OPTIONAL Week 14: Tokugawa Japan and the outside world

Suffering from burnout? Too many assignments? Feeling like it’s all getting too much without the vibe of being on campus? I get it! This week’s content is optional: come if you can, leave when you must, and don’t come if you prefer to spend this time on your assignments (including sprucing up your website or rewriting earlier reflections).

That said, it’s a week with fun and interesting content: a closer look at the encounters between Tokugawa Japanese and the Dutch, who were the only Westerners allowed to trade with Japan. They were stationed on a very small artificial peninsula in the bay of Nagasaki, and were not allowed off. You can get a good sense of life on Deshima (or Dejima) in the novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.


April 24 if you want feedback, final version May 4

PASSWORD ACCESS TO PDFs: Username and password can be found on the Canvas Homepage

Remember you can use the Pad for all your anonymous questions and concerns
Schedule: April 20-April 27
  • Monday (anytime before midnight): reflection on course materials from week 13: this is a chance to show how you have consolidated your knowledge of this topic. How have your ideas changed through repeated interactions with peers and the course materials during the past week? What connections do you see with other course materials? What are the big lessons you learned, to carry forward through the rest of the semester?
        • Post on your blog, under the category HST267
        • Include the words “Week 13” in the title of your post.
  • Tuesday: optional Zoom session 1pm: (pink link on Canvas Homepage): We can talk about the primary source analysis and help you get some more ideas, or talk about the response paper materials. (no recording)
  • Wednesday: (anytime before midnight) Below are two websites, randomly selected from the students in this course. Go to each website and give feedback on the reflection for week 12.
        • If one of the websites shown below is your own, or it is twice the same site, refresh the page, and you should get new sites; if the week 12 reflection is not there, find the reflection for a previous week on that student’s blog.
        • Use the hypothes.is add-on in your browser to give feedback to the post in the group HST267. Remember the Architect’s model of giving feedback! Be kind, be specific, and provide concrete suggestions for improvement.
        • Website 1:
        • Website 2:
  • Thursday: optional Zoom session 1pm: (pink link on Canvas Homepage): if you want to talk more about the course contents for this week. I’ll run it more like a book club: bring themes and ideas you want to talk about in a free-flowing conversation.
  • Friday April 24: before midnight submit your Primary Source Analysis 2 and Optional Response Paper if you want to get feedback.
        • If you have time and energy to help out: add yourself to the peer feedback list of volunteers (Google Sheet); check the box for Yes, and list how many you think you want to handle (“max 1” is fine).
  • Next week (= week 15, April 27-April 30)
Readings/course materials
  • Varley, pp. 220-226 (middle of page)
  • Ōtsuki Gentaku. “Misunderstandings about the Dutch.” In Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. 2: 1600 to 2000, Part One: 1600 to 1868, compiled by Wm. Th. de Bary, Carol Gluck, and Arthur E. Tiedemann, 302-309. Introduction to Asian Civilizations. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2001. (PDF)
        • Although Japan had traded with the Dutch, and before that other European nations, for more than 150 years at this point, few Japanese knew much about these “red haired” (kōmō) foreigners. Gentaku tackles some of the most common misunderstandings.
        • Where do you think these misconceptions come from? What strikes you as unusual issues the Japanese focus on?
  • Shiba Kōkan. “Discussing Western Painting.” In Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. 2: 1600 to 2000, Part One: 1600 to 1868, compiled by Wm. Th. de Bary, Carol Gluck, and Arthur E. Tiedemann, 310-313. Introduction to Asian Civilizations. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2001. (PDF)
        • Kōkan collected a lot of information about the Dutch, and Western sciences and technology.
        • Compare the text with the materials linked in this document (art works by Shiba Kōken): how does the influence of Western ideas and techniques of painting show in his work? How does Kōkan try to reconcile this with the Japanese traditions?
  • Encyclopedia post: Getz, Anders. “Rangaku”. URL http://hst267.tdh.bergbuilds.domains/encyclopedia/rangaku/
  • Slides (Gdrive link)
Victims of the pandemic: course materials that fell by the wayside:
  • Ukiyo-e (images of the floating world): Traditional Japanese woodblock prints. Exhibition curator: “Pick the exhibits” (Gdrive link)
  • Matsuo Bashō. “Narrow Road to the Deep North (oku no hosomichi).” In Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900, edited by Shirane, Haruo, 209-232. 2002. Translations from the Asian Classics. New York: Columbia University Press. (PDF)