First European Description of Life in Japan // 1585 'Striking Contrasts' Luis Frois - Primary Source
Published on Sep 22, 2021
"Many of their customs are so distant, foreign, and far removed from our own that is difficult to believe that one can find such stark contrasts among us and people who are so civilized."
In 1543 Portuguese traders and missionaries landed in Japan and started the Nanban Trade Period. For half a century, these missionaries and traders interacted with the Japanese, up until the early sixteenth century and the beginning of the isolationist policies of the Edo period. Here we have missionary Luis Frois describing some of the differences he saw between Europeans and the totally foreign Japanese - on subjects ranging from hairstyles to abortion.
Taken from chapters 1, 2, 3 and 14 of the translation 'The First Europeans in Japan, 1585', translated, edited and annotated by Richard K Danford, Robin D Gill and Daniel T Reff and published by Routledge.
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