Anuncié el mes pasado que participaría en un simposio que organiza la World History Association y que se hará en marzo en la Universitat Pompeu Fabra, en Barcelona. Ya tengo la fecha concreta y el formato de mi participación. Como dije, el tema del simposio es «Port Cities in World History” y yo daré una pequeña conferencia titulada “Dejima island, the gateway between Japan and Europe in the 17th to 19th centuries”. Ésta formará parte de un panel de cuatro conferencias bajo el nombre genérico “Interaction and multiethnic communities in early modern Asian ports”, que me han invitado a moderar. Será el viernes 28 de marzo a las 09.00h. de la mañana. Os comparto el abstract de mi ponencia, para que veáis de qué tratará:

In 1638 the military government of Japan expelled the Portuguese from the country, after being there since 1543, one year earlier they had also expelled the Castilian, while the English had willingly left Japan in 1623. Thus ended nearly a century of contact between Europe and Japan, long monopolized by Iberian Jesuits, determined to bring Catholicism to Japan.

But contact was not broken completely, the Dutch were allowed to continue trading with Japan, but only in the small artificial island of Dejima, in the bay of the southern city of Nagasaki, a space they would have to share with the Chinese, the only other country which maintained contact with Japan during the more than two hundred years it remained relatively isolated by choice from the rest of the world. Dejima became an important trading place, but also a channel of communication of ideas and information between Europe and Japan, which even led to the creation of a discipline of study, Rangaku («Dutch studies»), which allowed the Japanese to follow the European technological and medical advances. In 1854, with the forced opening of the country, this unique communication channel was lost, and Japan re-discovered a whole world it had almost forgotten about, a whole world that had changed significantly since their last contact.