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In 1543 Portuguese explorers reached Tanegashima Island, off southern Kyushu, followed over the next decade by Portuguese traders and Jesuit missionaries, headed by St Francis Xavier, who landed at Kagoshima in 1549. Many Kyushu daimyo adopted Christianity as a means of winning favor with the Portuguese traders without necessarily abandoning their Buddhist beliefs or Shinto practices.
Converted nine years earlier, daimyo Omura founded the port of Nagasaki as a center for Portuguese trade in 1571. The town was handed over to the Jesuits in 1579. By 1582, Christian converts were estimated at 150,000; by 1615 there were half a million throughout the country. (Through all the vagaries of persecution and war. Nagasaki has remained the major center of Japanese Christianity.)
Trade with the Portuguese -and the Dutch- launched a craze for tobacco, bread, potatoes, clocks, pantaloons, and eyeglasses, the latter very often worn as a chic symbol of intellectual superiority rather than as an aid for poor eyesight.
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Graphic showing average weather in Nagasaki in Celcius and Centimeters (Change to Farenheit and Inches)
|Month||Temp °C||Rainfall Cm||Temp °F||Rainfall Inches|
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