13 January 2004

Order Read to the Dutch at Edo Castle, 1677

For generations it has been ordered that the Dutch shall trade with Japan, and that every year they shall land at Nagasaki. As before we order that under no circumstances shall you be in contact with the Portuguese and their Christian sect. Should we hear from any country that you are on intimate terms with them, we will stop you coming to Japan. Consequently, you shall under no circumstances bring anything of their sect to Japan and, of course, you shall not carry any objects of the sect on your ships.

If you want to continue to cross the seas and trade with Japan, you must report anything you hear about the Christian sect. You must report to the Nagasaki magistrate if there is a new location where the Portuguese sect has entered and also anything you see or hear on your routes crossing the seas.

You must not capture any Chinese ships crossing over to Japan. If among the countries frequented by the Dutch there is one where you meet the Portuguese, you shall under no circumstances communicate with them. You must write down in detail the name and location of any country where you meet the Portuguese, and the Nagasaki magistrate must be informed annually by the kapitan when he arrives.

Addendum: The inhabitants of the Ryukyus are people that submit to Japan, and you shall not capture them regardless of where you come across them.

Empo 5 [1677], the year of the serpent, 2nd month, 25th day
SOURCE: Beatrice Bodart-Bailey, ed. and tr., Kaempfer's Japan: Tokugawa Culture Observed (U. Hawai‘i Press, 1999), p. 231.

Study question: Did the Dutch VOC [East India Company] compromise itself as much to maintain access to Tokugawa Japan as CNN did in Saddam's Iraq?

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