Titia Bergsma

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Blomhoff, his wife Titia and son Jantje

Titia Bergsma (Leeuwarden, February 13, 1786 – The Hague, April 2, 1821) was a Dutch woman who visited Dejima, Japan in August 1817 with her husband, Jan Cock Blomhoff.

Under the Tokugawa shogunate's sakoku policy Japan was extremely secluded. Only the Dutch and Chinese were allowed to visit the country, but for trade, and no women. The governor of Nagasaki allowed Titia to enter the island. Five weeks later when the shogun Tokugawa Ienari came to know, he ordered that Titia and the wetnurse Petronella Muns had to leave. In December the women went back to Batavia and Holland and Titia never saw her husband again.

In the meanwhile, Japanese painters and sculptors had made 500 images of Titia Bergsma. Her images had such popularity in Japan that they outsold all other prints in 19th century Japan. Images can be found all over Japan. There are companies which specialise entirely in Titia Bergsma images. It is said her face can be seen on four million pieces of Japanese porcelain.

A Japanese anime has been made on the life of Titia.[citation needed]

Sources[edit]

  • R.P. Bersma, Titia. The first western woman in Japan (Amsterdam 2002)

External links[edit]