On the occasion of the completion of the Omotemonbashi Bridge of Dejima on 24 November 2017 a booklet and a bilingual flyer on the ‘Hollandsche Begraafplaats’ (Dutch Cemetery) at the Goshinji Temple in Nagasaki was published by the Dutch embassy in Tokyo. The booklet has been compiled as an introduction to the different facets of the graveyard – the history, present status and future prospects and of all the people and organizations involved in the small plot of Holland in Nagasaki. The booklet is titled ‘The Dutch cemetery at Goshinji: Stories of Exchange and Cooperation.’
The Dutch cemetery was established near the Buddhist temple Goshinji, soon after the Dutch East India Company Factory moved to the island of Dejima in 1641. The cemetery served the European residents of Dejima for more than two centuries and accommodated a large number of burials. The Tokugawa Shogunate, fearful of a Christian resurgence, initially prohibited the erection of stone markers. The oldest existing gravestone is that of the Dutch Factor Hendrik Duurkoop, who died en route to Nagasaki in 1778. It is also the oldest European gravestone in Japan. The last person buried here was Janus Rhijnhoud, a Dutch merchant who died in Nagasaki in 1870 and whose gravestone is inscribed with the name of a Japanese woman named Yatsuhashi. Today, the Hollandsche Begraafplaats (Dutch Cemetery) contains 41 gravestones, eleven of which are simple crosses without inscriptions. Protected over the years by Goshinji Temple, the cemetery remains as tangible evidence of the Dutch presence in Nagasaki and provides valuable insights into the historic relationship between Japan and the Netherlands.
Should you be interested in this publication, please contact the department for Public Diplomacy, Political and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tokyo.