Saturday, August 12, 2023

Nagasaki Shinchi the Oldest Chinatown in Japan


By the 17th century there were Chinese settlements all over Kyushu engaged in trade. In 1635 the Japanese government restricted all trade to the single port of Nagasaki, and so the Chinese moved there.

It is thought that around one sixth of the population of Nagasaki were Chinese, but they were not confined like the Dutch traders on Dejima.

However, by the late 17th century the Shogunate became increasingly concerned about smuggling and so a walled and gated  compound called Tojin Yashiki was constructed and all Chinese confined there.

In 1859 the Japanese policy of national seclusion ended and Tojin Yashiki was demolished and many of the Chinese residents moved to the Shinchi area.

For two weeks after the Chinese New Year the Nagasaki lantern Festival is held is held at several sites across Nagasaki, including Shinchi.

I visited a few days after it had finished but floats and other evidence of the festival still remained.

I did not spend any time exploring Shinchi as I was far more interested in the nearby area of the former Tojin Yashiki. The previous post in this series was on Dejima, the Dutch settlement.


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