A Gentleman from Japan

The Untold Story of an Incredible Journey from Asia to Queen Elizabeth’s Court

by Thomas Lockley

On Sale: 05/21/2024

A Gentleman from Japan

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A Gentleman from Japan

The Untold Story of an Incredible Journey from Asia to Queen Elizabeth’s Court

by Thomas Lockley

On Sale: 05/21/2024


About the Book

An incredible sea story that turns the Age of Exploration on its head, following the first Japanese man to set foot on North America and England.

On November 12, 1588, five young Asian men—led by a twenty-one-year-old called Christopher—traveled up the River Thames to meet Queen Elizabeth I. Christopher’s epic sea voyage had spanned from Japan, via the Philippines, New Spain (Mexico), Java and Southern Africa. On the way, he had already become the first recorded Japanese person in North America. Now Christopher was the first ever Japanese visitor to England, and no other would leave such a legacy for centuries to come.

The story of Christopher is almost utterly forgotten and has never been fully told before.

A Gentleman from Japan is a fast-paced, historical narrative of adventure, cross-cultural endeavor, intellectual exchange, perseverance, espionage and conflict in the Age of Exploration.

Critical Praise

"When you begin reading this book, you're not prepared for the emotional journey that unfolds. As you turn the last page, it's challenging to leave the world reconstructed by Thomas Lockley and return to reality. While many books fade from memory, this one, ironically dealing with forgetting, will linger in the minds of those who read it. Christopher's life intertwines with some of the most intriguing figures in English history, bearing witness to an extraordinary era where various Asian figures start making their mark in European societies. With a multifaceted approach, clearly a result of years of research, Lockley draws on Japanese, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and Latin documentation to infuse each sentence with authenticity, leaving a lasting impact on the reader's spirit."—Lúcio de Sousa, author of The Portuguese Slave Trade in Early Modern Japan
"From Japan and the Philippines, to Cabo San Lucas and London, Lockley's tale is a traveler's delight! Meet the two young Japanese sailors who explained the East Asian invention of the compass to Londoners."—Robert Batchelor, author of London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689
“Thomas Lockley's A Gentleman from Japan deftly weaves together the lives of two extraordinary individuals from the late 16th century: Thomas Cavendish, an ambitious English nobleman, and Christopher, a young Japanese man. The two met in a firefight, when Cavendish’s fleet attacked the vessel Christopher was sailing on. Their entangled stories are told in vivid, exciting prose, unfolding against the backdrop of the Tensho Embassy, a historic diplomatic mission from Japan to Europe. The book brings alive a rich global history of trade, exploration, war, colonialism, and cultural encounter. A vivid portrayal of the interconnectedness of the world during a pivotal time in global history.”—Tonio Andrade, Professor of Chinese and Global History, Emory University, Atlanta, USA

"The extraordinary story of the arrival of two Japanese and three Filipino youths in London in 1588, just months after defeat of the Spanish Armada, is well known to experts. Yet until now, no one has tried to gather information about them. Thomas Lockley focuses on one of the five, a Japanese named Christopher (birth name unknown), whose life he weaves together before, during and after his time in London, via a range of carefully selected documents written in many languages. No one will fail to be riveted, but more, by making Christopher the protagonist, Lockley forces us to rethink schoolbook tales of English maritime heroism in the age of Elizabeth I."—Timon Screech, author of The Shogun's Silver Telescope
"Thomas Lockley brings history to life in this incredible tale of Christopher, a largely forgotten Japanese person who traveled the world and witnessed piracy on the high seas. A real swashbuckling tale that should not be missed."—Diane Nagatomo, Associate Professor at Ochanomizu University
“Thomas Lockley takes the reader on a fascinating voyage of discovery, weaving the extraordinary story of a young Japanese man, Christopher, into the broader context of 16th century circumnavigation and global politics. As Lockley notes, many of the tensions between the West and East today stem from issues and problems that Christopher and fellow navigators experienced or witnessed four centuries ago.”—Naoko Abe, author of 'Cherry' Ingram: The Englishman Who Saved Japan's Blossoms, The Martyr and the Red Kimono: A Fearless Priest's Sacrifice and A New Generation of Hope in Japan</s

"A fascinating, visceral dive into a time of chaotic discovery - when the world was bigger and civilisations were meeting for the first time. All told through the eyes of the people who lived through it. You can smell the blood and salt. Fantastic."—David Kelly, co-creator of Voices of the Past
“A superb dramatic recounting of the life of perhaps the first person from Japan – or indeed anywhere in Asia – to visit the British Isles. An epic tale of early modern travel, exploration and intrigue, rich in historical detail and told with flair. A real page-turner.”—Chris Harding, author of The Japanese
“Lockley succeeds in focusing his history on the contributions of the ‘oppressed, trafficked and marginalized’ who have otherwise left no record. In the process, he tells a lively tale of maritime adventure, piracy, and advancements in science and global economics… a fascinating look into 16th-century geopolitics.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lockley draws on extensive research, combing through private diaries and letters, to depict Christopher’s global odyssey. In so doing, he reminds the reader of the unsung contributions of marginalized people during the Age of Exploration. Recommended especially for students of geopolitical history.”—Booklist

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781335016713
  • ISBN 10: 1335016716
  • Imprint: Hanover Square Press
  • On Sale: 05/21/2024
  • Pages: 432
  • List Price:41.00 CAD
  • BISAC2 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Adventurers & Explorers
  • BISAC3 : HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Tudor & Elizabethan Era (1485-1603)
  • BISAC4 : HISTORY / Maritime History & Piracy
  • BISAC5 : HISTORY / Expeditions & Discoveries
  • BISAC6 : HISTORY / Asia / Japan

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