Henry Heusken (1832-1861) was the young Dutch-born interpreter for Townshend Harris, the first American Consul General in Japan.
Heusken fell victim to the random violence of the sonno joi ("Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarian") movement that swept Japan during the chaotic Bakumatsu Period - the death throes of the Tokugawa regime before the Restoration of the Meiji Emperor in 1868.
Other notable victims of samurai antipathy to foreigners at the time were Charles Richardson, a British trader hacked to death at Namamugi, near Yokohama in 1862 by Satsuma han swordsmen and eleven French sailors killed in the Sakai Incident of 1868.
Henry Heusken died of his wounds at Zenpukuji Temple following an attack by unknown swordsmen on Nakanohashi Bridge in Tokyo. Heusken ignored warnings from his boss Harris not to ride in the streets after dark.
Heusken is now buried in the grounds of Korinji Temple (光林寺) not far from Zenpukuji. Also buried here is Dankichi, a Japanese castaway, who had lived in the USA and China and was an interpreter for British Consul Rutherford Alcock. The low born Dankichi was resented for his hauty attitude by his fellow Japanese and cut down on the steps of the British Legation in 1860.
A weathered tombstone with an inscription in English commemorates the young Dutchman's brief life and there are a few Bols bottles at the foot of the tombstone to remind the visitor of Heusken's roots in The Netherlands.
The grave is on your right as you enter the temple about four main rows up at the far end.
Korinji Temple is close to the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo and a 15-minute walk from Hiroo Station on the Hibiya Line of Tokyo Metro. Korinji is known for its beautiful cherry blossom in season.
4-11-25 Minami Azabu
Tel: 03 3473 2621
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