Students Studying in the Netherlands at the End of the Edo Period


This photograph of Japanese students in the Netherlands was taken in 1865. After the arrival in Japan of Commodore Mathew C. Perry and the opening of Japanese ports to international trade, the acquisition of Western science and technology became an urgent priority for Japan. The shogunate government drew up a plan to dispatch students to Western countries. The government initially planned to purchase its first warship from the United States and send its first students there, but the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War forced it to drop those plans. Instead, it decided to make requests to the Netherlands. Negotiations for the purchase of a warship and the dispatch of students were successful, and on April 11, 1862 the first group of students received orders to travel to Europe. The group included Enomoto Takeaki (also called Kamajiro), Sawa Tarōzaemon, Akamatsu Noriyoshi (Daizaburō), Uchida Masao (Kojiro), and Taguchi Shunpei from the Warship Navigation Institute. Tsuda Mamichi (Shin'ichirō) and Nishi Amane (Shusuke) from the Bureau for the Inspection of Barbarian Books were also included; as well as Ito Genpuku and Hayashi Kenkai, who were receiving medical training at Nagasaki; and seven other craftsmen who were technicians in casting, shipbuilding, and other trades. On July 14, they boarded the Kanrin-maru and left Edo (present-day Tokyo). In the Netherlands, the students studied naval technologies, the social sciences, medicine, and other subjects.

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1 photograph, 22.5 × 28.8 centimeters

Last updated: January 8, 2018