Japanese demands > The Demands

The lion’s share of the goods demanded were textiles from India, China and Europe, followed by spices, books, instruments and curiosities. The gifts also included various animals: birds, dogs, camels, a cassowary, cockatoos, a civet, an ostrich and horses. Sometimes the Dutch were hard put to fulfil the Shogun’s wishes: on one occasion they were required to deliver cases full of glass eyes. Even more difficult to comply with was the request for a bird of paradise. Birds of paradise are a rare species, living in remote places, about which many fantastic stories circulated but little was known at the time. At first, the Dutch contemplated offering a peacock as a bird of paradise, but they ended by presenting a cassowary.

The goods were usually described in detail. Drawings or samples were often included in order to clarify a particular demand and to avoid misunderstandings. That is why we come across drawings of timepieces, telescopes, doves, dogs and horses, and also cloth samples, threads of wool and small pieces of wood.

Read more about:
the Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (United East India Company)
the V.O.C. in Japan
journey to the Court

Examples from this collection Japanese demands

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