Biography of Hans Brinckmann

Fresh out of high school, Hans Brinckmann joined the Far Eastern staff training program of Nationale Handelsbank, Amsterdam, in 1950. After completing the one-year residential course, he was assigned to the Singapore branch as a management trainee in July 1950. Five months later he was transferred to the bank’s Kobe branch in Japan.

For the next 24 years, he pursued his banking career in the Japan branches of the bank, appointed Sub-Manager of the Osaka branch (1956) and Tokyo Branch Manager (1961). After the bank’s takeover by Continental Bank of Chicago in 1964, Brinckmann continued as Tokyo Branch Manager, and in 1968 was appointed Area Executive.

In 1959 he married Toyoko Yoshida, a Japanese literature graduate.

In 1974 he resigned from banking and moved with his wife to the Buckinghamshire, U.K., to devote himself to writing and further study of Japanese language and culture at the School for Oriental and Asian Studies (London University).

Two years later economic necessity forced him to return to banking, and for the following 14 years he made a successful career in Curacao, Amsterdam and New York, before retiring from banking for good in 1988.

Since then Brinckmann has developed his career as writer, including fiction and non-fiction, poetry and journalism. He also lectures on mainly Japan-related subjects, and has repeatedly exhibited, together with his old friend Ysbrand Rogge, photographs taken in Japan between 1951 and 1974.

After leaving New York in 1988, he has lived successively in Amsterdam, London and Sydney. Since 2003 Brinckmann once again makes his home in Japan.


1962-1964: Councillor, Asiatic Society of Japan

1968-1969: President, Netherlands Society, Tokyo; Treasu­rer (and actor), Tokyo International Players, a theatre company

1971-1972: American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Chair­man, Direct Investment Committee

1973-1974: Japan-Netherlands Society, Vice Presi­dent. Co-Founder, Japan-Nether­lands Institute, a scho­larly insti­tute in Tokyo

1977-1979: Founding President, Offshore Bankers Association, Netherlands Antilles

1984-1988: President of a New York-based Dutch-American cultural and charitable organization now known as the Netherland-America Foundation.

1985-1986: Chairman, Institute of International Bankers, New York. 240 member banks


  • In the Eyes of the Son, a novel (Savant Publishers, in production. Due out early 2014.
  • The Tomb in the Kyoto Hills and other stories (Strategic, Texas, 2012)
  • The Undying Day (H2H Publishers/Trafford, 2011) A bi-lingual selection of Brinckmann's poetry written over the past half-century in seven countries. Hiromi Mizoguchi has rendered the poems into exquisite Japanese, shown side-by-side with the originals. "Brinckmann celebrates life's brimming energies." (Stephen Mansfield, Japan Times, 2011)
  • "SHOWA JAPAN: the Post-War Golden Age and its Troubled Legacy" (Tuttle Publishing, USA/Singapore, 2008). Japanese translation by Hiromi Mizoguchi. (Random House Kodansha, 2009)
  • "Noon Elusive and other stories", fiction (H2H Publishers, London, 2006)
  • "The Magatama Doodle – One man's affair with Japan, 1950-2004", a memoir and cultural/social commentary on Japan (Global Oriental, UK, 2005). Japanese translation by Hiromi Mizoguchi (Shinpusha,Tokyo, 2005)
  • "The Ballad of Hope Hill", a long poem, set to music by Pablo Escande, an Argentine composer, and performed in the Netherlands
  • Occasional free-lance writer on mainly Japanese subjects for De Volkskrant and NCR Handelsblad, Dutch news­papers, since 1990, and The Japan Times and The Mainichi Daily News since the early 1950s.


  • An exhibition, in August/September 2008, of 114 photographs taken in Japan between 1951 and 1974 by Brinckmann and Ysbrand Rogge at the main gallery of FujiFilm Square, Tokyo, under the title "Showa Japan, seen through Dutch eyes". The exhibition, which covered broad areas of Japanese social life, nature and the arts, attracted over 49,000 visitors during its 33-day run. Further exhibitions of this collection followed.


  • Officer in the Royal Order of Orange-Nassau (1986), for "cultural and business accomplishments in Japan and USA"