Henricus Conradus Joannes Heusken
1832-1861. Interpreter from Amsterdam, Holland. Heusken arrived in Japan in 1856 as the interpreter and secretary to the American Consul General Townsend Harris. He was involved in the conclusion of the friendly trade agreement between Japan and the U.S. in 1858, and he also helped with the conclusion of the Japanese treaty with Britain and Prussia. In 1861, he was attacked and assassinated by antiforeigner masterless samurais on his way back to the American legation. He was five days short of turning 29. The Heusken Nihon Nikki (The Diary of Heusken in Japan) is a valuable document about the history of diplomacy during the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
- Association with Minato City
Stayed at the American legation and killed by assassins in Nakanohashi
Heusken played an active role in the complicated negotiations between Japan and the U.S. as Harris’s right?hand man, and when Harris became seriously ill, Heusken directly negotiated with the Shogunate’s committee as Harris’s deputy. Because he was fluent in English, French, German, and Japanese, as well as his native Dutch, he worked busily for the diplomatic groups of various nations, and it is said that he was popular for his cheery disposition. However, on the night of January 15, 1861, he was attacked by some antiforeigner samurais of the Satsuma clan near Nakanohashi in Furukawa on his way back from Akabane Setsugusho (now Iikura Park) on his way to Zenpuku Temple in Azabu, where the American legation was located. He received deep wounds to his abdomen and fell off his horse, and was taken to his temple lodging, but he died at midnight a day later.
His funeral was held amid danger of attack and was attended by the diplomats of various nations, and his remains were carried in a funeral procession from Zenpuku Temple to Korin Temple. Because burials were prohibited at Zenpuku Temple, the remains of Heusken, a Christian, were buried in Korin Temple, where burials were permitted.
Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (Japanese Biographical Dictionary) (Kodansha)
Minato-ku Shiseki Sanpo (Historical Walks of Minato City) (Motoaki Tawara / Gakuseisha)
Edo, Tokyo: Rekishi no Sanpomichi Volume 3 (Edo, Tokyo: Historical Walks Volume 3) (Machi to Kurashi-sha)
Minato-ku no Rekishi (The History of Minato City) (Meicho Shuppan)
Tomb of Heusken (Korin Temple, 4-11-25 Minami-Azabu)
Heusken no Nihon Nikki 1855-1861 (The Diary of Heusken in Japan) (Translated by Shiro Aoki / Iwanami Bunko)
Kaikoku no Shisha: Harris to Heusken (Envoys for Opening Japan to the World: Harris and Heusken) (Takashi Miyanaga / Yushodo Shuppan)
Heusken Nihon Nikki ni Deatte kara (After Encountering Heusken’s Diary in Japan) (Takashi Nishioka / Soshiete)