Satoharu Nakamura
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Location: San Jose, CA
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Sophie Marie Nakamura's background

user image 2010-10-18
By: Bessie Hull
Posted in:
The first of my family to set foot in france were Nakamura Takurou and Okiku. This year, I am 20 years old. Getsube Okiku was born in 1617, in Japan. My ancestor Nakamura Takurou was born in 1605, also in Japan. They were promised to each other when Mother was born. In 1626, when it became clear that the Tokugawa shogun would not tolerate Christianity within Japan, Takurou asked the Getsube for the permission to bring his young fiancee with him when he fled with the Portuguese. They gave permission, as long as he brought a suitable number of attendants for her. A group of about 15 Japanese travelled, including the young couple, his parents and older sister, and servants, some from her family. They landed in Portugal, but decided they preferred the less severe culture of France.

In Japan, my family were kuge, nobility of high enough rank to serve the emperor directly. Naturally, Takurou did not expect to be given high rank immediately in a foriegn land, but we hope to earn a rank that fits with our high rank in Japan. Takurou started here in France with his family and household by first selling some of the exotic ceramic wares and the like, the kind Westerners pay such dear prices for from Dutch traders. The family bought some land near Sevre, and began a silk producing workshop since several of the female attendants had brought mulberry leaves and silkworms, as would any sericulturalist worth her salt.

Over the generations, the Nakamura silk business propered and made quite a fortune. Over time, the group of exiles naturally married French brides, though a main line that maintained the Nakamura name remained in charge of the business. In appearance, they became more and more hybridized, though still tending to black hair and brown eyes. Family traditions of naming were to give both a Japanese birth name and French baptismal name. My two names are Satoharu Nakamura and Sophie Marie Nakamura.

I was born in this country, and grew up speaking mainly French, though I learned some Japanese, mostly to appreciate poetry suitable for a young lady. My aunt manages the estate when Father is off at court or inspecting the silk production. There wasn't anyone for her to marry at her age. Grandfather died when I was a little girl, but Grandmother still lives in the family home. Auntie tends to her. As for me, Father would like me to marry a good man of higher rank than Baron, so that his line would attain a rank equitable to what was once had in Japan.

My mother was the sole heir of an impoverished Baron who wanted the large dowry that Father promised. In return, his title passed to Kazamitsu (brilliance of spirit) Nakamura, now Baron Nakamura.
Lord Myron de Verne
18 Oct 2010 12:05:53PM @lord-myron-de-verne:
KONNICHIWA, Satoharu!!!! and Bienvenue, Welcome to France and its Courts!Since it's a pity we can't go to japan (because the Tokugawa Shogunate bans occidental foreigners from your islands), it's a joy to have Japan coming to us, with such a charming person as you!(Though I may disagree on one point: when "your father wants you to marry a man of higher rank than Baron". Being a Baron myself, i think your father's opinion is not enough "enlightened", and he would need to dig deeper into "Frenchifying" himself ( LOL).Anyway, Welcome again!
Bessie Hull
18 Oct 2010 09:36:25PM @satoharu-nakamura:
It's a little questionable if I'll get to play Sophie as a noble of the court in Versailles. It's just not realistic enough. I know it's alternate history. What if a small group escaped Japan before the gates closed? This is about the closest to how it could have happened, short of someone smuggled out through Dejima Island (where the Dutch were allowed to live.) And if it was Dejima, the only women allowed in were prostitutes. I hope this new biography is approved, since I wouldn't want to play a commoner.Oh, and it's only Baron Nakamura who only wants someone of higher rank. Sophie just mostly wants to be married. period.