- 史學雜誌 (ISSN:00182478)
- vol.118, no.2, pp.177-212, 2009-02-20
After the Dutch Factory was moved from Hirado to Deshima in 1641, there are three known cases in which its members brought women to Japan. In this article the author examines these cases in order to reconsider the popular notion that foreign women were banned from Japan during the Edo period. The first case dates from 1661, when the newly appointed governor and the Dutch residents of Fort Keelung, situated in the northern part of Formosa, evacuated with their families and servants when the island was attacked by Cheng Ch'engkung. There were about 30 women among them, and they were all permitted to land on Deshima without problems. They stayed until the departure of the ships bound for Batavia. Two babies were born and baptized during that time, and one couple was married. This case leads us to conclude that neither the Japanese nor the Dutch thought that foreign women were prohibited from coming to Japan. The second case involved Mrs. Jan Cock Blomhoff, who accompanied her husband, the newly appointed chief factor, to Japan in 1817 along with their son, nurse, and maids. The Governor of Nagasaki at first permitted them to come ashore, but after further consultation with higher ranking officials in Edo, he refused the women and the son permission to stay in Japan. Mrs. Blomhoff did not give up, however, and tried to petition herself, but was rejected, with governor confirming that the wives of Dutch and Chinese traders were prohibited from accompanying their husbands, due to the lack of a precedent. The third case relates to a Dutch clerk, De Villeneuve, who was accompanied by his wife in 1829. The Dutch Governor-General in Batavia had allowed him to take his wife, notwithstanding the prohibition of 1817. The Japanese authorities immediately refused her entry and ordered the chief factor to accurately inform his superiors about this prohibition once again. These three cases lead the author to conclude that foreign women were first banned from entering Japan in 1817, but that the Dutch did not adequately understand the prohibition until 1829 and argue the necessity to reconsider the process of issuance, transmission and implementation of orders concerning foreigners by Japanese authorities during the Edo period.