The year 1543 marked the beginning of a new global consciousness in Japan with the arrival of Portuguese merchants at Tanegashima Island. This history of Japan's first encounter with the West, augmented with maps and a beautiful blend of Portuguese and Japanese illustrations, details the consequences of the foreigners' introduction of the musket to Japan, which was to revolutionize both Japanese warfare and the nation's unification process, followed soon after by an influx of missionaries-thus ushering in the Christian century. Based on contemporary Japanese reports here translated and presented together with European reports, the text demonstrates the celebrated ability of the Japanese to absorb imported concepts and rapidly adapt them for use in a Japanese context. Special attention is given to the role of Tanegashima Island and to Mendes Pinto, who wrote a famous picaresque account of Japan. Also included are a glossary and index listing pertinent words and names with Chinese and Japanese script.
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Olaf G. Lidin, Professor Emeritus of Japanese Studies at the University of Copenhagen, is the author of The Life of Ogyu Sorai, a Tokugawa Confucian Philosopher, Ogya Sorai's Journey to Kai in 1706, and Ogyu Sorai's Discourse on Government.
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