Jan Joosten van Lodensteijn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sculpture of Jan Joosten, Yaesu, Tokyo

Jan Joosten van Lodensteijn (c. 1560 – 1623), or simply Jan Joosten, was a native of Delft and one of the first Dutchmen in Japan, arriving as one of William Adams's shipmates (the second mate) on the De Liefde, which was disabled on the coast of Kyūshū in 1600.

Early life in Japan[edit]

The De Liefde departed Rotterdam in 1598, on a trading voyage and attempted a circumnavigation of the globe. It was wrecked in Japan in 1600. The 24 survivors were received by future Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who questioned them at length on European politics and foreign affairs. As with William Adams, Joosten was selected to be a confidant of the Shogun on foreign and military affairs, and he contributed to the development of relations between the Netherlands and Japan, thereby weakening the influence of Portugal and Spain.

For his services, Jan Joosten was granted a house in Edo (now Tokyo) in a part of the city that came to be called "Yayosu Quay" after him — his name was pronounced yan yōsuten in Japanese (short: Yayōsu (耶楊子)) — and the name exists in the name of Yaesu side of Tokyo Station. Although not allowed to return to the Netherlands, Joosten was allowed to take a Japanese wife and was given a permit to engage in foreign trade. He was privileged to wear the two swords of the samurai and received an annual stipend which placed him (along with Adams) among the ranks of the hatamoto or direct retainers of the Shogun.[1] Joosten was said to be a drunk with a choleric temperament, and at one point was not welcome at Ieyasu's court.


Joosten is reported to have made a fortune in trade between Japan and Southeast Asia, chartering several Red Seal Ships under license from Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was reported by Dutch traders in Ayutthaya to be aboard junks carrying rich cargoes in early 1613. After the establishment of the Dutch Factory in Hirado, he became a middleman between Dutch merchants and the Shogunate.

He is also said to have been to Siam on one of his ships, with the Japanese adventurer and author Tenjiku Tokubei. Later, he attempted to return to the Netherlands, but after reaching Batavia, he was denied permission by Dutch authorities to proceed further. He drowned in the South China Sea in 1623 when his ship sank as he was returning to Japan.

See also[edit]


  • Corr, Williams (1995). Adams the Pilot: The Life and Times of Captain William Adams. RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 1-873410-44-1. 
  • Milton, Giles (2003). Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened the East. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-25385-4. 


  1. ^ Corr, Adams the Pilot: The Life and Times of Captain William Adams. Pp.158