Marcelo Japón, on the back-cover of ‘El Periodico de Catalunya’

Nuria Navarro, Journalist for ‘El Periodico de Catalunya’, has written and published a back-cover story on Marcelo Japón, a Mediterranean Samurai and CEO of HJAPÓN, on 15 September 2019.


This is a fascinating article focusing on the concept of ‘Mediterranean Samurai’ created by Marcelo Japón.

It also reflects on the publication written by the Roman historian Scipione Amati, who narrates his personal experiences with the members of the Keichō Embassy, from when they leave Madrid until they arrive in Rome, which becomes a first-hand documentary source

We share the experiences of Dr. Amati in our cultural section ‘Samurais Mediterráneos (Mediterranean Samurais)’.

Text about the interviews:

In 1614 22 Samurais, led by Hasekura Tsunenaga, arrived in Spain with the aim of entering into commercial relations with Felipe III. After the mission however, 6 of these Samurais remained in Coria del Rio (Seville). Today there are around 1380 descendants, all with the same surname, and one such individual is Marcelo Japón (Badalona, 1971), owner of a real-estate agency in Alella that resembles a Kyoto temple (some coming in to request for a table thinking it’s a restaurant!)

–Has this made you into a better person?
– I would say I’m on the right path. It’s about being careful of what you say and what you do. To do the right thing. I think I break discipline however at the dining table…I love to eat.

–Do you prefer sashimi or fried fish?
–If the raw product is good, then sashimi.

–A futon or visco-elastic mattress?
– The futon is very low, and I have vertebral protrusions.

–Do you also have a katana?
–  I dislike violence, but the Samurai used the katana to kill his ego. Since 2016, I practice aikido and kenjutsu, but with no ambition to reach the seventh dan.

–Then, there is a fusion?
– I am a ‘Mediterranean Samurai’. It is within this concept that I have invented where ancestral values play a large part, although with the chance to skip some of these from time to time.

– Is it a Samurai then, that runs this luxury real-estate agency?
–I founded the company in 2010 when the crisis had swept the sector and long before the current Japanese Emperor planted a cherry tree in Coria del Rio and Japanese culture became fashionable. Rather a bold move. Additionally, the word ‘Samurai’ means ‘one who serves’. In Japan, invoicing does not take precedence, rather good service.

–So what you’re trying to tell me is…
– We are governed by the ‘Bushido code’. Loyalty, honesty, honour, transparency … Not everyone is interested in transparency in the real-estate sector, do you get me?

–A dark business no?

–Apart from business, has the legacy brought more surprises?
– I took part in the movie ‘The footprints of the Samurai’, created by Juanma Suarez – nominated for 11 Goyas. Social media caught wind of the movie and I was contacted by a Sendai lady who runs an association to help the children affected by the 2011 tsunami. She asked me for my collaboration in a charity raffle, for which I sent across a Barcelona shirt signed by the players, and last year, my wife, daughters, and I went to visit her in Japan.

–Does your family understand your awakening?
– My wife is more ‘Samurai’ than I am. My daughters, of 14 and 12 years of age, were “presented” at birth in front of Hasekura’s statue in Coria del Rio, similar to Simba at Pride Rock. My children have grown up with this.

–Do you have a goal in your mind to complete?
– One of my challenges is to see that Barcelona is included in the ‘Hasekura route’. The Roman historian Scipión Amati, who accompanied the Embassy from Madrid to the Vatican, recorded that they spent the night in a Franciscan convent at the end of the Ramblas and that they visited Montserrat.


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