Memorials of the Empire of Japan: In the XVI and XVII Centuries

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The publications of the Hakluyt Society (founded in 1846) made available edited (and sometimes translated) early accounts of exploration. The first series, which ran from 1847 to 1899, consists of 100 books containing published or previously unpublished works by authors from Christopher Columbus to Sir Francis Drake, and covering voyages to the New World, to China and Japan, to Russia and to Africa and India. Volume 8 (1850) consists of documents relating to the earliest European experience of Japan, including a description of the country, its rulers and political system, and some letters from William Adams (1564-1620), possibly the first Englishman to reach that country. Adams became an advisor to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and played a crucial role in the establishment of the first Western trading posts in Japan. The book contains an introduction and explanatory notes.