François Caron and his Beschryvinghe van Iappan – His Perception of the Japanese


  • Ben Maes



In his book; Beschryvinghe van Iappan, Caron analyses the Japanese state and society. Originally intended as a report for the Governor-General of Batavia, his work was very succinct. However, in spite of the nature of the report, which required Caron to provide objective information, he becomes more personal when writing about Japanese trade. As such, the present chapter investigates the basis of this apparent subjectivity how Caron depicted the Japanese and why. Consequently, the chapter focuses more deeply on the linkage between Caron’s vision of the Japanese ‘Other’ and how this was displayed in his work, especially in regards to the trading activities of the Japanese. Firstly, it is necessary to introduce Caron and his writing, since he and his book Beschryvinge van Japan are the main guidelines for this research. Therefore, the first section of this chapter zooms in on the context in which this book was written. Moreover, this section contains a short biography of Caron’s life and his book, as well as the publication history of his work. The second section investigates into more detail what the main trading aims of the Dutch were in Japan, and how these differed from those of the Japanese. It takes a closer look on the Dutch stance towards its competition in the Japanese Traffick (trade and, therefore, serves as a background to gain a better understanding what events on the national level could have potentially contributed to Caron’s perception of the Japanese.


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