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Japan–Portugal relations

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Japanese-Portuguese relations
Map indicating locations of Japan and Portugal



Japan–Portugal relations are the current and historical diplomatic, cultural and trade relations between Japan and Portugal. The history of relations between the two nations goes back to the mid 16th century, when Portuguese sailors first arrived in Japan in 1543, and diplomatic relations officially restarted in the 19th century with the Treaty of Peace, Amity and Commerce.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to meet the Japanese, in the 16th century. The firearms they introduced subsequently had a great impact on the unification of Japan, and the following era of trade spurred economic development. The Portuguese legacy in Japan includes, among other things: the Nanban art and the gastronomic heritage (for example tempura or various sweet dishes such as konpeitō or the castella cakes from Nagasaki), but also the linguistic heritage, which is reflected in several dozen Portuguese loanwords in the Japanese language in geography, religion and everyday culture, for example bread.[1] The Portuguese heritage in Japan is still present in the consciousness of Japanese society today.[2]

Both nations are members of the World Trade Organization. Since 2014, Japan has had Associate Observer status in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

In 2016, 440 Japanese citizens were registered in Portugal[3] and 589 Portuguese were registered in Japan.[4]


16th century[edit]


The first affiliation between Portugal and Japan started in 1543, when Portuguese explorers landed in the southern archipelago of Japan, becoming the first Europeans to reach Japan. As soon as the first Portuguese arrived in 1543, Portuguese traders and merchants began looking for trading opportunities in Japan. This period of time is often entitled Nanban trade, where both Europeans (Portuguese) and Asians (Japanese) would engage in mercantilism and cultural exchange. The Portuguese at this time would found the port of Nagasaki, through the initiative of the Jesuit Gaspar Vilela and the Daimyo lord Ōmura Sumitada, in 1571, where the annual trade ships arrived from then on.

The expansion for commerce extended Portuguese influence in Japan, particularly in Kyushu, where the port became a strategic hot spot after the Portuguese assistance to Daimyo Sumitada on repelling an attack on the harbor by the Ryūzōji clan in 1578.

The cargo of the first Portuguese ships (called kurofune, "black ships", by the Japanese) upon docking in Japan were basically cargo coming from China (silk, porcelain, etc.). The Japanese craved these goods, which were prohibited from the contacts with the Chinese by the Emperor as punishment for the attacks of the Wokou piracy. Thus, the Portuguese acted as intermediaries in Asian trade. Many products and cultural aspects flowed into Japan from Portugal, while silver and other goods from Japan flowed into Portugal.

A Portuguese trading ship, a carrack (or nau), in Nagasaki, depicted in art from the 17th century.

In 1592 the Portuguese trade with Japan started being increasingly challenged by Chinese smugglers on their reeds, in addition to Spanish vessels coming to Manila in 1600, the Dutch in 1609, and English in 1613.

One of the many things that the Japanese were interested in were Portuguese guns. The first three Europeans to arrive in Japan in 1543 were Portuguese traders António Mota, Francisco Zeimoto and António Peixoto (also presumably Fernão Mendes Pinto). They arrived at the southern tip of Tanegashima, where they would introduce firearms to the local population. These muskets would later receive the name after its location.

Because Japan was in the midst of a civil war, called the Sengoku period, the Japanese bought many Portuguese artillery, such as guns (arquebus) and cannons. Oda Nobunaga, a famous daimyo who nearly unified all of Japan, made extensive use of guns playing a key role in the Battle of Nagashino. Within a year, Japanese smiths were able to reproduce the mechanism and began to mass-produce the Portuguese arms. Early issues due to Japanese inexperience was corrected with the help of Portuguese blacksmiths. The Japanese soon worked on various techniques to improve the effectiveness of their guns and even developed larger caliber barrels and ammunition to increase lethality. And just 50 years later, his armies were equipped with a large number of such weapons, changing the way war was fought on the islands. The weapons were extremely important in the unification of Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, as well as in the invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597. Europeans brought by trade not only weapons, but also clocks, soap, tobacco, and other unknown products in Feudal Japan.

