A Boston Merchant Trading for the Dutch in Japan in 1800

  • rhys richards


Fifty years before Commodore Perry forced the secluded Japanese to open the ports of Simoda and Hakodate to United States trade, several American merchant vessels visited Nagasaki in southern Japan around 1800 as ‘neutrals’ trading for the Dutch based in Batavia. New light has emerged on these voyages, including a ‘new’ account whose observations on the trade and on the Japanese pre-date those by the main Dutch writers. This article reviews those voyages, and provides a context for a previously unidentified account of Japan in 1800 by this unknown ‘Boston Merchant.’