ANJIN and SHOGUN Ieyasu Tokugawa -The Historic City of Ito


In 2024, the drama “SHOGUN” is capturing global attention.
Based on the novel of the same name by James Clavell, this work was adapted into a film in 1980 and again in 2024. The protagonist, Anjin, is modeled after a real historical figure: the Englishman William Adams, known as the “blue-eyed samurai.”
After enduring a harsh voyage and being shipwrecked in Japan, William faced numerous trials, including imprisonment. However, he gradually gained the trust of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, making significant contributions in diplomacy and technology. Eventually, he was bestowed with the title of samurai and the name Miura Anjin.Ito City has a deep connection with Anjin. By the order of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Anjin built Japan’s first Western-style sailing ship in this very city. The final scene of the 1980 adaptation depicts Anjin constructing a ship, which is believed to be based on this historical fact.

Near the mouth of the Matsukawa River, the scene from that time is depicted.

Building Ships at the Mouth of the Matsukawa River

Anjin built Western-style sailing ships near the mouth of the Matsukawa River, which flows through the center of Ito City. The construction method involved digging into the sandy ground, placing logs to create a sand dock, and assembling the ship within it. Once the ship was completed, the river was dammed to let water flow into the dock, allowing the ship to launch. Anjin built two Western-style sailing ships in Ito, one of 80 tons and the other of 120 tons. The second ship was named “San Buena Ventura” and sailed to Mexico.

Ito Citizens and the Anjin Festival

To honor Anjin’s achievements, Ito City holds the Anjin Festival every year from August 8th to 10th. The highlight is the fireworks display on the 10th, which lasts for over an hour and attracts many residents and tourists, creating a lively atmosphere.