To secure their political authority and to preserve peace, the Tokugawa shoguns isolated Japan from the rest of the world in 1639. Christianity was banned.

Except for some Chinese and a small Dutch contingent, who lived closely supervised lives in Nagasaki harbour, all foreigners were expelled from Japan. Not only were Christian books barred but also any book, even a Chinese translation, dealing with any Western subject. The Japanese were forbidden on pain of death to leave their homeland. Vessels were restricted in size so that they could be used only in coastal trade and not in overseas commerce.

What about you?

Were the Japanese right?

I think, NO!


1. What was the reason for the Tokugawa shoguns’ isolation of Japan from the rest of the world?
2. Were all foreigners really expelled from Japan? Explain.
3. Why were Christianity and Christian books banned?
4. What happened to the Japanese who tried to leave the country?
5. Why were smaller ships made?

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