A Metal Dealer and Spy from Nagasaki in Manila

This article documents the career of Luis Melo, a baptized Japanese merchant in scrap metal and gun powder, who frequently appears in both Spanish and Japanese sources. Combining information from both sides, an unexpectedly clear picture emerges of a merchant-mariner of samurai background and multiple identities, who from 1605 served as an important channel of communication between Japan’s new strongman, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the Philippine authorities. Eventually, Luis Melo became Ieyasu’s most important informant on the Philippines.

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Type: PDF
Creator: Reinier H. Hesselink
Location: Phillipines
Continent: Asia
Keywords: trade, metal, spy