William Adams — a English ship pilot on a Dutch trading ship arrived in Japan in 1600. He was on death's door. The other four ships in his fleet had been destroyed by bad weather or attacked.
In 1600 there were few foreigners in Japan — just a handful of Jesuit priests. When Adams arrived these priests accused him of being a pirate. His ship was full of treasure the Dutch had intended to trade for silver on the west coast of South America. They recommended to the Shogun that Adams be summarily executed. Somehow Adams managed to talk his way out of it.
He became the Shogun's trusted advisor and was the first and only foreigner to become a samurai. He served the Shogun for the remainder of his life (he arrived in Japan at age 36 and died at age 55). His accomplishments during this stay are nothing short of amazing:
he helped Japan to build their first western warships
he convinced the Shogun to kick the Catholic missionaries out of Japan
he established trade ties between Japan and England
he became the Shogun's official interpreter
he helped established the Dutch East India Company in Japan
he married the daughter of an important Japanese family (he was already married in England and supported them financially all his life)
he went on numerous trade expeditions to Siam (Thailand) and Cochinchina (Vietnam)
Adams helped to open Japan to foreign trade. In doing so he made the Shogun vast profits. He was rewarded with titles, lands (a fiefdom) and income. He had a vast estate in Edo (present day Tokyo) that employed 80 servants.
Remarkably, Adams is still remembered in Japan. There's a festival in his honor in Itou, Shizuoka (The Anjin Matsuri). His hometown of Gillingham, England also holds an annual festival in his honor.
A Statue of Adams in Japan. His Samurai name was Miura Anjin.