Relationship established 1955
Nagasaki and Nishisonogi Peninsulas are located within the city limits. The city is surrounded by the cities of Isahaya and Saikai and the towns of Tokitsu and Nagayo in the Nishisonogi District.
Nagasaki lies at the head of a long bay which forms the best natural harbor on the island of Ky?sh?. The main commercial and residential area of the city lies on a small plain near the end of the bay. Two rivers divided by a mountain spur form the two main valleys in which the city lies. The heavily built-up area of the city is confined by the terrain to less than four square miles.
Founded before 1500, Nagasaki was originally secluded by harbors. It enjoyed little historical significance until contact with European explorers in 1542, when a Portuguese ship accidentally landed nearby, somewhere in Kagoshima prefecture. The Spanish Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier arrived in another part of the territory in 1549, but left for China in 1551 and died soon afterwards. His followers who remained behind converted a number of daimyo (feudal lords). The most notable among them was Omura Sumitada, who derived great profit from his conversion through an accompanying deal to receive a portion of the trade from Portuguese ships at a port they established in Nagasaki in 1571 with his assistance.
The little harbor village quickly grew into a diverse port city, and Portuguese products imported through Nagasaki (such as tobacco, bread, textiles and a Portuguese sponge-cake called castellas) were assimilated into popular Japanese culture. Tempura, while not Portuguese in origin, takes its name from the Portuguese word, 'Tempero,' another example of the enduring effects of this cultural exchange. The Portuguese also brought with them many goods from China.
Due to the instability during the Warring States period, Sumitada and Jesuit leader Alexandro Valignano conceived a plan to pass administrative control over to the Society of Jesus rather than see the Catholic city taken over by a non-Catholic daimyo who was not quickly ascending to in Ky?sh?. Thus, for a brief period after 1580, the city of Nagasaki was a Jesuit colony, under their administrative and military control. It became a refuge for Christians escaping maltreatment in other regions of Japan. In 1587, however, Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaign to unify the country arrived in Ky?sh?. Concerned with the large Christian influence in southern Japan, as well as the active and somewhat arrogant role the Jesuits were playing in the Japanese political arena, Hideyoshi ordered the expulsion of all missionaries and placed the city under his direct control. However, the expulsion order went largely unenforced, and the fact remained that most of Nagasaki's population remained openly practicing Catholics.
In 1596, the Spanish ship San Felipe was wrecked off the coast of Shikoku, and Hideyoshi learned from its pilot (so says the Jesuit account) that the Spanish Franciscans were the vanguard of an Iberian invasion of Japan. In response, Hideyoshi ordered the deaths of twenty-six Catholics in Nagasaki on February 5, 1596. Portuguese traders were not ostracized, however, and so the city continued to thrive.
In 1602, Augustinian missionaries also arrived in Japan, and when Tokugawa Ieyasu took power in 1603, Catholicism was still grudgingly tolerated. Many Catholic daimyo had been critical allies at the Battle of Sekigahara, and the Tokugawa position was not strong enough to move against them. Once Osaka Castle had been taken and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's offspring killed, though, the Tokugawa dominance was assured. In addition, the Dutch and English presence allowed trade without religious strings attached. Thus, the hammer fell in 1614, with Catholicism officially banned and all missionaries ordered to leave. Most Catholic daimyo apostatized and forced their subjects to do so, although a few would not renounce the religion and left the country as well. A brutal campaign of persecution followed, with thousands across Ky?sh? and other parts of Japan killed, tortured, or forced to renounce their religion.
Catholicism's last gasp as an open religion, and the last major military action in Japan until the Meiji Restoration, was the Shimabara rebellion of 1637. While there is no evidence that Europeans directly incited the rebellion, Shimabara had been a Christian han for several decades, and the rebels adopted many Portuguese motifs and Christian icons. Consequently, in Tokugawa society the word "Shimabara" solidified the connection between Christianity and disloyalty, constantly used again and again in Tokugawa propaganda.
