Who was Miura Anjin?
Category: Japanese History
Seen this guy before? If you were of television watching age in 1980 and lived in the USA chances are good that you remember the miniseries Shogun, and its lead character John Blackthorne.
So why am I talking about Shogun? Because the fictional story is based in Izu and there is a fair amount of truth behind the tale.
The character Blackthorne was based on a real British pilot named William Adams. His ship did actually wreck in Japan in the year 1600. He actually did become a close confidant to Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first ruler to unite all of Japan.
Adams became Japan’s second foreign born samurai and was given a prominent position in the Japanese government, wealth, and a title. He became known as Miura Anjin in Japan, and he built Japan’s first Western style warship right here in Itō.
Itō’s biggest festival is called Anjin sai and it celebrates the life and accomplishments of Miura Anjin (William Adams). Dancing, a taiko drumming competition and a fireworks show featuring more than 10,000 fireworks are highlights of the festival held in August every year.