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An Account of Japan, 1609

In 1608, Roderigo de Vivero, soldier and administrator, set out from Acapulco to take up his post as interim Governor of the Philippines. On the way home, his ship was wrecked off the coast of Japan and he lost everything. While in the Philippines, he had been in communication with the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who now treated him as an honoured guest and informal ambassador. Trade, security for the expanding Christian population, mining technology and the problem of Dutch piracy were all discussed. When Vivero left Japan - in a ship built by the Englishman, Will Adams - he took with him the first Japanese trade delegation to the New World. Enormously impressed by Japan and the Japanese, he wrote an account of his stay and a series of 'recommendations' to the King, Philip III of Spain - who, of course, ignored them. This new translation aims to make accessible an account that is unusual for being written by a military man rather than one in Holy Orders, and for bringing an extraordinary number of different civilizations into contact.Short, introductory, pieces to the account itself provide fascinating background information on some of the lesser known aspects of the region and period, including piracy, trade and the introduction of firearms into Japan.
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