the UK – led the evening’s first kanpai (cheers).

The evening’s dresscode was British or Japanese themed, and guests were invited to participate in a variety of games that ran throughout the event, competing for prizes donated by BCCJ members:

400 Night Sponsors: Dyson, Hobgoblin, Conrad Tokyo, Toyoko Inn, Bella’s Cupcakes, Scottish Development International, GAGA Corporation, AGORA Hospitalities Co Ltd, Intrapersona K.K. (Lumina Learning Asia), Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo, Peninsula Tokyo, Central Japan Railway Company, Tokyo International Players, MIE Project Co. Ltd., Mandarin Oriental, British Council.

400 Night Photos: HERE

The Japan400 project, supported by the BCCJ (Tokyo) and the Japan Society (London) will deliver subsequent events in London over the coming months.


About the Japan400 Project

Throughout the coming year, you are invited to join in an exploration of the UK and Japan’s common history, which began with a remarkable sea voyage and an exchange of royal gifts in 1613. You can enjoy a rich programme of events in London and other parts of Britain, including art, theatre, science, enterprise, lectures on historical themes and popular festivals. Japan400 celebrates existing links and aims to further enrich the dialogue and the dynamic relationship between the two countries.