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The Company and the ShogunThe Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan$
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Adam Clulow

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164283

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164283.001.0001

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Royal Letters from the Republic

Royal Letters from the Republic

(p.25) Chapter One Royal Letters from the Republic
The Company and the Shogun

Adam Clulow

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the role of the “king of Holland”—a fictive sovereign built around the Prince Maurits, the Stadhouder—in the story of the Dutch encounter with the Tokugawa Bakufu, by looking at what the Dutch East India Company representatives actually said (or wrote) and by assuming that such statements carried weight. When envoys explained that they came from the “king of Holland,” this was not an accident of translation or a kind of diplomatic garnish loosely sprinkled over something more substantial. Instead, as the Tokugawa records make clear, it provided both structure and logic to the first phase of negotiations between the company and the shogun, during a time when European attempts to establish diplomatic engagements in Asia proved complicated and inefficient.

Keywords:   king of Holland, Dutch East India Company, Tokugawa Bakufu, shogun, diplomatic engagements, Asia

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