The first Japanese Embassy to Europe
Top, from left to right: Julião Nakaura, Father Mesquita, Mancio Itō.
Bottom, from left to right: Martinho Hara, Miguel Chijiwa.
The Japanese embassy with Pope Gregory XIII
The Tensho embassy left Nagasaki in 1582, and went on to Goa (India) before arriving in Lisbon in 1584. Among the nobles they met in Europe were King Philip II of Spain, Francesco I de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pope Gregory XIII and his successor Pope Sixtus V.
They arrived back in Japan in 1590, and were subsequently ordained as the first ever Japanese Jesuit fathers by Alessandro Valignano.
They were not, in fact, the first Japanese to visit Europe. The earliest one on record we have so far is Bernardo the Japanese, a disciple of St Francis Xavier who did a one-way trip to Europe in 1553. But there’s every chance they’ll discover someone else!