Berkshires author John J. Healey introduces his new novel, The Samurai of Seville. Revealing one of history’s most intriguing forgotten chapters—the arrival of Japanese Samurai in Spain in 1614—Healey weaves a rich tale of dueling cultures as warriors clash with Renaissance sensibilities. Joining the author are Williams College Professor of History Eiko Maruko Siniawer, who discusses Samurai culture of seventeenth-century Japan, and Williams College Professor of Romance Languages Soledad Fox Maura, who relates the novel to her expertise in comparative literature. A book signing follows the talk.
The Samurai of Seville
In 1614, twenty-two Samurai warriors and a group of tradesmen from Japan sailed to Spain where they initiated one of the most intriguing cultural exchanges in history. They were received with pomp and circumstance, first by King Philip III and later by Pope Paul V. They were the first Japanese to visit Europe and caused a sensation. They remained for two years and then most of the party returned to Japan; however, six of the Samurai stayed behind, settling in a small fishing village close to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where their descendants live to this day.
Healey imbues this tale of East meeting West with uncommon emotional and intellectual intensity, and a rich sense of place. He explores the dueling mentalities of the two cultures through a singular love story that blossoms between a sophisticated, restrained, warrior of Japan and the baroque sensibilities of a Catholic, Renaissance Spain noblewoman.
The story is a timeless one about the discoveries and conflicts that arise from the forging of relationships across geographical and cultural borders.
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