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I publish them regularly on topics based around my enduring love for all matters maritime. I keep them short and light, so they should be no longer to read than the time it takes to drink a coffee. If you want to receive them, please subscribe below

The Curious Tale of William Adams, the Samurai Sailor

In the early 1980s a novel by James Clavell called ‘Shogun’ gripped the Western World. The book sold in millions, and awoke considerable interest in the history of feudal Japan. It was soon turned into a very successful TV series starring Richard Chamberlain as a Tudor sea pilot called John Blackthorne. The story tells how Blackthorne was wrecked on the Japanese coast in 1600, just when that country was entering a violent power struggle between rival clans of Samurai, battling to be supreme leader – the Shogun of the title. What is less well known is that Clavell based his book on the true story of an English sea captain called William Adams. Adams was born in Gillingham in the Thames estuar

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