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Digital Subscriptions > History Scotland > History Scotland Sep -Oct 2019 > ALEXANDER CAMERON SIM Japan’s ‘Father of Modern Sport’

ALEXANDER CAMERON SIM Japan’s ‘Father of Modern Sport’

Dr Darren Swanson presents his research on an Aberdour businessman who forged a successful career in Japan, integrating into what was, at the time, a closed and secretive society
The winning Scottish team from the International Regatta between England, Germany and Scotland. Sim is seated on the right

While the life story of the ‘Scottish Samurai’, Thomas Blake Glover, has become well known throughout Scotland over the last 20 years, other lesser known Scottish contributors to Japan’s development have gone largely unnoticed. Most Scots are quick to raise a glass and declare ‘wha’s like us?’, but few realise that Scotland’s presence in Meiji Japan extended well beyond Glover’s modest infiuence. Japanese historian Olive Checkland, described 19th-century Scots in Japan as numerous to the point of being intriguingly conspicuous. Indeed, as the array of Scottish family names and birthplaces engraved on the tombstones of Japan’s foreign cemeteries reveal, far from being peripheral outliers, Scots were at the forefront of Japan’s modernisation. Whether it was the introduction of the latest engineering techniques (Richard Henry Brunton, Henry Dyer) or the transformation of the Japanese banking industry (Alexander Shand), one need not look hard to find the mark of Scottish modernity in Japan.

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About History Scotland

Don't miss Sep/Oct History Scotland and the launch of our Insider BONUS CONTENT! Highlights of this packed issue include: · The Sobieski Stuarts – new research on the remarkable brothers who popularised tartan and fooled a generation with their book Vestiarium Scoticum · New findings relating to the Traprain Law hoard – discovered in East Lothian 100 years ago this year · The Aberdeen Doctors – six men who dared to oppose the National Covenant · Lords of the Isles: a striking reconstruction of a medieval Islay power base * HISTORY SCOTLAND INSIDER: Exclusive interview, new video on the north east slavery legacy, exclusive discounts from heritage partners.​