Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Newly Found Olive Jars in Japan
and Their Historical Significance


(Nagasaki Prefectural Government, Governor’s Office for World Heritage)

Key words:

Olive jar, Olive oil, Wine, Nanban screen, Black Ship, Christianity

The newly found olive jars in Japan were most likely manufactured in Spain or Portugal from the late 16th century to the 17th century, based on the earlier studies. According to the documents and “Nanban screen” depicting the arrival of nanban-jin (Portuguese and Spanish) in Japan, it is said that they were brought to Japan by “Black Ship” and used among Christians and so on. They were archaeologically proven to be traded between the East and the West, and more such olive jars are sure to be found. Furthermore, Nanban screens might have the possibility of use as historical sources; empirical study of painted items is expected in the future.