2 October 2013
A special event is being held at the Bodleian Library today (2 October) to mark the 400th anniversary of the first trade agreement between England and Japan.
The document, produced in 1613 following negotiations between Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and the East India Company, has been held at the Bodleian since the 1680s and is the only copy in existence.
Known as Shuinjo, it gave English ships trading privileges in Japan and allowed Englishmen to settle there.
Today's mini-symposium at the Bodleian features a series of talks on Shuinjo and the subject of international relations.
The manuscript will be on display to the public in the Entrance Hall of the Bodleian Library, Old Schools Quadrangle, until Sunday.
Ieyasu, the military leader on whom the main character in James Clavell's 1975 novel Shogun is based, made the trade agreement with John Saris, captain of the first English voyage to Japan on board the Clove.
The document has been translated as follows by Izumi Tytler, Bodleain Japanese Librarian:
Item: The ships that have now come to Japan from England for the first time will be allowed to trade in all goods without hindrance; they will be exempted from customs and other duties. Item: As for the goods aboard, they should be listed separately according to their use and the list should be submitted.