5th Session Paper Presentations

Fourth TANAP Conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The fifth session on Tuesday afternoon was devoted to Cultural Encounters, World Views and the Exchange of Knowledge. Matsukata Fuyuko discussed the role of the Dutch reports on world news sent to the Japanese government until 1859.

Prof. Yao Keisuke, her commentator suggested that she should pay attention to three points: roles of the reports from Overseas Chinese in the Southeast Asia, relatively independent position of the Nagasaki-based officials from the shogunate, and Dutch "highly-developed" information network.

Matsukata replied that important issues for the shogunate were to prevent the influence of Catholicism and to counter the thread of Western imperialism. Therefore the reports from Chinese junks were probably of  less importance. She further explained the VOC?s news-delivering system.

Prof. F. Gaastra pointed out some of her misunderstandings, and Bhawan Ruangsilp and Dr. L. Wagenaar introduced parallel examples of demand for news from Europe by Siam's king and Kandy?s king.  Prof. Y. Shiba suggested that the Chinese translation of Western information could also have influenced Japanese intelligence.

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