First digital magazine on Japanese affairs



In 2009 the Netherlands and Japan celebrated their 400th anniversary of trade relations. The story goes that back in 1609 shogun Tokugawa Iesayu issued an official trade permit to the Netherlands. Although the Portugese were the first Westerners to show up in Japan back in the mid 16th century, they were more preoccupied with pushing religion than doing business and eventually left. They did leave words like ‘tempura’ behind that most people still think is Japanese.

(I can’t believe the introduction to Japan course I had to take to finish my university studies because it fit my schedule is actually of some use!)

Another huge link between the two countries is the Tokugawa shogunate’s desire to learn about all things Western, all while practicising a policy of isolation of Japan from the world. And so Japan developed ‘rangaku’ (‘Dutch Learning’, also meaning ‘Western learning’), with the Dutch as a unique source of information about medicine and science in general. History notes that the Japanese were pretty freaked out at seeing men with red hair for the first time.

And knowing that Japan is not only up to speed with the Western world, but can kick its backside any time it wants, business is still a major common point and apparently worthy of a new online magazine.

Download the first issue of the The Netherlands-Japan Review as a PDF for free. Articles are in Dutch and English.

(Link: Illustration by 17th century artist Yoshida Hambei)


  1. Darth Paul says:

    “And knowing that Japan … can kick its backside any time it wants”

    2 certain cities in Japan kinda turn that boast on its head.
    Beyond that, they have no nuclear arsenal, a severely restricted military, ongoing disputes with Russia and the Koreas, and minimal resources.

  2. Orangemaster says:

    Point taken. BUT they went from being a feudal society to a huge tech society faster than any other country in the world. That kind of determination and energy could be harnessed in the future.

    The US wouldn’t have a nuclear arsenal if they didn’t get their uranium from Canada. All we need to do is cut that off ;)

  3. Mark says:

    Interesting comment, sadly devoid of facts. Japan has an aging society, a long-stagnant economy and is facing a major crisis with the world’s largest auto company. To say they are able to kick the west’s backside sounds like a bit of self-loathing to me.

  4. Darth Paul says:

    There’s always Niger, Orangemaster!
    (I think I was more outraged by the Breitbart link than the actual article, though.)

  5. Alex says:

    “Beyond that, they have no nuclear arsenal”

    Well this is a bit misleading. Japan could have a nuclear bomb ready, if they chose to, very quickly:

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