William Adams.

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

William Adams was born in Gillingham, Kent, England back in 1564.  His father died when he was twelve so he apprenticed to a shipyard owner.  For the next twelve years he learned about shipbuilding, astronomy and navigation before entering the Royal Navy.  Serving under Sir Francis Drake he saw action against the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Afterwards, he became a pilot for the Barbary Company, he was sent to find a Northeast Passage along the coast of Siberia to the Far East.  That voyage lasted for two years.  When he returned he shipped out as pilot major with a five-ship fleet to South America with a goal to arrive in Chile, Peru and other kingdoms.  The ships were caught up in a storm and lost sight of each other.  His ship arrived in Japan in 1600 after more than nineteen months at sea.  The crew were not allowed to leave Japan.  He died in Hirado, Kyushu, Japan in 1620, he was 55.

What you may not know about William is that he was the first Englishman to reach Japan, he is also the first ever (of very few) non-Japanese samurai.

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Comments (12)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, James Dray 

Dec 27, 2020 03:48 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

He sounds like a very interesting man indeed and someone I would not know about if I didn't stop by to read your post this morning.

Dec 27, 2020 04:29 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning again, James... this story is a reminder of how brave these explorers were and just how "closed" Japan was historically.

Dec 27, 2020 04:47 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

A well-travelled man and willing to learn new customs.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Dec 27, 2020 05:07 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this story.

Have an outstanding week.

Dec 27, 2020 05:13 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi James:

Fascinating read this morning! I can't imagine being at sea for 19 months!

Dec 27, 2020 08:19 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning James Dray reminds me of the old series "Shogun"

Dec 27, 2020 09:14 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi James- I cannot imagine being on the seas in those days much less landing in a country and not being allowed to leave. 

Dec 27, 2020 10:32 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi James Dray - Wow, what a story!  You had to have a lot of courage to travel on the open seas back then. 

Dec 27, 2020 11:45 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a great story, and the best part is that he became a Samurai.  In those days Japan was closed to travelers...A

Dec 27, 2020 03:12 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Poor William, he was a prisoner of his own success. Thank you for sharing James Dray 

Dec 27, 2020 08:47 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wow I had no idea an Englishman could be a Samurai? now I need to read up on him,, Endre

Dec 28, 2020 10:20 PM