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Kimura Hanzaemon

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Kimura Hanzaemon, sometimes rendered as Hanjemon, was the name of two prominent figures in the Japanese community (Nihonmachi) in Ayutthaya in Siam, in the 17th century.

The elder Hanzaemon became head of the Nihonmachi in 1642, and continued to serve in that position until 1671,[1] having lived there and worked supplying the Dutch trading houses with deer skins since at least the 1630s. One 1633 source indicates his contract to supply 3,000 skins to the Dutch that year. He is known to have had at least three relatives and two other close acquaintances in Nagasaki, to whom he could send funds (or from whom he could receive funds), or with whom he might have arranged business.

Another Hanzaemon, who lived roughly a generation later, and who is presumed to be the elder Hanzaemon's son, is mentioned in the diary of Engelbert Kaempfer (in Japan 1690-1692). This younger Hanzaemon seems to have been quite well-traveled, and is said to have spoken a number of languages, including Chinese, Malay, Thai, and both a northern and southern dialect of Vietnamese, in addition, of course, to his native Japanese. In one particular set of voyages mentioned by Kaempfer, Hanzaemon left Ayutthaya for Manila in 1682 aboard a junk with a Portuguese pilot and roughly 64 crewmembers. The ship struck a rock in Manila Bay, and Hanzaemon was stranded for several years alongside thirteen other members of the crew, until they were finally able to construct a vessel which they sailed to Hainan; the governor of Hainan granted them passage to Macau, and from there, Hanzaemon was able to then travel on a Portuguese ship to Batavia, and then eventually back to Ayutthaya.

References

  • Nagazumi Yoko. "Ayutthaya and Japan: Embassies and Trade in the Seventeenth Century." in Kennon Breazeale (ed.). From Japan to Arabia: Ayutthaya's Maritime Relations with Asia. Bangkok: The Foundation for the Promotion of Social Sciences and Humanities Textbook Project, 1999. pp100-101.
  1. William Wray, “The Seventeenth-century Japanese Diaspora: Questions of Boundary and Policy,” in Ina Baghdiantz McCabe et al (eds.), Diaspora Entrepreneurial Networks, Oxford: Berg (2005), 87.
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