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Dutch Trading

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Dutch Trading

Postby Hatori » Wed 06.20.2007 12:15 am

Hello! I was just reading my lovely manga one night and it said that the Japanese a couple hundred years ago would only trade and have human interaction with the Dutch.
I was wondering if there was any specific reason why the Japanese shut themselves off in the world, I knew that before, but only decided to trade with the Dutch.

Thanks for reading! :D
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RE: Dutch Trading

Postby shiohigari » Wed 06.20.2007 3:16 am

From the 1630s to the middle of the nineteenth century (about 1865), Japan was practically closed to foreigners. Trade with the Portugese was well established. The only Westerners allowed to stay in Japan while engaging in trade were the Dutch. They had to submit to very strict regulations, however, and were only allowed to live on Deshima, a small artificial island in Nagasaki harbor.
During this time, Japan was closed to the outside world due to a national policy of isolation.

I studied this a few years back. I can't remember the reason why Japan ony traded with the Dutch. I don't have access to my books right now otherwise I could tell you more. If I have time later I'll look it up!
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RE: Dutch Trading

Postby katafei » Wed 06.20.2007 6:17 am

Here is what I learned about that period:
In those days the Japanese were afraid Christianity might gain too much influence and they were obviously very set on keeping their own identity. The Portuguese have always be fanatic catholics, and trading with them would also mean a much unwanted influx of missionary priests.
The Dutch however, were never that spiritual. Bringing home money and goods was far more interesting then spreading the Word, so to speak. Apparently this was profitable enough for the Japanese to allow us to stay.
Of course, we were banned to the little island Deshima, so even though that period has now entered Dutch history as very important ("We were the only ones to be in Japan and had soooo much influence") we only had access to a very small part of Japan :)

Some links:
Deshima
Dutch traders

Hope this helps
Last edited by katafei on Wed 06.20.2007 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Dutch Trading

Postby Hatori » Wed 06.20.2007 11:57 pm

Thanks for responding, shiohigari and katafei. :D
I just needed to know a little to just be happy. :P
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RE: Dutch Trading

Postby Kenitai » Wed 08.01.2007 3:33 pm

I think Katafei is right.

Also, there's a huge documentary about it, if you'd like to see it, it's here:
http://www.veoh.com/videos/v65162447nRctGk?searchId=7357490890453048025&rank=0

Japan's history, followed by the bad influences of they encountered, along with the Dutch presence, until The encouter with the Americans at the late 1800's.
Last edited by Kenitai on Wed 08.01.2007 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Dutch Trading

Postby UpHand » Wed 08.01.2007 3:54 pm

This may be an interesting also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_w ... tch_origin

All Japanese people always immediatly mention the word 'お転婆' to me, which apparently is derived from 'ontembaar' meaning 'untamable'
Igiari! Because there's a contradiction in every internet statement.
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RE: Dutch Trading

Postby Kenitai » Wed 08.01.2007 6:57 pm

Thanks for the link! I actually knew there were a few words from Dutch origin, but I didn't knew it was that many! XD
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Re: RE: Dutch Trading

Postby 8werner8 » Tue 05.05.2009 2:05 am

Kenitai wrote:Thanks for the link! I actually knew there were a few words from Dutch origin, but I didn't knew it was that many! XD

Ya, there are loads of them. I always thought these words were of German origin until I learned otherwise.
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Re: Dutch Trading

Postby Pascal » Tue 05.05.2009 5:09 am

えと、私は日本の歴史のクラスでこの科目を勉強したいします。でも、私はみなもとよしいえ(はちまんたろ)を勉強することになりました。私はこの歴史をてよりですね。いえやすとくがわは世界の地図をみました。この地図で日本は小さいです。沢山な国がありました。でも、西洋な国とキリシタンの伝道し着く後で、この国は植民地になりました。そのあと、日本は鎖国するになりますそうでした。

(Hopefully right) translation: Er, I studied a Japanese History Class where I wanted to study this. But, I was forced to study Minamoto Yoshiie (Hachimantaro) instead. I heard a story about this though. Ieyaso Tokugawa saw a map of the world. On the map, Japan was small. There were many other countries. But, after western countries arrived, these nations became colonies. After that, Japan went into sakoku, or so I've heard.

Other notes: Wow, that was rather complicated to write out... but I really felt a lot of cogs turning in my head. I wonder how bad it is O_O. Anyways, I had a rather hard time finding information about this and the Shimabara Rebellion back when I taking Japanese History at ASU. There were few reliable texts on the subject and all I could find were internet sources which varied greatly and were highly unreliable. It is a fascinating period of history so I wish there were more texts on the subject (does anyone know of any modern analysis of the subject that have been published?)

