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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Townshend Harris & Zenpuku-ji


Townshend Harris (1804-1878) was the first US Consul General in Japan, operating first in Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula at Gyokusenji Temple before moving to Tokyo and Zenpuku-ji in the Azabu area of the city.

A plaque commemorates the spot where Harris opened the first legation in an area of Tokyo that now has many embassies from all over the world.

Harris' Dutch-born interpreter Henry Heusken (1832-1861) died at Zenpukuji after he was attacked by swordsmen on Nakanohashi Bridge. Heusken ignored warnings from Harris to ride in the city after dark and was fatally wounded by his unknown attackers. Heusken is buried in the grounds of Korinji Temple not far from Zenpukuji.

Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901), a noted Meiji-era modernizer and the founder of Keio University, is buried at Zenpuku-ji temple. Keio faculty members and the college's alumni visit the temple on the anniversary of his death on February 3 each year.

The nearest metro station is Azabujuban.
Map of Zenpuku-ji

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