Camden's role in the rebuilding of Japan

Just over 150 years ago, 19 students were smuggled out of Japan - against government policy and using assumed names – from a quiet harbour in Kagoshima on the west coast of Japan, which was at the time officially isolated from the rest of the world.

They travelled to University College London, in what is now the London Borough of Camden, to see the industrial, economic, technological, social and governmental changes revolutionising Victorian Britain.

The students took back their learning and transformed and modernised Japan, establishing it as an Asian powerhouse. This little-known chapter of history was celebrated last summer with the signing of an official Friendship Agreement between Camden and Kagoshima and a visit to our borough by 15 Japanese students.

Exhibition at Pancras Square and Swiss Cottage libraries

Now, the story is being told for a wider audience in a fascinating and colourful new exhibition, ‘Camden and Kagoshima – Partners in the Making of Modern Japan’, at Pancras Square Library until Sunday 9 June and Swiss Cottage Library, from 12 to 26 June.

The Mayor of Camden, Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust, officially opened the free exhibition at Pancras Square Library with guests from Japan and Camden on Monday (20 May).


Mayor, Leader and Guests


You can visit the free exhibition during library opening hours: