Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 7
May 17, 2016 (Tue) - July 10, 2016 (Sun)
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, we are displaying for the first time ever the portrait of Ito Mancio, a member of the Tensho Embassy to Europe-the first "bridge" between Japan and Italy.
In the 10th year of the Tensho era (1582), th e embassy departed from Nagasaki. It represented the three Christian daimyo, or feudal lords, of Kyushu and consisted primarily of Ito Mancio and three other young men. They sailed from Japan to China, India, Portugal, and Spain before reaching Italy during the time of its brilliant Renaissance. They were welcomed in the major cities of Florence, Rome, and Venice; received an audience with Pope Gregorius XIII; and participated in a dazzling ball before returning to Japan in 1590.
More than 400 years later, in March 2014, a newly-discovered portrait of Mancio by the painter Domenico Tintoretto was unveiled by the Trivulzio Foundation of Milan. This portrait was a discovery of great historical significance, providing evidence that the embassy had been officially welcomed in Venice and that Tintoretto has indeed created oil portraits, the existence of which had been known only through historical documents.
In addition to the portrait of Mancio, this Special Viewing features Concerning the Voyage of Four Young Japanese Men to Rome (Important Cultural Property), a book published in Italy to report the doings of the Tensho Embassy; items from the Museum's collection that bear connections with both Japanese Christians and Italy; and other objects that shed light on interactions through Christianity between Japan and Italy from the 16th to the 18th century.