Hasekura Tsunenaga Statue – Civitavecchia, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Hasekura Tsunenaga Statue

Why does this Italian coastal city have a statue of a 17th-century samurai? 


Civitavecchia is an Italian harbor founded around the year 100. In its long history, it has hosted many important and well-known people, including many not of Italian origin. Walk along Corso Guglielmo Marconi and you may find yourself in front of a small corner with the bronze statue of a samurai.

He is Hasekura Tsunenaga, a 17th-century Kirishitan Japanese samurai and retainer of Date Masamune, the daimyō of Sendai. In 1613, Hasekura set sail from the Japanese port of Tsukinoura. Accompanied by about 20 companions, he crossed the Pacific, traveled through Mexico, then sailed across the Atlantic to Europe. They visited Spain and France before traveling to Rome for an audience with Pope Paul V. 

Though Hasekura did not spend much time in Civitavecchia, the city wanted to remember its illustrious Japanese visitor by building a monument to him. It is easily visitable with a five-minute walk from the city’s beautiful promenade.

Know Before You Go

The statue is very well done and atypical for an Italian location, the character history is very interesting and unique, worth reading.

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