The Japan Foundation, Mexico
Japan is located across the vast Pacific from Mexico. There is a record, however, that Mexicans had already landed on Japan around the end of the sixteenth century. At the time, Mexico had a trade relation with Philippine, both colonies of Spain. That is why Mexican missionaries could make their way to Japan for their missionary work.
In 1609, at the beginning of the Edo era, a boat from Philippine heading to Mexico was hit by a storm and driven ashore on the coast of Onjuku, Chiba prefecture. Mexican crew members were rescued by local villagers, and the Tokugawa Shogunate built a ship to bring them Mexico. The year 2009 is the 400th anniversary of this incident. In addition, the year 2010 will be the 200th anniversary of the independence of Mexico and the centennial of the Mexican Revolution. Therefore, a year from 2009 to 2010 is acknowledged as "the 400th anniversary of Japan-Mexico relations" to look back the long history of exchange between two countries and to foster further progress of mutual understanding and exchange. A variety of cultural exchange and memorial events are scheduled to be held in both Japan and Mexico.
In February 24, 2009, the opening event of the anniversary was held at the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico. As a part of this event, a memorial lecture was co-organized by the Embassy of Japan in Mexico, the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico, and the Japan Foundation, Mexico. The lecturer was Professor Kishiro Ogaki at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies who had outstanding achievements in the fields of Mexican history and Latin American studies. Professor Ogaki introduced the history of Japan-Mexico relation that began at the incident of Onjuku.
The Japan Foundation will organize various events in 2009 through 2010 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Japan-Mexico relations.