Jesuits in Japan[edit]

A Portuguese trader set off from Malacca for Japan in 1547 and wrote the first detailed report about Japan for Francisco Xavier. Motivated by the report, Xavier traveled through Japan between 15 August 1549 and 15 November 1551, starting in Kagoshima. He laid the foundation for the Jesuits' missionary activity and thus introduced Christianity to Japan. Other Portuguese Jesuits like Francisco Cabral and Gaspar Coelho visited Japan in 1570 and continued to carry out Christian missionary activities in Kyushu, later leading several lords of the region to Christianize. Tenshō envoys were also sent to Europe in the late sixteenth century. The Jesuits initially missionized exclusively, then in competition with other Christian monastic orders, but also significantly promoted cultural, scientific, institutional, business and diplomatic exchange.

In addition to the religious aspect, European culture was taught there in many areas, such as music, theater and Western painting and art. They published printed matter in Latin, Portuguese and romanized and transcribed Japanese and spread knowledge in areas such as cartography, astronomy, medicine, military, and gastronomy. Portuguese Jesuits also played a role in writing several works about the Japanese language and society. Publications include the first Japanese-to-Portuguese dictionary and Japanese grammar, the latter by João Rodrigues, in the early 1600s, which took more than four years to compile and have become valuable resources for philological studies of Japanese and Portuguese today. Other important works include the books "The First European Description of Japan" and "Historia de Iapam" by Luís Fróis and "História da Igreja do Japão" (also by João Rodrigues) on the history of Japan.

In 1556, Jesuit Luís de Almeida, who disseminated surgical and other medical knowledge from Europe to Japan, founds the first hospital with European medicine in Japan, a leprosy ward and a kindergarten in Ōita.

With the decree against Christianity in Japan in 1587 and the expulsion of missionaries from 1614 onwards, the persecution of Christians in Japan began, which ended in 1639 with the expulsion of the Jesuits and the Portuguese from Japan. As early as 1625, Francisco Pacheco, head of the Jesuit mission in Japan, was executed at the gates of Nagasaki. The Portuguese missionary Cristóvão Ferreira, who arrived in Japan in 1610, contributed to the tense situation on the issue with his varied role until he was executed there around 1650. The Buddhist monks in Japan, who feared for their power, also pushed for the expulsion.

Slave trade[edit]

After the Portuguese first made contact with Japan in 1543, Japanese slaves were sold to the Portuguese and sent to various locations overseas, including Portugal itself, throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.[5][6] Documents mention the slave trade along with protests against the enslavement of Japanese, initially issued by King Sebastian of Portugal to the Daimyo of Japan, to stop the enslavement and transport of the Japanese. Hundreds of Japanese, especially women, were sold as slaves.[7] Japanese slaves are believed to be the first of their nation to end up in Europe, and the Portuguese purchased Japanese to bring to Portugal for sexual purposes, as noted by the Church in 1555. King Sebastian feared that it was having a negative effect on trade between the countries and Catholic evangelization since the slave trade in Japanese was growing to larger proportions, so he commanded that it be banned in 1571.[8][9][10]

Japanese slave women were even sold as concubines, serving on Portuguese ships and trading in Japan, mentioned by Luis Cerqueira, a Portuguese Jesuit, in a 1598 document.[11] Japanese slaves were brought by the Portuguese to Macau, where some of them not only ended up being enslaved to the Portuguese, but as slaves to other slaves, with the Portuguese owning Malay and African slaves, who in turn owned Japanese slaves of their own.[12][13]

Hideyoshi was so disgusted that his own Japanese people were being sold en masse into slavery in Kyushu, that he wrote a letter to Jesuit Vice-Provincial Gaspar Coelho on 24 July 1587 to demand the Portuguese, Siamese (Thai), and Cambodians stop purchasing Japanese slaves and return those who ended up as far as India.[14][15][16] Hideyoshi blamed the Portuguese and Jesuits for this slave trade and banned Christian evangelization as a result.[17][self-published source][18] Historians have noted, however, that anti-Portuguese propaganda was actively promoted by the Japanese, particularly with regards to the Portuguese purchases of Japanese women for sexual purposes.[19]

Some Korean slaves were bought by the Portuguese and brought back to Portugal from Japan, where they had been among the tens of thousands of Korean prisoners of war transported to Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98).[20][21] Historians pointed out that at the same time Hideyoshi expressed his indignation and outrage at the Portuguese trade in Japanese slaves, he himself was engaging in a mass slave trade of Korean prisoners of war in Japan.[22][23] Japanese Christian daimyos were mainly responsible for selling to the Portuguese their fellow Japanese. Japanese women and Japanese men, Javanese, Chinese, and Indians were all sold as slaves in Portugal.[24] Japanese and other Asians captured in battle were also sold by their compatriots to the Portuguese as slaves, but the Japanese would also sell family members they could not afford to sustain because of the civil-war. According to Prof. Charles Boxer, both old and modern Asian authors have "conveniently overlooked" their part in the enslavement of their countrymen.[25][26]

Fillippo Sassetti saw some Chinese and Japanese slaves in Lisbon among the large slave community in 1578.[27][28][29][30][31]

Japanese merchant ship, Red Seal ship, "Shuinsen" by 1634.

