With the reopening of the port to Westerners in the latter half of the 19th century, Nagasaki flowered as a prosperous and sophisticated international city. Suitable housing was required for the sudden influx of foreigners who made their homes here. Many of the comfortable stone and clapboard residencies that were built during this period survive today, preserved in the Glover Garden, overlooking Nagasaki harbor. The best-known European-style residence here is the Glover House. Built in 1863, it was the setting for Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly.
Born in Scotland, Thomas Glover came to Nagasaki in 1859 at the age of 21, when the ports were opened. In Nagasaki he established the Glover Trading Company. Glover was generous in his support of young people, and in the tumultuous final years of the Edo Shogunate, he secretly supported royalist revolutionaries and assisted in sending members of the Satsuma clan to study in Great Britain. After the Meiji Restoration, Glover was a business leader and made great contributions towards the introduction of modern technologies in Japan. Because of his brown eyes and red face, Glover earned the nickname ‘Red Demon’ from the workers of his in the coal mine. However, Glover was bold and warmhearted, and showed great affection for his employees. He was kind towards his family, and made a happy household together with his Japanese wife Tsuru. Glover lived a harmonious life in Japan until he passed away in 1911, at 73 years of age.
Thomas Glover, who was responsible for bringing the first steam locomotive to Japan, was an extraordinary British entrepreneur whose ventures included coal mining, a tea import house, ship repair yards, and the founding of a beer company, the forerunner of today’s Kirin Beer.
We took a stroll through the historic good old days at Glover Garden in Nagasaki, Japan. Take a look at some of the wonders that we discovered here in this beautiful, westernized city.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!