Episode 388 – The First of Us

We’re trapped in a loop this week as Isaac talks about another Isaac: specifically, Isaac Titsingh, a member of the Dutch trade station at Nagasaki and one of the famous European interpreters of Japanese history and culture to the West.


Screech, Timon. Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822.

Titsingh, Isaac. Illustrations of Japan.


A Japanese acupuncture dummy that Titsingh brought back to the West with him.
The Dutch mission to the court of the Qianlong Emperor in 1795. Titsingh is on the far left.
Illustrations from the text of a Japanese wedding ceremony.
Frontispiece of the 1822 English edition of Titsingh’s Illustrations of Japan.
An image of Dejima in Nagasaki. The two Dutch ships visible in the harbor are representative of the annual missions sent by the VOC.


1 thought on “Episode 388 – The First of Us”

  1. Was copper really the only thing the Dutch cared about coming from Japan? Was there no art? I know Japan is resource poor, which is their usual justification for colonialism, but they really had nothing else for the Dutch? No pigments? What about the sugar trade in Kagoshima?

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