The Portuguese "highly regarded" Asian slaves like Chinese and Japanese, much more "than slaves from sub-Saharan Africa".[32] The Portuguese attributed qualities like intelligence and industriousness to Chinese and Japanese slaves which is why they favored them more.[33][34][35][36]

In 1595 a law was passed by Portugal banning the selling and buying of Chinese and Japanese slaves.[37]

17th century[edit]

When formal trade relations were established in 1609 by requests from Englishman William Adams, the Dutch were granted extensive trading rights and set up a Dutch East India Company trading outpost at Hirado. They traded exotic Asian goods such as spices, textiles, porcelain, and silk. When the Shimabara uprising of 1637 happened, in which Christian Japanese started a rebellion against the Tokugawa shogunate, it was crushed with the help of the Dutch. As a result, all Christian nations who gave aid to the rebels were expelled, leaving the Dutch the only commercial partner from the West. Among the expelled nations was Portugal who had a trading post in Nagasaki harbor on an artificial island called Dejima. In a move of the shogunate to take the Dutch trade away from the Hirado clan, the entire Dutch trading post was moved to Dejima.

19th century[edit]

Significant official Japanese-Portuguese exchanges only took place again since the Meiji period. Following the opening of Japan to trade with the west in the 1850s, the Shogun's government became more receptive to reestablishing diplomatic relations with the Portuguese government. Acting as a representative of Portugal, the governor of Macau, Isidoro Francisco Guimarães, agreed. On 3 August 1860, a commercial and peace treaty was concluded between the two countries and their old diplomatic relations were reestablished between them.[38]

Afterwards, a large number of Portuguese from Macau and Shanghai moved to Japan, where they worked in trading companies or authorities. From this immigrant community grew, among other things: the Portuguese schools of Kōbe and Yokohama.

Wenceslau de Moraes in particular made a great contribution to the Portuguese presence in Japan as a diplomatic and economic mediator. The naval officer lived with his Japanese wife in Kōbe from 1898 to 1913 and was initially the Portuguese consul there and in Osaka before heading the Portuguese consulate general in Kobe from 1912. Until his death in Tokushima, he wrote several important books on the subject.

20th century[edit]

In World War I, Portugal and Japan participated together in the war on the Allied side. After the war, nine countries, including Japan and Portugal, attended the Washington Naval Conference of 1922, where they both ratified the Nine-Power Treaty.

During the Second World War, both countries had a complicated relationship. Portugal was officially neutral; while it was aligned more closely with the Allies, it adhered to strict neutrality in East Asia, to protect its territories of Macau and East Timor. Initially, Japan respected the neutrality of both territories. Macau, in particular, become a haven for Allied civilian refugees. To varying, degrees, however, both Macau and East Timor later came under de facto control of Japan, until the end of the war. During this time, diplomatic relations were temporarily disrupted.

A memorial for the Timorese and Portuguese who died as a result of the Second World War, in Aileu, East Timor.

In early 1942, as Japanese forces advanced rapidly through the Dutch East Indies, Portugal declined all requests for cooperation from the Allies, who believed that East Timor would become the site of major Japanese bases. Nevertheless, Portugal did not object, when Australian and Dutch forces landed unilaterally in East Timor, to set up defensive positions. In the subsequent Timor campaign, the indigenous Timorese and other Portuguese subjects assisted the Allies and suffered reprisals from Japanese forces. The Allies withdrew in 1943 and East Timor remained under de facto Japanese occupation until late 1945, when Japanese troops in East Timor surrendered to the Portuguese governor.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese authorities in Macau were coming under increasing pressure to cooperate with the Japanese military. In August 1943, Japanese troops seized a British-registered steamer in the harbor of Macau. Soon afterwards, Japan issued an ultimatum to Portugal, demanding that the territorial government accept the installation of Japanese advisors, and threatening direct occupation. Portugal acceded to Japanese demands and Macau effectively became a Japanese protectorate. Believing that Japan had or would get access to stores of aviation fuel in Macau, US forces launched several air raids on the territory. In 1950, the US government compensated the Portuguese government with US$20M, for the damage caused in Macau by US air raids.[39] In 1945 the Japanese finally withdrew and gave East Timor back to Portugal.

