Saturday 25 July 2020

Dejima-The Only Access To Japan For 220 Years

A Model of the Island within the museum grounds

Dejima means Exit Island


In 1543, the history of direct contacts between Japan and Europe began with the arrival of Portuguese merchants on Tanegashima, probably because of storms. Six years later the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier landed at Kagoshima.  Hirado was the first port used by the Portuguese traders but they moved in search of a better port. In 1570, a local Shogun, Omura Sumitada ( please call me Bartolomeu as I am Christain) converted to Catholicism and made a deal with the Portuguese to develop Nagasaki and it soon became an open port.  In 1580 Sumitada gave the jurisdiction of Nagasaki to the Jesuits, and the Portuguese obtained the apparent monopoly on the silk trade with China through Macau. Seems he may have had some financial interest, but only cynical supposition

Along came Shogun Iemitsu in 1634, and ordered the construction of the artificial island to house the Portuguese traders and to prevent Christianity from spreading. The same Shogun made many rules regarding Japan’s contact with the outside from 1633 to 1639 but an uprising (mostly converted Christians) resulted in the Shogun expelled the Portuguese in 1639.The Dutch East India Company had operated  a trading post on the island of Hirado, and they became the sole access to Japan trade  and operated for some 33 years. Without the Portuguese trade Nagasaki suffered economically and Dejima was a failed commercial operation and the Dutch were forced to move to Dejima. From 1641 only Dutch and Chinese ships were allowed to come to Japan and Nagasaki Harbour was the only port of entry.

 For two centuries and most of the Edo Period, Nagasaki became the only link with the world and only trading port in Japan. This was abolished in 1854 with the Treaty of Kanagawa, singed in Yokohama under some force and opening up the ports of Kakodate and Shimoda and the establishment of an American Consul in Japan (Thanks to Commodore Mathew C Perry and his fleet of four gunships). 

Sadly, this was the end of Dejima and what was open to the sea was reclaimed (as you can see today it is surrounded by buildings and no sight of the water.Today Dejima has been restored and is an intersting historical museum.Too bad it could not have been retained on the tip of the Nagasaki Peninsula, but there you go.

The Entrance

The island is quite small at 9,000 share meters

 Sugar warehouse

The bell was rung at Noon and when shipments arrived or were negotiated

Model of Dutch Sailing Vessel Friesland
Bronze gun dating back to 1640 (Amsterdam Anno) found in Nagasaki Harbor

Senior local Japanese managed the foreigners from these offices.
Decorations and old stone work

Dutch Housing
The Dejima Tree--mid 19th century from Java
There is a tram system in Nagasaki and we stayed at


It was on the tam line and in an interesting market and restaurant area.(Hamanmachi)

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