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October 21 , 2008

Japan and the Dutch 1600-1853


This is the history of Dutch influence on Japan during the so-called 'closed centuries' between 1640 and 1853. Dutch maritime traders provided the only commercial link which Japan maintained with the west, and were thus the sole channel for western ideas and knowledge to reach neo-Confucian society. Professor Goodman explains the circumstances of the Dutch themselves in Japan during the seventeenth century, and the historical and intellectual milieu within which 'Dutch studies' were nurtured. He traces the initial interest of the Shogun government in European astronomy and medicine, and the gradual development of interest in wider spheres of western knowledge and culture.

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