In 1952, Japan regained its sovereignty by issuing the Treaty of San Francisco, and diplomatic relations between Portugal and Japan were restored the following year in 1953. In the same year, Portugal established an embassy in Japan (Tokyo) and Japan in Portugal (Lisbon) in 1954. Since then, Portugal has undergone major changes from the dictatorship of António Salazar to democratization through the Carnation Revolution and membership in the European Economic Community and the European Union, and has lost its remaining territory in Asia with the independence of Macau and East Timor.

Japanese garden in Lisbon, marking the friendship between the nations (created in 2011).

Relations between Portugal and Japan have since remained good and friendly. In 1993, events commemorating the 450th anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese to Tanegashima were held. In the same year, President Mário Soares visited Japan and Princess Hisako Takamado visited Portugal.

In 1998, the Lisbon World Exposition was held under the theme "The Oceans: a Heritage for the Future", with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko making their first visit to Portugal.

21st century[edit]

In 2004, the then prince and current emperor Naruhito traveled to Portugal.

In 2010 and 2020, a number of cultural and sporting events (such as Japanese film, anime shows, judo events and calligraphy exhibitions and workshops) were held in Portugal to commemorate the 150th and 160th anniversaries of diplomatic relations and friendship between the two countries since the 19th century.

In Nagasaki, the Kunchi festival is celebrated annually and features the arrival and presence of the Portuguese in the city in the 16th century.

High-level Visits[edit]

Japan to Portugal[edit]

Year Name
2001 President of the House of Councillors Inoue Yutaka
2002 Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanaka Makiko
2003 Speaker of the House of Representatives Tamisuke Watanuki
2004 His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince Naruhito
2006 Minister of State Kōki Chūma

Special Envoy Taimei Yamaguchi

2007 Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Issei Kitagawa

Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Masaji Matsuyama

2009 Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
2010 Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Yutaka Banno
2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Minister of State Tomomi Inada

2015 Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Yohei Matsumoto
2017 Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Motome Takisawa
2019 Minister of State Takuya Hirai
2020 Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi
2021 Minister for the World Expo 2025 and Minister for Special Missions Shinji Inoue


Portugal to Japan[edit]

Year Name
2000 Minister of Labour and Solidarity Eduardo Luiz Barreto Ferro Rodrigues
2002 Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Luís Filipe Marques Amado
2003 Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Lourenço dos Santos
2004 Minister of Foreign Affairs Teresa Patrício de Gouveia
2005 President Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio
2006 Minister of Economy and Innovation Manuel António Gomes de Almeida de Pinho
2007 Minister of Foreign Affairs Luís Filipe Marques Amado
2008 President of the Assembly of the Republic Jaime José Matos da Gama
2011 Minister of Finance Fernando Teixeira dos Santos
2012 Minister of Finance Vítor Louçã Rabaça Gaspar

Governor at Banco de Portugal Carlos da Silva Costa

2013 Minister of Foreign Affairs Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas
2014 Minister of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning Maria de Assunção Oliveira Cristas Machado da Graça
2015 Secretary of State of Food and Agri-food Research Alexandre Nuno Vaz Baptista de Vieira e Brito

Minister of Internal Administration Anabela Miranda Rodrigues

Prime Minister Pedro Manuel Mamede Passos Coelho

Minister of Foreign Affairs Rui Manuel Parente Chancerelle de Machete

Minister of Economy António Pires de Lima

Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy Jorge Manuel Lopes Moreira da Silva

2016 Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Manuel Dias de Jesus Marques

Secretary of State of Internationalization Jorge Costa Oliveira

2017 Secretary of State of Internationalization Jorge Costa Oliveira (50th ADB Annual Meeting)
2018 Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Manuel Dias de Jesus Marques

Secretary of State of Internationalization Eurico Jorge Nogueira Leite Brilhante Dias

2019 Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Teresa Ribeiro

Ex-Presidente Aníbal Cavaco Silva (Ceremony of Enthronement)

2020 Secretary of State for Internationalization Eurico Brilhante Dias

Secretary of State for Energy João Galamba


Economic relations[edit]

