June 6, 2013 – Japan Mint has issued a new coin in their ‘Japan 47 Prefectures Coin Program’. The silver collector coin is dedicated to the Miyagi Prefecture and shows one of its most eminent historical figures, Date Masamune, a samurai lord who dispatched a delegation to Spain and to the Pope in the early seventeenth century.
Japan / 1,000 yen / silver / 40mm / 31.1g / Mintage: 100,000.
DATE Masamune (1567-1636) was a samurai lord, who governed the wide range of Tohoku (Northeast) Area in Japan, and later reigned as the first lord of the Sendai Domain, which mainly consisted of present-day Miyagi Prefecture, in the Edo period (1603-1868). His statue designed on the obverse is placed on the site of the main keep of Sendai Castle, which was built by him on a mountain known as a natural fortress.
Keicho Mission to Europe: Keicho Mission was a delegation which was dispatched by DATE Masamune to the King of Spain and the Pope in Rome, in search for the possibility of a direct trade with Mexico, in exchange for permitting Christian missions in his domain, in 1613. HASEKURA Tsunenaga, who had been chosen as the envoy, embarked and made the journey across the Pacific Ocean on the first Japanese-built Western-style sailing ship “San Juan Bautista”, accompanied by a missionary, Luis Sotelo. Finally, he was received in audience with the Spanish King Philip III and the Pope Paul V, and came back to Japan seven years later in 1620.
You can find more information on this coin and the coin program on the Japan Mint website.