Animals for the Court
Foreigners in Yokohama
Books and Links
The Island Deshima
From 1641 to the 1850s, the Dutch were the only Westerners allowed to stay in Japan and engage in trade. They were confined to Deshima, a small artificial island in Nagasaki harbor. Japanese traders, interpreters and courtesans visited them there.
The Dutchmen's strange faces, clothes, habits, and Western inventions such as pocket watches and telescopes intrigued the Japanese. As Japanese artists were not allowed to simply visit the Dutch on Deshima and make sketches, they had to rely on brief glimpses, descriptions from people who had really seen the Dutchmen, works of colleagues and scarce examples of Western prints.
The Chief and his family
Head of the Dutch delegation was the Chief, ordinarily appointed for one year. Chief Jan Cock Blomhoff caused a stir in 1817, when he appeared on Deshima accompanied by his son Johannes, his wife Titia, and two female servants. They were the first Western women to be seen in Japan.
The King of Holland
King William III of Holland donated a steamship to Japan in 1855 to help the country build up its naval defenses. The gift was highly appreciated - but the caricature of the King below is not very flattering.