PHNOM PENH – The site of a Japanese village dating back to the 17th century has been found on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, a Japanese archaeologist said Wednesday.
Hiroshi Sugiyama, chief research fellow at Japan’s National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, said that based on research since 2004 and analyses of excavations and documents, the site in Ponhea Lueu Commune, about 25 km north of Phnom Penh, is a Japanese village dating back to the 17th century.
Based on on-site research, excavations and historical documents, Japanese came to Cambodia aboard ships between 1601 and 1635, he said.
“There were about 100 Japanese living in the village during that period of time, and most of them were engaged in religious affairs and trading,” Sugiyama said in a lecture on his findings at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center in the Royal University of Phnom Penh attended by about 100 Cambodians, many of them university students.
Sugiyama showed objects such as ceramics and kilns that were excavated from the site, as well as sketches of a “shuin-sen” (a Japanese ship licensed by the shogunate) 45 meters in length and 8.1 meters in width capable of carrying about 300 people.
He said that in the 17th century, some Japanese sailed to Southeast Asia to trade in wax, sugar, carpets, peacock feathers and jaguar skins.
A Japanese Embassy official said the mission plans to install a pole or mark for Japanese tourists to stop at during visits to the site.
Sathol Miura, head of the Cambodian branch of the Japanese travel agency APEX, predicted that once the Japanese village becomes known in Japan, more Japanese tourists will travel to Cambodia and visit the site.
Last year, 161,973 Japanese tourists visited the country, official statistics show.