The Arrival of Europe in Japan

by Olof G. Lidin

322 pp., illustrations & maps
NIAS Monographs # 90
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 2002, Available
ISBN 978 87 91114 10 6, £42.00
Paperback - 2002, Available
ISBN 978 87 91114 12 0, £16.99

• First study of the arrival of the West in Japan that takes into account all available sources (esp. Japanese and Portuguese).
• A fascinating story written in a highly accessible manner and of interest to the general reader as well as scholars.
• The author is a widely respected writer on the history, religion, philosophy and culture of Japan.

The year 1543 marked the beginning of a new global consciousness in Japan with the arrival of shipwrecked Portuguese merchants on Tanegashima Island in southern Japan. Other Portuguese rapidly followed and Japan became aware of a world beyond India. The Portuguese brought with them the musket, which was quickly copied and began to change Japanese warfare and influence their unification process. After the merchants had opened the way, the first missionary, Francis Xavier, arrived in 1549 and the Christian century began.

This is not a new story but it is the first time that Japanese, Portuguese and other European accounts have been brought together and presented in English. The arrival of the Portuguese was recorded by the Japanese in the Tanegashima Kafu, the Teppoki and the Kunitomo teppoki which are here translated and presented together with European reports. Special attention is given to the role of Tanegashima Island and of Mendes Pinto, author of a famous picaresque account of Japan. An index lists pertinent words and names in roman and Chinese or Japanese script.

This story of Japan’s first encounter with the West – augmented with maps and a beautiful blending of Portuguese and Japanese illustrations – will be of interest to a wide audience.

Press news

  • Aug. 9 2019
    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

Latest catalogue

See our latest catalogue of new books or click here to get information about the catalogue and how to get notification when a book is published.