History with Japan400 Plymouth

The royal commission

John Saris, Captain of The Clove, set sail for Japan in 1611 with a commission from King James I to establish formal relations with the Shogun. Saris’s commission was successful. He returned in 1614, landing in Plymouth on 27 September with gifts, a letter from the Shogun to King James I and a Vermilion Seal Letter (Shuinjô) which granted the English permission to live and trade throughout Japan.

2014 - Four hundred years later to the day, The Homecoming of The Clove
A tall ship will sail into Sutton Harbour on 27 September to commemorate the historic homecoming of The Clove 400 years ago. This re-enactment is the centrepiece of Japan400 Plymouth, an international event that celebrates the historic and cultural links binding the United Kingdom and Japan.

Celebrating Anglo-Japanese relations
Japan400 Plymouth reaffirms these links and opens new opportunities for exchange, collaboration and discovery. It highlights Plymouth’s place on the map as the maritime gateway for this four-centuries-old relationship. It positions Plymouth University as a modern gateway for this relationship by virtue of its expanding presence and excellent reputation in world and maritime history with a focus on Japan.

Download our guide to John Saris: A Story of Adventure

Explore the past, discover your future

Homecoming of The Clove - Sutton Harbour, Plymouth
Saturday 27 September 2014
Free admission. No booking required.
  • 13.00-14.00 - The arrival of The Clove, including formal ceremony.
See the past sail into the present as we re-create The Clove’s homecoming with the arrival of a 112-foot tall ship sailing in to Sutton Harbor.
  • Join the celebrations with ceremonies to celebrate Saris’s homecoming and affirm Anglo-Japanese relations.  
  • Walk the decks of the historic vessel and meet Captain Saris himself as we bring history to life 
  • The ship is open to the public from 14.00-17.00 on 27, and 10.00-15.00 28 September.

Maritime Synergies International Symposium - Plymouth University Campus
Monday 29 September 13.00-19.00
Free admission. Booking essential.
Registration at Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
  • Join this half-day event that brings together world-leading scholars and top-level specialists as they discuss Anglo-Japanese relations
  • With a special focus on maritime co-operation, the symposium will feature three expert panels focusing upon history, resources, and security respectively.
  • This event is hosted by Plymouth University and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation who play a central role in promoting closer links between the UK and Japan, and we are pleased to welcome them to the South West in our exploration of this important relationship.

Japan400 Plymouth Keynote Lecture - Plymouth University Campus
Tuesday 30 September 19.00-21.00
Booking essential. Contact Peninsula Arts Box Office for tickets.
'Japan400 and Plymouth:  Why 1614 matters in 2014’, by Professor Timon Screech (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

Lecture Theatre 1, Roland Levinsky Building, Plymouth University
  • Professor Timon Screech will deliver the Japan400 Plymouth Keynote Lecture, narrating the fascinating story that saw England and Japan come together.
  • Explore the multi-fold legacy The Clove’s voyage has bestowed to us all, shaped for you by a world-leading scholar in the study of Early Modern Japan.
  • Timon Screech is Professor of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and is the Co-Director of Japan400 celebrations in 2013.

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