During the period of the Tokugawa shogunate’s seclusion policy from about 1630 onwards there was very little European interaction with the Japanese except through the restricted Dutch presence at Nagasaki. During this period, however, Russians exploring Siberia and the Russian Far East came into contact with Japan, and further exploration and information collecting was encouraged by the Russian government, culminating in the first official Russian Embassy to Japan in 1792. This book examines the Russian discourse on Japan in the period, tracing the gradual accumulation of knowledge, and the development of Russian views, sometimes distorted, about Japan. The book includes key historical documents, some translated into English for the first time. The book is a prequel to the author’s previous book, Russian Views of Japan, 1792–1913: An Anthology of Early Travel Writing.
Table of Contents
1. The Russian discovery of Japan 2. Cosmography of 1670 3. Milescu: description of Japan (1676) 4. Atlasov: reports from Jamchatka (1699) 5. Denbei: Denbei's report (1699) 6. Krisnits: account of Japan (1722) 7. Spanberg: report to the Admiralty College on his voyage to Japan (1738–1739) 8. Müller: voyages of Spanberg and Walton (1739) 9. Benyovszky: memoirs and travels (1771) 10. Riumin: memoir of the Benyovszky adventure (1771) 11. Tatarinov: Antipin's expedition (1779) 12. De Lesseps: travels in Machatka (1788) 13. Laxman: the first Russian embassy to Japan (1792)
David Wells is Manager, Collections, at Curtin University Library in Perth, Western Australia. He has published widely in information studies and on Russian literature and cultural history.