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Dejima Island – Man-made Island Where Foreigners Were Only Allowed Access To


If you visited Dejima Island in Nagasaki Prefecture 10 years ago, you most likely have not seen anything expect for a piece of land to specify where Dejima Island was. Now, however, Nagasaki Prefecture is restoring what once was the only door to Japan while it was in the period of isolation.

Dejima Island is a man-made island for foreigners to be stationed during their trade with Japan.

Although Dejima Island was originally constructed in 1636 for isolating Portuguese in hopes to stop the spreading of Christianity, the ruler eventually exiled all Portuguese from Japan; the Dutch who came to gain trust of Japanese then was given permission to live tentatively on this small island.

There as a period in time where Japan was the only place where the Dutch flag existed. No ships from Netherland came to Japan for several years because they merged with France in 1810; but Japan kept the flag of Netherland flying without knowing this until ships returned and the Kingdom of the Netherlands were founded in 1815.

The only Japanese allowed into Dejima Island was those working on the island and yujo, or Japanese courtesan. It was the golden rule that yujo were not permitted to leave their red-light district all cross Japan for fear of them running away, however, due to the nature of this place, yujo were escorted to Dejima. Furthermore, yujo were the only Japanese other than the translator granted admittance to the Capitan House, the building where the Captain of the ship stayed. It is said that yujo received many gifts from the Dutch who brought them back to mainland Nagasaki where they sold these foreign gifts despite the ruler’s effort to shut out foreign culture.

Because Nagasaki was the only place that foreigners were allowed access to Japan when the country was closed, you will be able to enjoy a unique, western-mixed Japan when visiting Dejima.

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