A page from volume 1 of the Ehon Azuma Asobi (Pleasures of the Eastern Capital), designed by Katsushika Hokusai (1760- 1849) and published in Edo in 1802
H. 19.8 cm x W. 15.1 cm
During the Tokugawa dynasty, not only the Japanese feudal lords (daimyô) but also the Dutch were obliged to travel annually to the court in Edo (Edo sanpu) in order to prove their loyalty to the shôgun and of course to present gifts. During their stay in Edo, the Dutch were accommodated in the “Nagasaki hotel” where the red-heads were gaped at during the day by inquisitive passers-by. After sunset, they were secretly visited by Japanese intellectuals and scientists who until late in the night availed themselves of the opportunity to expand their knowledge on western sciences. Scientists like von Siebold, who had taken part in the court journey in 1826, was among those who contributed a great deal to this knowledge of the Japanese.