Dutch missions to Edo

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The Dutch procession to the Shogun's court. A 17th-century European engraving depicting a Dutch tributary embassy to the Tokugawa's castle.

The Dutch East India Company missions to Edo were regular tribute missions to the court of the Tokugawa Shogun in Edo (modern Tokyo) to reassure the ties between the Bakufu and the Opperhoofd. The Opperhoofd of the Dutch factory in Dejima and his attendants were escorted by the Japanese to Edo where they presented exotic and elaborate gifts to the Shogun: clocks, telescopes, medicines, artillery and rare animals were usual gifts of the tribute missions.[1] The Shogun would correspond at the same time with gifts to the Dutch. The tribute system, as in China, served to enhance the idea of the Shogun's supremacy to his subjects. [2]

A 19th-century Japanese Ukiyo-e depicting a Dutch embassy. Due to their proximity to Edo, the Dutch were required to make more visits to the capital than a more distant vassal like Ryukyu.


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