English summary of the inventory of the archives of the Dutch factory in Japan, 1609-1860

Fonds Specifications


Biographical History (Sketch of the Record Creator)

6. The journey to the Shogunal Court.
At their arrival in Japan the Dutch obtained the privilege to be received in audience by the Shogun every year. (This was never granted to the Chinese). On the occasion of the "hofreis" (journey to the (Shogunal) Court) the most important government authorities were honourd with gifts. The privilege became an onerous duty in the course of years, on account of the high expenditure and the burden-some journey, wich was relieved so far in 1790, that the journey only needed to be made every fourth year. The gifts, however, must be brought every year. When the Opperhoofd did not make the journey himself, these gifts were carried to Edo by a group of interpreters. In 1720 and 1783 no journey was made, because no ships arrivedfrom Batavia in the foregoing year and therefor no gifts could be made. The number of journeysfrom 1633 (the first year of wich a daily record of the factory is preserved) to 1850 amounts to 186. Until 1649 the scribe accompanied the Opperhoofd to the Edo Court; from that year on the surgeon of the factory always joined the travelling party. This was frequently consulted by the physiciansof the court. The small party of Dutchmen was accompanied by a host of Japanese officials, interpreters, servants, outriders, porters of the Opperhoofd's 'norimon' (palaquin), etc. The Opperhoofd had the rank and status of a daimyoduring the whole journey (indispensable for a person recieved in audience by the Shogun) and was treated as such on his way to the capital. The expedition took 12 to 13 weeks in all during the first half of the 17th century from the beginning of december till the beginning of march, after about 1660 from the middle of february till the end of may. A few days after the arrival in Edo the Shogun granted an audience, followed by a more informal meeting and several visits to members of the Bakufu. After a sojourn of 2 or 3 weeks the visitors set out on the journey back, supplied with the traditional present made in return: thirty silk kimono's ("Keyserlijcke rokken"); Imperial Gowns.The expedition went partly by land (Nagasaki - Strait of Shimonoseki; - Osaka - Edo), partly by sea (Strait of Shimonoseki - Osaka). The total distance covered was over 2000 k.m.