The Shimabara rebellion also convinced many policy-makers that foreign influences were more trouble than they were worth. The Portuguese, who had been previously living on a specially-constructed island-prison in Nagasaki harbor called Deshima, were expelled from the archipelago altogether, and the Dutch were moved from their base at Hirado into the trading island. In 1720, the ban on Dutch books was lifted, causing hundreds of scholars to flood into Nagasaki to study European science and art. Consequently, Nagasaki became a major center of rangaku, or "Dutch Learning". During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate governed the city, appointing a hatamoto, the Nagasaki bugy?, as its chief administrator.
Consensus among historians was once that Nagasaki was Japan's only window on the world during its time as a closed country in the Tokugawa era. However, nowadays it is generally accepted that this was not the case, since Japan interacted and traded with the Ryukyus, Korea and Russia through Satsuma, Tsushima and the north of Honsh? respectively. Nevertheless, Nagasaki was depicted in contemporary art and literature as a cosmopolitan port brimming with exotic curiosities from the Western World.
In 1808, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Phaeton entered Nagasaki harbor in search of Dutch trading ships. The local magistrate was unable to resist the British demand for food, fuel, and water, later committing seppuku as a result. Laws were passed in the wake of this incident strengthening coastal defenses, threatening death to intruding foreigners, and prompting the training of English and Russian translators.
U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry landed in 1853. The Shogunate crumbled shortly afterward, and Japan opened its doors once again to foreign trade and diplomatic relations. Nagasaki became a free port in 1859 and modernization began in earnest in 1868.
With the Meiji Restoration, Nagasaki quickly began to assume some economic dominance. Its main industry was ship-building. This very industry would eventually make it a target in World War II, since many warships used by the Japanese Navy during the war were built in its factories and docks.
On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was the target of the world's second atomic bomb attack at 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 39,000 people were killed. According to statistics given at the Nagasaki Peace Park, the deceased totaled 73,884, injured totaled 74,909, and diseased totaled120,820. Most of those who died were civilians.
The city was rebuilt after the war, albeit dramatically changed. New temples were built, as well as new churches due to an increase in the presence of Christianity. Nagasaki is the seat of a Catholic archdiocese led by Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Tagami. Some of the rubble was left as a memorial, such as a one-legged torii gate and an arch near ground zero. New structures were also raised as memorials, such as the Atomic Bomb Museum. Nagasaki remains first and foremost a port city, supporting a rich shipping industry and setting a strong example of perseverance and peace.
Sister City Structure/History
St. Paul was on the cutting edge of Sister City partnerships when, on December 7, 1955, they established a Sister City relationship with Nagasaki. This was the first-ever partnership between an American city and one anywhere in Asia. Louis Hill, Jr. was instrumental in bringing about this partnership, one that was intended to build friendship in the post-World War II era.
The St. Paul – Nagasaki Sister City Committee now oversees the Sister City relationship.
Visit the Saint Paul Nagasaki Sister City Committee website at www.stpaulnagasaki.org
The Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee (SPNSCC) works to establish new links with and support for programs involving Saint Paul and Nagasaki.
Some of the projects the SPNCC has participated in include the construction and restoration of the Ordway Japanese Garden in Como Park, construction of the Global Harmony Labyrinth in Como Park, creation and installation of Paul Granlund's sculpture, "Constellation Earth" in the Peace Park in Nagasaki, and the creation and installation of a totem pole on Saint Paul Avenue in Nagasaki.
The Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City affiliation has been commemorated by exchanges of official gifts and delegations on many important occasions, including the Grand Excursion in 2004.
The SPNSCC also serves as a consultant to business, government, and educational agencies on topics such as Japanese customs and protocols, and offers guidance to persons visiting Japan for cultural purposes.
Some of the organizations we have cooperated with over the years to improve understanding and exchange include: St. Paul Rotary Club, International Institute of Minnesota, College of St. Catherine, Minnesota Ikebana Society, Minnesota Bonsai Society, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Japan America Society of Minnesota.
The Japan America Society of Minnesota is a group which promotes strong ties with Japanese and American cultures. They do this by holding festivals, information sessions, and other fund raising events. They receive help from many corporations such as American Airlines, Honeywell Inc., Japan Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Riverplace Inc., and many other corporations. These corporations are instrumental in the maintaining of the great relationship between the U.S. and Japan.