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    Re: Mid XIX century Nav
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2005 Nov 20, 17:04 -0500

    >" Seems like the Dutch may have gotten to Japan before many
    > of the others did.
    The first Europeans who arrived in substantial quantities to Japan
    were the Portuguese. As I understand, they were (relatively) welcome
    (say, not too much resisted)
    and sent a lot of missionaries.
    As a result many Japanese were converted to Christianity.
    At some point, the Japanese decided that this was not good.
    They expelled the Portuguese, exterminated their own Christians,
    and prohibited ALL contacts with the West.
    They prohibited building ocean-going ships, prohibited Japanese
    to go abroad, and foreigners to land in Japan. They even managed to
    prohibit firearms! Apparently some firearm was manufactured in
    Japan in XVI century but later it was totally prohibited!
    Somewhat later, the Dutch obtained some very limited privileges.
    They were confined in certain places, and all non-autotised contacts with
    population were prohibited.
    Some limited number of selected Japanese were permitted to learn
    Dutch, but TEACING Japanese to Europeans was prohibited under
    death penalty. (And everyone obeyed).
    This was the state of affairs when Russians and Americans arrived
    in 1850-s. The trad with "Europeans"  was totally prohibited. The Russians
    were allowed to buy food from the Dutch but not from the Japanese.
    And after 1/2 year of negotiations they were not allowed to land.
    On my opinion, this example is unique.
    Goncharov (the Russian author whose book I am reading, and which
    prompted this discussion) remarks that
    "The Japanese did not know the story of Aztecs and Incas. But if they did,
    they would certainly be even firmer in enforcing these policies"
    I thank these "totalitarian" rulers of Japan for being able to learn
    about Japanese culture not only from archeology:-)

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