Unlike in the 16th and 17th centuries, the current relationship between the two countries has little influence on each other's political situation, and economic ties are also relatively small. In 2010, exports from Japan amounted to $479,858,000 and exports from Portugal amounted to $270,635,000, representing a significant export surplus on the Japanese side. The proportion of total exports is only 0.06%, and the proportion of exports from Portugal in Japan's imports is 0.04%. Even among the 27 EU member countries, Portugal remains Japan's 18th largest partner country in terms of export value and 19th largest in terms of import value.[41] The share of Portugal's trade with Japan in its total exports and imports was approximately 0.5-0.6% in 2009,[42] and while intra-EU trade accounts for approximately 74% of total exports and imports, the contribution of trade with Japan is small. Japan's exports have a high share of passenger and freight vehicles, auto parts, and electrical equipment, while Portugal's main exports include clothing and accessories, vegetables, fish, wine, and cork. Natural cork in particular has a high market share in Japan.[43]

In February 2011, Nissan started construction of a plant to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles in Aveiro, Portugal. This will be located on the site of Renault's transmission assembly plant, and production is scheduled to begin in December 2012. This is a large-scale business deal in which Nissan Europe will invest approximately 17.5 billion yen.[44]

In 2016, with an overnight spending of 29.7 million euros, Japanese tourists accounted for a share of 0.23% of foreign tourists in Portugal.[45]

Cultural relations[edit]

Although the economic relationship between the two countries has diminished since Japan's isolation, there are still relatively large ties in terms of culture and academics, especially within Japan. Portugal was the first European nation to have direct negotiations with Japan, and the cultural artifacts imported at that time, such as buttons, playing cards, wine and several Japanese sweets and foods (such as tempura, konpeito, and castella), are still called by names of Portuguese origin and have left a legacy that has become entrenched in Japanese society. Likewise, some words of Japanese origin have also made their way into Portuguese vocabulary, and several pieces of Japanese culture like food, anime, manga, and Japanese technology are also popular in Portugal.

In terms of academics, Jesuit missionary Luís Fróis has left behind valuable records that provide a glimpse into feudal Japan, such as The First European Description of Japan, published in 1585, and Historia de Iapam ("History of Japan" in old-fashioned Portuguese). Another person worth mentioning is Wenceslau de Moraes, a diplomat who lived in Japan from 1899 to 1929 and died in Tokushima after Japan opened up in the 19th century after isolation during the Edo period. He left behind essays about Japan and the Japanese people. In some parts of Yamaguchi Prefecture (such as Shunan City), there is a surname of Portuguese origin called Tobacco Dani.

The Portuguese cultural institute Instituto Camões is active in Japan, represented with a cultural center in Tokyo and a large number of lectureships at various Japanese universities.[46] There are also a number of Portuguese-Japanese friendship societies, such as the Sociedade Luso-Nipónica.

In addition, many Japanese immigrants came to Brazil from the end of the 19th century, a former colony of Portugal where Portuguese is still the official language, and from the 1980s their descendants began working in Japanese manufacturing factories. As a result, opportunities for Japanese people to come into contact with Portuguese increased. Many Brazilian players participated in the Japan Professional Football League, which was launched in 1993.[47] Football terms such as "volante" became established in Japan. It has been pointed out that there are significant differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar between Portugal's Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, and much of the Portuguese taught in Japan is Brazilian, but there is generally no problem in communication itself, which also applies to Portuguese people.


The Portuguese director Paulo Rocha lived in Japan from 1975 to 1983, and he featured Japan several times in his films. Particularly worth mentioning is "Portugaru San - O Sr. Portugal em Tokushima" shot in 1993, a film about the Portuguese diplomat and author Wenceslau de Moraes. In 1996, João Mário Grilo made “Os Olhos da Ásia”, a film about the history of the Portuguese Jesuits in Japan. 20 years later, Martin Scorsese revisited the story in Silence (2016), but limited himself to the original novel by Endō Shūsaku.[48] In 2016, the Portuguese director Cláudia Varejão portrayed the everyday life of three women who have been diving together in a small fishing village on the Shima Peninsula for 30 years with her documentary Ama-San. The film screened at a number of film festivals, where it also won several awards, including the Lisbon Doclisboa, the Czech Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Russian St. Petersburg Message to Man Film Festival and the Kosovo Dokufest. In 2024, the TV series Shōgun aired, based on the original novel by James Clavell.

