Oda Nobunaga is one of the better known Japanese leaders in the West because of his close ties with Christian missionaries. Around 1543 the Portuguese Mendez Pinto came to Japan as the first European and with him the Jesuit missionaries. Nobunaga who had a dislike towards Buddhism, welcomed the Christian missionaries. Impressed by the firearms of the Westerners, he embraced the European technology and swiftly implemented it for his own advantage.
Japanese History - Count Itagaki Taisuke (板垣 退助, 21 May 1837 – 16 July was a Japanese politician and leader of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement (自由民権運動 Jiyū Minken Undō), which evolved into Japan's first political party.