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My husband’s family made a home and business in Nagasaki by the late 1870s. …
A view on Nagasaki Harbor and the southern tip of the city’s foreign settlement. The main settlement in Oura is behind the hill in the right background. The lone pine tree located on that hill marks the location of the residence of the influential Scottish merchant Thomas Blake Glover (1838-1911). The house was completed in 1863 (Bunkyu 3) and is today the oldest extant Western-style building in Japan. The area to the left of that is Kozone (小曾根). The Japanese houses in the front are located in Naminohira (浪の平). On the fields in the right foreground, a modern school (Chintei Elementary School, 尋常鎮鼎小学校) would be built in 1887 (Meiji 20). Several Western residences can already be seen, soon more would follow and by the early 1890s all the fields seen on this image were gone.1
This detail shows the newly built Western style houses. The church-like building might be the French Catholic Mission which is recorded as located here in December 1871.2
On July 1, 1859 (Ansei 6), Nagasaki, together with Yokohama and Hakodate, was opened to foreign trade. In Nagasaki, foreign representatives and the local authorities decided that the mouth of the Oura river and the hillsides of Higashiyamate and Minamiyamate would be the best location for the new foreign settlement. While Oura would be the commercial district, the hillsides would function as residential areas.
Work to prepare the area for construction started in 1860 (Manen 1), and was completed in early 1862 (Bunkyu 2). By April, residents moved in. By the end of the 19th century, the settlement featured gracious Western-style buildings housing consulates, banks, companies, warehouses, hotels, shops and colonial-style villas with fantastic views of the bustling harbor.
Minamiyamate, often called “British Hill” because of the many British residents who lived here, was one of a total of six districts in Nagasaki’s foreign settlement. The other districts were Dejima (出島), Umegasaki (梅香崎), Oura (大浦), Oura-Sagarimatsu (大浦下り松) and Higashiyamate (東山手). Click on Nagasaki under Places in the right column to see more photos of Nagasaki.
1929 (Showa 4) Map of Nagasaki: 1. Nagasaki Harbor; 2. Oura Tenshudo (Catholic church); 3. Minamiyamate; 4. Naminohira; 5. Kotohira Shrine, also known as Konpira-san.
1 High-definition Image Database of Old Photographs of Japan, Minamiyamate and Oura. Retrieved on 2008-10-07.
2 Nagasaki Foreign Settlement Research Group, Minamiyamate District. Retrieved on 2008-10-07.