Symposium exploring Scottish connections with Japan held at the National Museum of Scotland

GBSFsympThe ‘Scottish Connections with Japan: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Impact’ public symposium was held on 3 November 2012 at the National Museum of Scotland. The symposium offered talks from artists, academics and museum curators, and was opened by a welcome address from the Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh, Mr Masataka Tarahara. Nearly 70 people attended the symposium throughout the day.

Talks commenced with a keynote by Professor Tom Devine, Personal Senior Research Professor in History and Director of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, University of Edinburgh. Professor Devine’s talk explored the early history of Scottish enterprise in the East, focusing in particular on the nature of and reasons for the success of Scottish commercial ventures, such as that of Jardine, Matheson & Co. With his talk Professor Devine …

Public Symposium on Scottish Connections with Japan

GBSFIn nineteenth-century Japan Scots were at the vanguard of European arrivals, with Thomas Blake Glover providing the most prominent example of the close ties that subsequently developed between Japan and Scotland. Glover arrived in Nagasaki in 1859 to manage the local office of Hong Kong-based Jardine Matheson, but soon set up his own trading company. He sold arms, developed coal mines and was fundamental in establishing a shipyard in Nagasaki that would later become the Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan, importing the required technology directly from the Clyde. Glover was the purveyor of the Japanese industrialisation. Of great significance too was Neil Gordon Munro, the director of Yokohama’s General Hospital and one of the first Westerners to study the Ainu people of Hokkaido. Yet while the history of Scots like …