Japanese people in Spain

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Japanese people in Spain
Total population
c. 11,636[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
Madrid, Catalonia[3]
Japanese Embassy in Madrid

Japanese people in Spain consist largely of expatriate managers in Japanese corporations, as well as international students.[4] There are also some people of Japanese ancestry in Spain, including descendants of 17th-century migrants to Spain, as well as migrants from among Nikkei populations in Latin America.[5] According to Spain's National Statistical Institute, 4,898 Japanese citizens resided in the country as of 2009; Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a slightly higher figure of 6,717.[1][2]


Hasekura Tsunenaga in prayer, following his conversion to Christianity in Madrid in 1615.

The first Japanese people to settle in Spain were the members of an embassy led by Hasekura Tsunenaga. Instead of returning to Japan in 1617, six samurai remained in Coria del Río, near Seville. The surname Japón (Spanish for "Japan") is conserved among approximately 700 inhabitants of Coria del Río, identifying them as descendants of the members of Hasekura Tsunenaga's delegation.[6]

The first Japanese business established in Spain was SANYO España.S.A. in 1969. Since then Catalonia became the main point of Japanese business operations in Spain.[7]

Between the 1970s and 1980s, Nikkeis—people of Japanese ancestry from various countries of Latin America—settled in Spain, fleeing financial crises or political oppression in their home countries.[citation needed] Since the 1970s, many Japanese have also come to Spain as businesspeople and students.[8] In 1966, there were only about 280 Japanese nationals in Spain, but this number grew to 2,824 by 1993.[9]


As of 2001 5,167 Japanese citizens resided in Spain, with 1,189 of them in Barcelona and 87 of them in the remainder of Catalonia. Most residing in Catalonia are employees of Japanese companies.[10]


The Barcelona Suiyokai is an association of Japanese companies that operates in Barcelona.[11] It operates a Japanese new year festival.[12] In 2004 57 companies were a part of the association.[11]

In Barcelona there is also a Go club, a Haiku club, an association of Japanese language teachers, an association of the alumni of the Japanese complementary school, a golf club, and a Hispano-Japanese association.[11]


Spain has two Japanese international schools: the Colegio Japonés de Barcelona and the Colegio Japonés de Madrid. The two cities, Barcelona and Madrid, also have weekend Japanese education programmes.[13]

The Las Palmas Japanese School (ラス・パルマス日本人学校) previously existed.[14] It closed in March 2001.[15]

There is a Japanese library in Eixample, Barcelona that opened in 1992. Most of the patrons are Japanese, though locals may also use the facilities. The library is located inside a flat.[11]

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ a b INE 2009
  2. ^ a b MOFA 2009
  3. ^ Valls Campà 1998, p. 161
  4. ^ Beltrán Antolín & Sáiz López 2002, p. 45
  5. ^ Beltrán Antolín 2006, p. 114
  6. ^ "Spain's Japon clan has reunion to trace its 17th century roots", Japan Times, 2003-12-11, retrieved 2013-11-27 
  7. ^ Fukuda, Makiko. "El Col·legi Japonès de Barcelona: un estudi pilot sobre les ideologies lingüístiques d'una comunitat expatriada a Catalunya" (Archive). Treballs de sociolingüística catalana > 2005: 18 (2004). See profile at Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO). p. 213. "En el casd'Espanya, des que va ser instal·lada al Principat la primera empresa japonesa, SANYO España.S.A., l'any 1969, la inversió estrangera directa de les empreses japoneses s'ha concentrat a Catalunya."
  8. ^ Beltrán Antolín & Sáiz López 2002, p. 46
  9. ^ Valls Campà 1998, p. 158
  10. ^ Fukuda, Makiko. "El Col·legi Japonès de Barcelona: un estudi pilot sobre les ideologies lingüístiques d'una comunitat expatriada a Catalunya" (Archive). Treballs de sociolingüística catalana > 2005: 18 (2004). See profile at Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO). p. 214. "Segons el Ministeri d'Afers Exteriors del Japó (2001)4, els japonesos residents a l'estranger[...]A tot el territori d'Espanya, resideixen 5.167 japonesos. 1.276 d'ells estan instal.lats a Catalunya, bona part dels quals esta concentrat a Barcelona (1.189)5. La majoria són els directius de les empreses japoneses instal·lades a Catalunya."
  11. ^ a b c d Fukuda, "Supervivència de la colònia japonesa a Catalunya: l’organització interna i la seva implicació en l’ecosistema lingüístic català." "Els treballadors destinats a Catalunya solen pertànyer a la Barcelona Suiyokai, que és l’associació d’empresaris japonesos a Catalunya. L’any 2004 en formaven part cinquanta-set empreses." and "Un altre punt de trobada de la colònia japonesa a Catalunya és una biblioteca que es troba en un pis de l’Eixample. Va ser creada l’any 1992 per uns voluntaris japonesos que vivien a Barcelona, amb la finalitat de fomentar l’intercanvi cultural entre Espanya i el Japó. La biblioteca està oberta també a la població local, però la majoria dels usuaris són japonesos, sobretot els estudiants, les famílies dels treballadors i els jubilats, tant de les zones pròximes a Barcelona com de la ciutat." and "També cal esmentar l’Associació de Professors de Llengua Japonesa de Barcelona." and "A més de les associacions esmentades, també hi ha l’Associació de Famílies Hispano-Japoneses, l’Associació d’Estudi de Gaudí, el Club d’Haiku, el Club de Golf, la Societat d’Antics Alumnes de l’Escola Complementària, etc."
  12. ^ "Japón celebra el fin de año en Barcelona" (Archive). La Vanguardia. 8 January 2015. Retrieved on 22 January 2015.
  13. ^ "欧州の補習授業校一覧(平成25年4月15日現在)" (Archive). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Retrieved on May 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "過去に指定・認定していた在外教育施設" (Archive). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Retrieved on January 15, 2015.
  15. ^ "関係機関へのリンク" (Archive). The Japan School of Doha. Retrieved on March 31, 2015. "ラス・パルマス日本人学校(2001年3月閉校)"
  16. ^ "David Silva, el nieto de 'la tirajanera'/David Silva, the grandson of the woman from Tirajana", La Provincia (in Spanish), 2008-06-30, retrieved 2010-04-19 
  17. ^ "Poetas de Bolivia / Pedro Shimose", Bolivia Web (in Spanish), retrieved 2012-07-30 


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]