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Japan's Sakoku Period

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Japan's Sakoku period, the years when the country chose to isolate itself from the rest of the world.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Japan's Sakoku period, two centuries when the country deliberately isolated itself from the Western world. Sakoku began with a series of edicts in the 1630s which restricted the rights of Japanese to leave their country and expelled most of the Europeans living there. For the next two hundred years, Dutch traders were the only Westerners free to live in Japan. It was not until 1858 and the gunboat diplomacy of the American Commodore Matthew Perry that Japan's international isolation finally ended. Although historians used to think of Japan as completely isolated from external influence during this period, recent scholarship suggests that Japanese society was far less isolated from European ideas during this period than previously thought.


Richard Bowring
Emeritus Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge

Andrew Cobbing
Associate Professor of History at the University of Nottingham

Rebekah Clements
Research Fellow of Queens' College and Research Associate at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Thu 4 Apr 2013 21:30


Professor Richard Bowring at the University of Cambridge


Professor Andrew Cobbing at the University of Nottingham


Dr Rebekah Clements at the University of Cambridge


Sakoku - Wikipedia





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Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Producer Thomas Morris
Producer Victoria Brignell


  • Thu 4 Apr 2013 09:00
  • Thu 4 Apr 2013 21:30

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