Publisher December 2018

The End of History

Name for niche, quality, tradition helps UK goods in Japan

As 2018 rolls to a close, we mark the end of the 70th anniversary of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) with the final chapter in our popular series on the history of the organisation. None other than Robin Maynard MBE—honorary life-time BCCJ member—writes about the first Briton to visit Japan, in 1600 (page 27). As president of the William Adams Club, Maynard is a great source of knowledge on the humble adventurer who—among many other achievements—played a key role in composing the two nations’ first bilateral trade and diplomatic agreement.

Those with an interest in such historical documents—including the first-ever printed map to show Japan and rare English books brought here during the bubble era in the 1980s—should enjoy our account of antiquities from both nations offered for sale and auction in London and Tokyo. Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market? For the answer, turn to page 22.

Finally, we mark 100 years since the end of World War l, with Two Minutes of Silence on page 38. Indeed, our history series has covered many angles—business, culture, sport, diplomacy, politics, media, VIPs, industry, entertainment, trade, advocacy, war and death. We’ve enjoyed very much putting the series together, and I’d like to especially express my gratitude to the late Ian de Stains OBE and Sir Hugh Cortazzi GCMG, both of whom generously helped me and passed away in the past 12 months.

Fashion meets history

This issue features a subject that—at first glance—could not be further from history: fashion. But with an element of both and strong British roots, luxury perfumes (page 18) and very expensive handcrafted shoes (page 20) dominate the global niche markets of British traditional skills and knowledge, while helping maintain long waiting lists and Royal Warrants.

Rob Williams—gonged

Too late for full details in this issue, the Japan-British Society honoured a Briton and a Japanese on 4 December, at its annual honours gala event. The January issue of BCCJ ACUMEN will carry the full details. Many of you will know at least one of the individuals: Rob Williams, of Knights in White Lycra fame. The charity fundraising cycling team Williams manages and motivates has benefited from a number of BCCJ members, volunteers and sponsors since its founding in 2012. On behalf of his wide and varied network of contacts in Tokyo, I’d like to warmly congratulate him on his latest award, presented to him by Princess Akiko of Mikasa at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo.