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The Company knew that an Englishman, William Adams, was living in Japan in great favour with its military dictator. It believed it could buy Chinese silk in Southeast Asia and resell it at a great profit in Japan for locally mined silver.

It didn’t work.

Enough silk was never available and the English Commander ignored Adams’ advice. The Japanese market was particularly driven by the whims of fashion and the English were unable to respond. The trading post in Hirado lasted 10 years, closing in 1623.

  painting   letter

Painting of the Kamigamo Shrine, one of the leading shrines in Kyoto. This is one of 50 paintings depicting famous sites of Japan, brought back by Engelbert Kaempfer
Sloane 5252, no.49
(click image to enlarge)

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Letter from Richard Cocks at Hirado to William Adams and Richard Wickham at Edo,
(click image to enlarge)

Further Information

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