Trade and Industry

Jardine Matheson and Company, and William Keswick William Jardine (1784-1843), the co-founder of Jardine Matheson and Company was born near Lochmaben.  William Keswick (1834-1912) was a descendant of William Jardine's sister and worked for Jardine Matheson.  His father, Thomas Keswick, lived in Annan. Jardine Matheson was the first foreign trading company in Japan after William Keswick established an office in Yokohama in 1859.  Further offices were set up in Kobe, Nagasaki and other ports, where the company operated a broad range of trades including tea, textiles, shipping, and railway construction. Many of the items in the 1935 exhibition of Chinese and Japanese art at Dumfries Museum were loaned by local families with connections to Jardine Matheson and the Keswicks.

Thomas Blake Glover

Thomas Blake Glover (1838-1911) was from Aberdeenshire and originally worked for Jardine Matheson in Nagasaki in 1859, but set up his own business in 1861.  Glover's influence in the industrialisation of Japan was notable in shipbuilding, brewery, and rail construction.  He also supplied guns to the Satsuma clan during the unrest that preceded Japan's re-opening to the West.  Glover was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun (Second Class) and he has been called 'The Scottish Samurai'.

Henry Dyer

Henry Dyer (1848-1918), from Lanarkshire, was responsible for great advancements in Scottish-Japanese relations.  In 1872 he was appointed as the first Principal and Professor of Engineering at the new Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo.  Coincidentally, the appointment was made, on behalf of Hirobumi Ito (the future Prime Minister), by Hugh Matheson, who worked for Jardine Matheson in Japan.

For his services to Japanese industry and education, Dyer received the Order of the Rising Sun (Third Class) from the Emperor.  When he returned to Glasgow in 1882 Dyer worked as an unofficial liaison for the Japanese Government.  His collection of books, art, and other Japanese objects were donated to Glasgow and Edinburgh City Libraries.

Iwakura Mission

In 1862, 150 years ago, the First Japanese Embassy sent a group of representatives to Europe.  In 1872 the Iwakura Mission, which set out to negotiate treaties and gather information to assist with the modernisation of Japan, was the first to arrive in Scotland.

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