Sakoku

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was the foreign relations policy of Japan under which no foreigner could enter nor could any Japanese leave the country on penalty of death. The policy was enacted by the Tokugawa shogunate under Tokugawa Iemitsu through a number of edicts and policies from 1633–39 and remained in effect until 1853 with the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and the opening of Japan. It was still illegal to leave Japan until the Meiji Restoration (1868).

The term Sakoku originates from the manuscript work written by Japanese astronomer Shizuki Tadao (志筑忠雄) in 1801. Shizuki invented the word while translating the works of the 17th century German traveller Engelbert Kaempfer concerning Japan. The term most commonly used contemporaneously to refer to the policy was .

Japan was not completely isolated under the sakoku policy. It was a system in which strict regulations were applied to commerce and foreign relations by the shogunate, and by certain feudal domains (han). The policy stated that the only European influence permitted was the Dutch factory at Dejima in Nagasaki. Trade with China was also handled at Nagasaki. Trade with Korea was limited to the Tsushima Domain (today part of Nagasaki Prefecture). Trade with the Ainu people was limited to the Matsumae Domain in Hokkaidō, and trade with the Ryūkyū Kingdom took place in Satsuma Domain (present-day Kagoshima Prefecture). Apart from these direct commercial contacts in peripheral provinces, trading...
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