The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan
The Dutch East India Company was a hybrid organization combining the characteristics of both corporation and state that attempted to thrust itself aggressively into an Asian political order in which it possessed no obvious place and was transformed in the process.
This study focuses on the company's clashes with Tokugawa Japan over diplomacy, violence, and sovereignty. In each encounter the Dutch were forced to retreat, compelled to abandon their claims to sovereign powers, and to refashion themselves again and again--from subjects of a fictive king to loyal vassals of the shogun, from aggressive pirates to meek merchants, and from insistent defenders of colonial sovereignty to legal subjects of the Tokugawa state. Within the confines of these conflicts, the terms of the relationship between the company and the shogun first took shape and were subsequently set into what would become their permanent form.
The first book to treat the Dutch East India Company in Japan as something more than just a commercial organization, The Company and the Shogun presents new perspective on one of the most important, long-lasting relationships to develop between an Asian state and a European overseas enterprise.
This is an excellent book. It makes a significant contribution to East Asian history, global history, and, I daresay, European history. It is based on a solid understanding of the relevant sources, Japanese and Western, and it is well written: polished, authoritative, and clear.
Tonio Andrade, Emory University
Grounded in alert readings of Dutch and Japanese sources, lucidly written, The Company and the Shogun shows how some 'contained conflicts' in the early 1600s constructed and reconstructed practices of sovereignty that limited Dutch power and shaped Japan's diplomatic tradition. It belongs in the library of anyone trying to understand Japan's succession of distinctive relations to the outside world from Nara to Abe.
John E. Wills Jr., University of Southern California
In this original and penetrating study, Adam Clulow brilliantly dissects the process through which Dutch merchants and their sponsors became subordinates rather than colonizers in Japan. The book masterfully weaves together storytelling and analysis while impressively mining both Dutch and Japanese sources. The result is not only the best available account of the Dutch East India Company in Japan but also an important contribution to the history of empire, piracy, law, and diplomacy in the early modern world. A remarkable achievement.
Lauren Benton, New York University
Clulow provides a superb study of the establishment of the relationship between the Dutch East India Company and the Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th and early 18th centuries... Well-researched and well-written... Highly recommended.
Not only a thoroughly researched political and economic history, but... a fascinating maritime adventure as well... Highly recommended.
Well-researched and tightly argued study.... Clulow's book makes a most valuable and welcome contribution to a fresh understanding of the history of the VOC and the European presence in Early Modern Asia.
This carefully documented analysis of difficult primary sources is unquestionably a contribution to the field and an important resource for better understanding early modern Japan, its foreign relationships, and the formative years of the joint-stock companies in Asia.
Clulow's book makes a most valuable and welcome contribution to a fresh understanding of the history of the VOC and the European presence in Early Modern Asia, as well as to the ongoing debate about the characteristics of the global "early modern."
Introduction: Taming the Dutch
1. Royal Letters from the Republic
2. The Lord of Batavia
3. The Shogun's Loyal Vassals
4. The Violent Sea
5. Power and Petition
6. Planting the Flag in Asia
7. Giving Up the Governor
Conclusion: The Dutch Experience in Japan