Taming the Dutch
This introductory chapter describes an oft-neglected aspect of Japan's initial contact with the West. In particular, it focuses on the interaction between the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) and the Tokugawa regime. Although there had been a fairly short span of European dominance in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for a far longer period the dynamic was reversed. Because of this, when an earlier fleet of foreign warships appeared in Japanese harbors in the seventeenth century, it received a very different reception from that afforded to Perry. While the arrival of this first generation of black ships also triggered a process of socialization, it was one in which Europeans were forced to adapt in order to claim a place in a political order that they could do little to alter.
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