In the end, I think the Tokugawas closed Japan off to the outside world because they noticed a trend and didn't want to be part of that trend. The foreign missionaries also brought their culture with them and a religion which answered to Rome and not government that the Tokugawa family had fought so hard to produce. Furthermore, these missionaries and foreign powers might be apt to provide guns and weapons to other individuals vying for power if they agreed to more favorable terms with the westerners (Or perhaps something that could result in Japan becoming a colony of a western nation). By limiting trade to the Dutch on Deshima Island, the Tokugawas could avoid widespread distribution of arms (which could destabilize the government) and they could also stop the influx of foreign missionaries from orienting the loyalties of the people to Rome.

Also note, that towards this end, the government also set out to freeze all social order in the country so that one couldn't change professions or seek a status in the military... everything was frozen so that the Tokugawa Government could keep the country stable (and that was a pretty difficult task given the warring state position the nation was in before then). Even still a revolt occurred in the Shimabara province, but this was more the result of a regional famine to my knowledge and eventually rape of the village leader's daughter by a member of the army that was passing through (or so I've heard)... The revolt was seen as a Christian uprising, but there were actually other reasons for its origin as stated. It is noteworthy that the Dutch opened fire on rebellious citizens, although it is unknown how effective their firepower was. Overall though, even if it had little to do with Christianity in origin, the presence of certain Catholic Symbols probably spooked the government all the more that Rome was seeking to overthrow their power.

In the end, the Dutch's ties to protestantism and secular trade (along with perhaps a character nicknamed "Samurai Bill" that I've heard rumors about) may have had an impact in these events. Overall, I suppose everything I've said may be false as, like I've said, I found the sources to be a little iffy. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else has heard anything about this as well. At the same time, I've also heard that the United States told Japan that we'd open fire on them if they didn't trade with us during the 1800s. Is that actually true? If so, I must admit that I've never heard of a cruder, more rude form of diplomacy in my life!
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Re: Dutch Trading

Postby Dainanzen » Sun 08.23.2009 10:58 pm

It's not quite true that the Dutch were the only foreigners the Japanese had contact with during Sakoku. True, they expelled all other Europeans, but there was still trade with the Chinese - who also had a place for their own merchants at Nagasaki - and diplomatic/cultural relations with both the Chinese and the Koreans.
For anyone who really wants to know more, I suggest The making of modern Japan by Marius Jansen - the book goes from Nobunaga to the late 20th century, and some of the early chapters relativize this "completely isolated Japan" myth (which is really bogus from any but a very Eurocentric perspective).
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Re: Dutch Trading

Postby phreadom » Mon 08.24.2009 2:13 pm

Does this relate to something I learned recently... the nihonjin, naikokujin, gaikokujin differentiation?

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13428&start=0#p155575

http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Gaikokujin.html Seems to have a slightly more fleshed out article on this issue.

So it seems that it isn't really some "stupid westerners" Eurocentric perspective, but rather that Chinese and Koreans were considered part of the Empire, but not necessarily Japanese. So you had True Japanese, then those who were part of the Empire.. and then those who were "other". So while people who were part of the empire were not shut out, true foreigners were except for the Dutch. At least that's my very limited understanding.
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Re: Dutch Trading

Postby Dainanzen » Mon 08.24.2009 6:16 pm

Phreadom: Thanks for the links (Naikokujin was one of those terms I never bothered to look up...).

That said, those very same links left me with the impression that this naikokujin/gaikokujin distinction wasn't much used until Japan became an imperialist nation in the late Meiji period. Oh, it could have originated much earlier, with Hideyoshi's magalomaniacal attempts at continental invasion, but I just don't see the Tokugawa shoguns considering China a part of their empire. Even if they did, I can hardly imagine any Chinese trader would think likewise. :)

Relativizing Japanese isolation is not to say the Dutch weren't important - they were the single direct connection between Japan and the non-Confucian world zone; it's just that, well, there was some contact with closer countries, and I see no good reason to disregard it.

Anyway, I'm no expert on the topic - just making a few reasonable guesses. Take all this with a grain of salt. :wink:
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Re: Dutch Trading

Postby phreadom » Tue 08.25.2009 12:27 am

No, I think it's a good point, and one that I can see being seen as a bit Eurocentric. The weren't entirely isolated, just somewhat isolated from western influence, but still maintained trading relations etc with their nearer neighbors.

I'm sure I'll get around to reading more on the topic one of these days... maybe I'll do some Wikipedia mining on it. I'm not quite up for investing my time in a heavy book on the subject just yet. ;)
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Re: Dutch Trading

Postby keatonatron » Tue 08.25.2009 1:30 am

I also read The making of modern Japan, I'd recommend it. It's not really a "heavy book".
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Re: Dutch Trading

Postby Dainanzen » Tue 08.25.2009 1:57 am

keatonatron wrote:I also read The making of modern Japan, I'd recommend it. It's not really a "heavy book".


Truth be said, it is a heavy book, at least literally. Very pleasant reading, really, and full of interesting details, but it can take some time to finish it, especially if you're a slow reader like me. :lol:
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