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Foreigners and Disease

Foreign traders were often blamed for introducing new diseases to Japan. A number of prints depicting foreigners, their ships, and the foreign communities in the port cities of Nagasaki, and later, Yokohama, are included in the collection. Anxiety about the malign influence of foreigners was among the factors leading the seventeenth-century Tokugawa shoguns to isolate Japan through policies sharply restricting contact with the outside world. Cholera does seem to have arrived in Japan via ships landing in Nagasaki, so these fears were not altogether unfounded.

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