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Pacific Shoguns: Japan’s Attempt to Open the Pacific, 1600-1625

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Nanna K L Kaalund.

In 1616, a Japanese galleon glided into Acapulco. It was the third time a Japanese vessel had done so that decade, flummoxing Spanish officialdom in Manila, Mexico City, and Madrid. It turned out to be the last; the final act in Tokugawa Japan’s two-decade effort to puncture the Spanish monopoly on trans-Pacific commerce. The Spanish Empire rebuffed this effort, successfully defending its commercial and navigational prerogative. But the Japanese repaid in kind, and within a decade Spaniards were no longer permitted in Japan. In this talk, I explore how this little-known attempt at outreach helps redefine our idea of what constitutes diplomacy and how it deepens our understanding of the frictions inherent to early modern encounters.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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