The award-winning short film Tóquio Porto 9 horas by the Portuguese director João Nuno Brochado uses black and white split-screen technology to compare everyday life in the two cities of Tokyo and Porto, which are separated by a time difference of nine hours. Japanese director Hiroatsu Suzuki and Portuguese director Rosanna Torres worked together in 2012 to make O Sabor do Leite Creme, a documentary about an old couple in a Portuguese mountain village. The Japanese cameraman Takashi Sugimoto has worked several times for Portuguese productions. The Portuguese film institute Cinemateca Portuguesa showed film cycles on Japanese film several times, around 2012.[49] Japanese directors are more frequent guests at Portuguese film festivals. Occasionally they also receive awards there, such as Atsushi Wada, who won the award for best animation at the most important Portuguese short film festival Curtas Vila do Conde in 2011 for "Wakaranai Buta". In 2014, Hiroyuki Tanaka won "Miss Zombie" at the Fantasporto film festival in Porto.


In football, professional Portuguese footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, is also renown among Japanese football fans. Japanese football players also play more frequently in Portugal, including international players such as Takahito Sōma or Daizen Maeda (both Marítimo Funchal), Nozomi Hiroyama at Sporting Braga or Junya Tanaka at Sporting Lisbon. The Portimonense SC club particularly frequently signs players from Japan, including Mū Kanazaki, Shoya Nakajima, Takuma Nishimura, Shiryū Fujiwara, Kōki Anzai and most recently Kodai Nagashima and Hiroki Sugajima. Kazuya Onohara has been playing for UD Oliveirense since 2020, and Kaito Anzai has been playing for Sporting Braga since 2019.

The Japan Women's National Football Team participated in the 2011 Algarve Cup and finished in 3rd place.


In basketball, Isabel Lemos was the first Portuguese coach ever working in a profissional league in Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka senior male team of the B.League, as well as the first woman ever working as coach in professional basketball man league in Japan.


As a result of the Portuguese arrival to Japan, after a continuous influx of trade between Europe and Asia, Japanese vocabulary absorbed words of Portuguese origin as well as Portuguese of Japanese. Among its great part, these words mainly refer to products and customs that arrived through Portuguese traders.

Portuguese was the first Western language to have a Japanese dictionary, the Nippo Jisho (日葡辞書, Nippojisho) dictionary or "Vocabulario da Lingoa de Iapam" ("Vocabulary of the Language of Japan" in old-fashioned Portuguese orthography), as well as the oldest extant complete Japanese grammar, the Arte da Lingoa de Iapam ("Art of the Japanese Language"), compiled by Jesuits such as João Rodrigues, published in Nagasaki between 1603 and 1608.

Martial arts[edit]

Judo has been practiced in Portugal since a demonstration by two officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy while anchored in Lisbon in the early 20th century. Since its founding in 1959, the Portuguese umbrella organization Federação Portuguesa de Judo has been organizing Japanese martial arts in Portugal. The country hosted the 2008 European Judo Championships and finished eighth with one gold and three bronze medals. At the 1995 World Judo Championships in Japan, Portugal won a bronze medal, as well as in 2003, while in 2010 it brought home a silver medal from Japan. Judo is one of the sports of the Jogos da Lusofonia, the games of the Portuguese-speaking world.

Other Japanese martial arts are also practiced in an organized manner in Portugal, particularly Jiu Jitsu, Karate and Aikidō.


Portuguese and culture has also been introduced to Japan through music and martial arts, and Fado has fans in Japan as well, with Portuguese musicians and singers such as Amália Rodrigues, Maria João Pires, Dulce Pontes and Carlos do Carmo having become known among music lovers in Japan, both through performances and publications. The Japanese conductor Takuo Yuasa worked several times in Portugal. Most recently, he led the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, the 96-piece symphony orchestra of the Casa da Música in Porto, in the two sold-out New Year's concerts there on 3 and 4 January 2020.

Twin towns[edit]

Multiple cities in both countries are in partnership or are striving to do so. The first Japanese-Portuguese town twinning was established in 1969 between Tokushima and Leiria.


