Nagasaki

Most people remember Nagasaki as the second city to suffer the horrors of the atomic bomb. However, Nagasaki boasts a brief, by Japanese standards, but rich history. In 1570, Portuguese traders sailed into Nagasaki Harbor, becoming the first westerners to visit Japan. The next year, more traders came to establish a trading post. Soon, many others followed using Nagasaki as the main entry point into Japan, including Jesuit priests who began to convert many Japanese to Christianity. This soon became a perceived threat, and in 1597 Toyotomi Hideyoshi crucified 26 Christians in Nagasaki, and threw many more into boiling, geothermally-heated mineral springs near Nagasaki. Soon after, the Tokugawa Shogunate made it a capital offense to be a Christian, and finally, in 1639 all westerners were expelled from Japan until 1859. During this time, the only westerners allowed in Japan were a small, Dutch contingent of merchants confined to a tiny, artificial island in Nagasaki Harbor called Dejima. They were allowed only one ship in and out per year, and their contact was limited to Japanese merchants and prostitutes.