Jacques Specx (1585 – 22 July 1652) was a Dutch merchant, who founded the trade on Japan and Korea in 1609. Jacques Specx received the support of William Adams to obtain extensive trading rights from the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu on August 24, 1609, which allowed him to establish a trading factory in Hirado on September 20, 1609. He was the interim governor in Batavia between 1629 - 1632. There his daughter Saartje Specx was involved in a scandal. Back home in Holland Specx became an art-collector.
The Dutch, who, rather than "Nanban" were called "Komo" (lit. "Red Hair") by the Japanese, first arrived in Japan in 1600, on board the Liefde.
In 1605, two of the Liefde's crew were sent to Pattani by Tokugawa Ieyasu, to invite Dutch trade to Japan. The head of the Pattani Dutch trading post, Victor Sprinckel, refused on the ground that he was too busy dealing with Portuguese opposition in Southeast Asia.
1609 mission to Japan
Jacques Specx sailed on a fleet of eleven ships that left Texel in 1607 under the command of Pieter Willemsz Verhoeff. After arriving in Bantam two ships which were dispatched to establish the first official trade relations between the Netherlands and Japan.
The two ships Specx commanded were De Griffioen (the "Griffin", 19 cannons) and Roode Leeuw met Pijlen (the "Red lion with arrows", 400 tons, 26 cannons). The ships arrived in Japan on July 2, 1609
Among the crews were the Chief merchants Abraham van den Broeck and Nicolaas Puyck and the under-merchant Jaques Specx.
The exact composition of the delegation is uncertain; but it has been established that van den Broeck and Puyck traveled to the Shogunal Court, and Melchior van Santvoort acted as the mission's interpreter. Santevoort had arrived a few years earlier aboard the Dutch ship De Liefde. He had established himself as a merchant in Nagasaki.
The Shogun granted the Dutch the access to all ports in Japan, and confirmed this in an act of safe-conduct, stamped with his red seal. (Inv.nr.1a.).
In September 1609 the ship's Council decided to hire a house on Hirado island (west of the southern main island Kiushu). Jacques Specx became the first "Opperhoofd" (Chief) of the new Company's factory.
In 1610, Specx sent a ship to Korea.
* Christ in the storm on the lake Genesareth; by Rembrandt (1633) 160 x 127cm. In 1990 the painting was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and has not been recovered; it belonged to Jacques Specx in 1651