Resident diplomatic missions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fernando Cristóvão (ed.): Dicionário Temático da Lusofonia. Texto Editores, Lisbon/Luanda/Praia/Maputo 2006 (ISBN 972-47-2935-4), pp. 827ff.
  2. ^ "Everyone in Japan knows that the Portuguese introduced the rifle here and that words like Pan or “Koppu are of Portuguese origin," interview in the newspaper Diário de Notícias with the Japanese ambassador on 12 February 2020, accessed on 15 February 2020
  3. ^ Official Portuguese foreigner statistics by district, Portuguese Foreigners and Border Authority SEF, accessed on 30 August 2017
  4. ^ Portuguese website on Japanese-Portuguese migration, accessed on 30 August 2017
  5. ^ HOFFMAN, MICHAEL (May 26, 2013). "The rarely, if ever, told story of Japanese sold as slaves by Portuguese traders". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  6. ^ "Europeans had Japanese slaves, in case you didn't know…". Japan Probe. May 10, 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  7. ^ "The rarely, if ever, told story of Japanese sold as slaves by Portuguese traders". 26 May 2013.
  8. ^ Nelson, Thomas (Winter 2004). "Slavery in Medieval Japan". Monumenta Nipponica. 59 (4). Sophia University.: 463–492. JSTOR 25066328.
  9. ^ Nelson, Thomas (Winter 2004). "Slavery in Medieval Japan". Monumenta Nipponica. 59 (4): 463–492. JSTOR 25066328.
  10. ^ Hoffman, Michael (26 May 2013). «The rarely, if ever, told story of Japanese sold as slaves by Portuguese traders». The Japan Times (Arq. em WayBack Machine)
  11. ^ Michael Weiner, ed. (2004). Race, Ethnicity and Migration in Modern Japan: Imagined and imaginary minorites (illustrated ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 408. ISBN 0415208572. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  12. ^ Kwame Anthony Appiah; Henry Louis Gates Jr, eds. (2005). Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 479. ISBN 0195170555. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  13. ^ Anthony Appiah; Henry Louis Gates, eds. (2010). Encyclopedia of Africa, Volume 1 (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0195337709. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  14. ^ Nelson, Thomas (Winter 2004). "Slavery in Medieval Japan". Monumenta Nipponica. 59 (4): 465. JSTOR 25066328.
  15. ^ Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa (2013). Religion in Japanese History (illustrated, reprint ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-0231515092. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  16. ^ Donald Calman (2013). Nature and Origins of Japanese Imperialism. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 978-1134918430. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  17. ^ Gopal Kshetry (2008). FOREIGNERS IN JAPAN: A Historical Perspective. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 978-1469102443. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  18. ^ J F Moran, J. F. Moran (2012). Japanese and the Jesuits. Routledge. ISBN 978-1134881123. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  19. ^ In the Name of God: The Making of Global Christianity By Edmondo F. Lupieri, James Hooten, Amanda Kunder [1]
  20. ^ Robert Gellately; Ben Kiernan, eds. (2003). The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 277. ISBN 0521527503. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  21. ^ Gavan McCormack (2001). Reflections on Modern Japanese History in the Context of the Concept of "genocide". Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. Harvard University, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. p. 18. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  22. ^ Olof G. Lidin (2002). Tanegashima - The Arrival of Europe in Japan. Routledge. p. 170. ISBN 1135788715. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  23. ^ Amy Stanley (2012). Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan. Vol. 21 of Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes. Matthew H. Sommer. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520952386. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  24. ^ José Yamashiro (1989). Chòque luso no Japão dos séculos XVI e XVII. IBRASA. p. 103. ISBN 978-85-348-1068-5. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  25. ^ * Boxer, Charles Ralph (1968). Fidalgos on the Far-East 1550–1770. Oxford University Press. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-19-638074-2.
  26. ^ Hoffman, Michael (26 May 2013). «The rarely, if ever, told story of Japanese sold as slaves by Portuguese traders». The Japan Times (Arq. em WayBack Machine)
  27. ^ Jonathan D. Spence (1985). The memory palace of Matteo Ricci (illustrated, reprint ed.). Penguin Books. p. 208. ISBN 0140080988. Retrieved 2012-05-05. countryside.16 Slaves were everywhere in Lisbon, according to the Florentine merchant Filippo Sassetti, who was also living in the city during 1578. Black slaves were the most numerous, but there were also a scattering of Chinese
