Q. I am interested in finding out which European country introduced guns and gunpowder to Japan in approximately 15 43? My ancestors came over on the Japanese ship “Encounter” with some Japanese sailors who did not have guns on their ship. My question is, how can you find this out if no one seems to have written about it or mention it in their diaries or memoirs? Thank you.
A. Although there are a great many written sources that discuss about gunpowder and Japan, there is not one written source that discusses exactly when gunpowder was invented in Japan. However, there is one book written by an English sailor that mentions gunpowder being used in Japan and states that it was probably created during the reign of Meiji. This is the only account of gunpowder use in Japan that we have records of. However, there is no doubt that gunpowder was widely used throughout Asia and was commonly used by the Chinese and the Indians as well.
G. Which European nation introduced gunpowder and firearms to Japan in approximately 1543? In general, all European nations did introduce gunpowder technology to Japan although the exact chronology of when certain technologies were developed is unclear. For instance, the Portuguese powder fire was probably invented around 1530. The Spanish bullet was probably invented around the same time but it was never introduced to Japan because the Japanese government opposed the use of arms so did not introduce them into their empire.
H. How old was gunpowder before it was introduced to Japan? Gunpowder did not become popular in Japan until the end of the reign of Meiji. Prior to this time, gunpowder was only used for small scale war and was used mainly for training exercises. The discovery of gunpowder by Christopher Columbus may have inspired his trip to Japan in order to find a cure for smallpox. Columbus may have also learned about gunpowder technologies from an English friar who had been studying Japanese techniques of farming and navigation.
I. Q. Where can I find out more about gunpowder and firearms? You can do a lot of research on the internet but you will not be able to find many web sites that focus exclusively on this subject. Unfortunately, in most cases, gunpowder technologies are not publicly known because the governments of various countries do not want the knowledge to be used for evil ends.
J. Q. Where can I buy guns in Japan? Gun Powder has been banned completely in Japan and firearms cannot be purchased without a special license. There are several authorized sellers in Japan who can help you acquire firearms for your travels to Japan but you must know where to find them. You can do a search on Google or Yahoo for licensed gun dealers in Japan.