Whereas the jesuits paid great attention to securing

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: inly suggests a seclusive intent. But, as we will see, this term was not coined until the early nineteenth century, when the West had begun to intrude once more upon Japan. Tokugawa leaders at that time seized upon the term as descriptive of what they believed had always been an immutable “closed country” policy that prohibited further expansion of relations with foreign countries, in particular those of the West. But at the time of its inception in the seventeenth century, the seclusion policy was probably intended more to establish a new international order in East Asia, with Japan at its center, than to seal the country off permanently from all but minimal ties with the outside world. Yet the fact remains that the seclusion policy did minimize foreign relations, especially with Europe. Of Europeans, only the Dutch were allowed to continue trading with Japan, and from 1640 on their activities were restricted to a small, artificial island in Nagasaki harbor called Deshima (or The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture 165 Dejima). During the Tokugawa period, there were usually seven or eight officials at the Dutch compound on this island. A Dutch contingent journeyed each year to Edo to meet with shogunate officials;2 otherwise the Dutch were almost entirely sealed off from contact with the Japanese except for the few who served as trading agents and interpreters. It has been held that the Japanese paid a tremendous price in progress by cutting themselves off from the West just as it was entering fully into its great age of technological and scientific advancements. No doubt this is in some measure true. Yet, we cannot simply assume that, in the absence of the Tokugawa seclusion policy, Japan would have moved steadily or smoothly into more intimate relations with the West. To the Westerners, Japan still lay at the farthest extremity of the known world; and quite possibly the Western trade of this age with Japan had already passed its zenith. Japan, moreover, was not alone in actin...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online