  28. ^ José Roberto Teixeira Leite (1999). A China no Brasil: influências, marcas, ecos e sobrevivências chinesas na sociedade e na arte brasileiras (in Portuguese). UNICAMP. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. p. 19. ISBN 8526804367. Retrieved 2012-05-05. Idéias e costumes da China podem ter-nos chegado também através de escravos chineses, de uns poucos dos quais sabe-se da presença no Brasil de começos do Setecentos.17 Mas não deve ter sido através desses raros infelizes que a influência chinesa nos atingiu, mesmo porque escravos chineses (e também japoneses) já existiam aos montes em Lisboa por volta de 1578, quando Filippo Sassetti visitou a cidade,18 apenas suplantados em número pelos africanos. Parece aliás que aos últimos cabia o trabalho pesado, ficando reservadas aos chins tarefas e funções mais amenas, inclusive a de em certos casos secretariar autoridades civis, religiosas e militares.
  29. ^ Jeanette Pinto (1992). Slavery in Portuguese India, 1510-1842. Himalaya Pub. House. p. 18. ISBN 9788170405870. Retrieved 2012-05-05. ing Chinese as slaves, since they are found to be very loyal, intelligent and hard working' . . . their culinary bent was also evidently appreciated. The Florentine traveller Fillippo Sassetti, recording his impressions of Lisbon's enormous slave population circa 1580, states that the majority of the Chinese there were employed as cooks.
  30. ^ Charles Ralph Boxer (1968). Fidalgos in the Far East 1550-1770 (2, illustrated, reprint ed.). 2, illustrated, reprint. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-19-638074-2. Retrieved 2012-05-05. be very loyal, intelligent, and hard-working. Their culinary bent (not for nothing is Chinese cooking regarded as the Asiatic equivalent to French cooking in Europe) was evidently appreciated. The Florentine traveller Filipe Sassetti recording his impressions of Lisbon's enormous slave population circa 1580, states that the majority of the Chinese there were employed as cooks. Dr. John Fryer, who gives us an interesting ...
  31. ^ José Roberto Teixeira Leite (1999). A China No Brasil: Influencias, Marcas, Ecos E Sobrevivencias Chinesas Na Sociedade E Na Arte Brasileiras (in Portuguese). UNICAMP. Universidade Estadual de Campinas. p. 19. ISBN 8526804367. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  32. ^ Paul Finkelman (1998). Paul Finkelman, Joseph Calder Miller (ed.). Macmillan encyclopedia of world slavery, Volume 2. Macmillan Reference USA, Simon & Schuster Macmillan. p. 737. ISBN 0028647815. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  33. ^ Duarte de Sande (2012). Derek Massarella (ed.). Japanese Travellers in Sixteenth-century Europe: A Dialogue Concerning the Mission of the Japanese Ambassadors to the Roman Curia (1590). Vol. 25 of 3: Works, Hakluyt Society Hakluyt Society. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-1409472230. ISSN 0072-9396. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  34. ^ A. C. de C. M. Saunders (1982). A Social History of Black Slaves and Freedmen in Portugal, 1441-1555. Vol. 25 of 3: Works, Hakluyt Society Hakluyt Society (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 168. ISBN 0521231507. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  35. ^ Jeanette Pinto (1992). Slavery in Portuguese India, 1510-1842. Himalaya Pub. House. p. 18. ISBN 9788170405870. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  36. ^ Charles Ralph Boxer (1968). Fidalgos in the Far East 1550-1770 (2, illustrated, reprint ed.). Oxford U.P. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-19-638074-2. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  37. ^ Dias, Maria Suzette Fernandes (2007), Legacies of slavery: comparative perspectives, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 71, ISBN 978-1-84718-111-4
  38. ^ James Murdoch, A History of Japan, vol. 3, p. 662
  39. ^ Garrett, Richard J. Defences of Macau, The : Forts, Ships and Weapons over 450 ymsmy ears. ISBN 988-220-680-8. OCLC 1154841140.
  40. ^ a b "Japan-Portugal Relations (Basic Data)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
  41. ^ According to JETRO statistics.
  42. ^ Estimated based on Ministry of Foreign Affairs data and JETRO statistics.
  43. ^ 50% of the products and 90% of the raw materials are produced in Portugal, and the only company from Portugal to expand into Japan is a cork product manufacturer.
  44. ^ Response Article dated February 12, 2011 "Nissan begins construction of battery factory in Portugal"
  45. ^ Bilateral economic relations between Japan and Portugal
  46. ^ Overview of the activities in Japan
  47. ^ Only three Portuguese players (excluding those with dual citizenship) have played in the J League, of which Paulo Futre was a key player for the Portugal national team before joining Yokohama Flugels in 1998.
  48. ^ O cinema português com os olhos no Japão - “The cinema of Portugal with a look at Japan”, article from 20 January 2017 on the cultural page "Ípsilon" of the Portuguese newspaper Público, accessed on 21 December 2017
  49. ^ Ciclo de Cinema Japonês na Cinemateca Portuguesa, website for the series of events at Clubotako, a Portuguese association for Japanese culture, accessed on 21 December 2017

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