There have long
been ties between Japan and Scotland and the following are some
examples of key individuals who have made this possible. (Taken
from the Consulate web site).
Visited Japan from
Scotland in the late 19th century and subsequently had a book
published: Unbeaten Tracks in Japan. Isabella Bird is buried in
Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.
Brown, from Glasgow,
was commissioned by the Japanese Government to chart the coasts
of Japan in 1868. He went on to work in various areas helping to
develop trade between Japan and the rest of the World and
returned to Glasgow after 20 years where he acted as Japan's
Honorary Consul in addition to setting up his own company.
Henry Brunton, an
engineer from Muchalls near Aberdeen went to Japan in 1868 and
stayed there for eight years. He was requested to supervise the
installation of a scheme for lighthouses for the entire coast of
Japan. Two brothers of the Scottish Lighthouse Board, David and
Thomas Stevenson, had previously been commissioned to design and
manufacture the scheme which Brunton was to supervise. During
his time in Japan, Brunton was involved in a variety of civil
engineering projects. He also worked closely with Hirobumi Ito
and acted as a guide to industrial establishments during the
visit of the Iwakura mission.
In 1934 Rita Cowan
from Kirkintilloch went to live in Japan with her husband,
Masataka Taketsuru, whom she had met while he was at Glasgow
University to study aspects of whisky distilling. On returning
to Japan they founded the Nikka Whisky company in Yoichi,
Hokkaido. Today there are still links between Kirkintilloch and
Yoichi through various exchange programs.
from Osaka, studied whisky making techniques in Scotland during
1919 and 1920. He married Rita Cowan in 1920 and on returning to
Japan, Taketsuru set up his own company which became Nikka, the
second largest whisky distiller in Japan.
Henry Dyer was born
in Bothwell in 1848. He studied engineering at Anderson's
College (now part of Strathclyde University), and later at
Glasgow University. He was recruited by Hirobumi Ito (future
first Prime Minister) when he came to the UK as part of the
Iwakura mission in 1872 and spent 10 years in Japan as Principal
of the Engineering College. During his time in Japan, Dyer
received several honours from the Japanese Government and
published several books resulting in him being regarded as a
leading authority on the industrial and political development of
Japan at that time.
Sir Alfred Ewing:
As a result of the
Iwakura mission to the UK Ewing took up the Chair of Mechanical
Engineering at Tokyo Engineering College (amalgamated into
Imperial University of Tokyo, now Tokyo University). He returned
in 1882 after five years and was later knighted and became
Principal of Edinburgh University.
Thomas Blake Glover
was born in Fraserburgh in 1838. He first visited Japan in 1859
and was involved in various business ventures in Nagasaki where
his house has become a tourist destination. It is popularly
believed that Glover's life provided the inspiration for
Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly. A Thomas Blake Glover Room
opened in October 1995 at Fraserburgh Library, King Edward
Street, Fraserburgh. The room contains information tracing
Hornel, one of the "Glasgow Boys" whose style of painting was
much influenced by Japanese art, spent time in Japan from
1893-1894 and again in 1922.
This was the
first Japanese government mission and arrived in Scotland in
1872 as part of a two year fact-finding tour of Europe and the
United States. It was led by Ambassador Tomomi Iwakura and
included 4 associate ambassadors, 48 delegates and 54 students.
The mission precipitated the development of important links
cultural and industrial between Scotland and Japan.