Santiponce Itálica


An immense legacy waiting to be discovered

Sendai House Museum


The Sendai House Museum is located in the heart of Coria del Río, a five minutes’ walk from the Town Hall, and ten minutes from the river and Carlos de Mesa Park. The park is home to the Hasekura Tsunenaga’s statue and the Japanese cherry tree planted in mid-2013 by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan as part of his six-day trip to Spain to mark the start of the Spain-Japan Dual Year. 

The museum is in a 19th-century house that belonged to a local family of “Japanese” origin that live in Coria del Río. Its original structure has been preserved. One can see its wooden beams and beautiful cement tile floor. The only major changes have been the inclusion of a small counter for the gift shop and use of the stables as an exhibition space and conference hall. 

The opening of the Sendai House Museum on 16 October 2013 coincided with the opening of the exhibition ‘Sin perder contra la lluvia’ (‘Undefeated by the Rain’). The Japanese ambassador to Spain, His Excellency Satoru Satoh, attended the opening ceremony. 

The Japanese Keicho Embassy in the early 17th century had two main missions. Firstly, to establish commercial relations between Spain and Japan (with Date Masamune, the feudal lord of Sendai and a Christian convert, as an intermediary), and secondly, to visit Rome to meet the Pope and appoint the Franciscan Luis Sotelo as Bishop of Japan. 

When the Keicho Embassy entered the mouth of the River Guadalquivir at Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz), they made the decision to dock at Coria del Río for two reasons. The port of Seville was one of the busiest in the world (if not the busiest) at that time. All the ships from the Americas unloaded their treasures here. Therefore, the Japanese vessel could not moor. The other reason was geographical. The large bend on the River Guadalquivir between Coria del Río and Seville meant that the journey between the two towns was faster by land than by river. 

This is how the Japanese arrived in Coria del Río, and their relationship with the local inhabitants began. In time, children were born from the union of these two cultures. It was decided that the country of origin of the parent would be used to avoid hard-to-pronounce Japanese surnames. This is how the surname “Japón” was created. 

The curious origin of this surname led Sebastian Cordero, whose mother proudly bears the Japón surname, to create the Sendai House Museum. Building on the Spain-Japan Dual Year, this museum was opened to disseminate Japanese culture in Spain, while making the Japanese tourists aware of the history and traditions of Coria del Río where their ancestors stayed to live and set down roots.



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