Dutch trade port of Dejima, Nagasaki.

During the ‘isolation period’ of Japan also known as the Edo Period a few nations were still allowed to trade in Japan. The Dutch, Koreans and Chinese were the only nations granted trade rights. The Dutch company ‘VOC’ were famous around the world and they set up a trade port in Nagasaki. Dejima was established as an island port with only one bridge in and out. The Dutch traders were the only people allowed to live on Dejima island. I believe there were about 20 Dutch living full time on Dejima at any one time. Japanese traders were allowed on Dejima to do business but had to leave once their business was done. Dejima was a little piece of Europe right on the doorstep of Japan. It was a very interesting arrangement that lasted for a few hundred years.

I visited Dejima during my summer holidays. I got off the tram and was kind expecting to see this old trade port sitting on the seaside as it once was, but I soon realised Dejima island is no longer an island. Reclaimed land has left Dejima at least 100m from the ocean, which I think is a shame. It would have really nice to see how this port really operated as is once did. Anyway it is what it is so let’s have a closer look at Dejima.


  1. Japan allowed to trade with a few nations in edo period. I have thought Tokugawa shognate traded with Dutch government instinctvely. I have not known the meaning of the Dutch was VOC. Thank you.


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