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Sakoku Edict of 1635

This Sakoku Edict of 1635 was a Japanese decree intended to eliminate foreign influence, enforced by strict government rules and regulations to impose these ideas. It was the third of a series issued by Tokugawa Iemitsu, shōgun of Japan from 1623 to 1651; the Edict of 1635 is considered a prime example of the Japanese desire for seclusion. The Edict of 1635 was written to the two commissioners of Nagasaki, a port city located in southwestern Japan. Before the issuing of the exclusion edicts in 1633, Japanese fascination with European culture brought trade of various goods and commercial success to the country. Items such as eyeglasses, clocks and artillery were in high demand in Japan, trade began to flourish between the Japanese and Europe. With the exchange of goods came the exchange of ideas as well. Christian missionaries, such as Francis Xavier, were among the first to travel to Japan to teach Catholicism. For a time, they were encouraged to enlighten the Japanese people, Oda Nobunaga, during his reign as military leader of Japan in the 1570s and 1580s, encouraged the conversion of the Japanese to Catholicism.

His hopes of competing with his Buddhist rivals led him to allow Catholic missionary activity in Japan. In Kyoto, Japan’s capital city, a large portion of the population had been converted to Christianity by the seventeenth century. Following Nobunaga was Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who ruled over Japan from 1582 to 1598. Anti-European attitudes began under Hideyoshi, whose suspicion of the Europeans first began with their intimidating appearance; the true motives of the Europeans came into question. Those who converted to Catholicism were questioned about their loyalty to Japan, in 1597, Hideyoshi ordered the crucifixion of nine Catholic missionaries and seventeen Japanese converts; this was only the start of the hostility towards European interaction. The key points of the Edict of 1635 included: The Japanese were to be kept within Japan’s own boundaries. Strict rules were set to prevent them from leaving the country. Anyone caught trying to leave the country, or anyone who managed to leave and returned from abroad, was to be executed.

Europeans who entered Japan illegally would face the death penalty too. Catholicism was forbidden; those found practicing the Christian faith were subject to investigation, anyone associated with Catholicism would be punished. To encourage the search for those who still followed Christianity, rewards were given to those who were willing to turn them in. Prevention of missionary activity was stressed by the edict. Trade restrictions and strict limitations on goods were set to limit the ports open to trade, the merchants who would be allowed to engage in trade. Relations with the Portuguese were cut off entirely. Trade was conducted with China through the semi-independent vassal kingdom of the Ryukyus, with Korea via the Tsushima Domain, with the Ainu people through the Matsumae Domain; as a way of enforcing the edict, investigation methods such as the anti-Christian inquisition were established to expose those still practicing Catholicism. The fumi-e ceremony was considered yet another way of detecting a Christian.

If any hesitation was visible, or any reluctance was detected, that individual was automatically suspect and subject to investigation. Monetary rewards were offered to anyone who had information regarding the violation of the edict. Anyone suspect of disregarding the decree would undergo a thorough investigation, punishment followed; the allowance of ships was regulated. Although trade was not cut off it was rare. To discourage those from embracing anything remotely related to Europe, the Tokugawa punished any offenders that happened to surface. Many were publicly tortured, faced the death penalty as a result of their practices. Following the precedence of this seclusion edict, others followed in its footsteps. One example is the edict detailing the Exclusion of the Portuguese in 1639; this isolationist policy would continue to thrive until 1854, over two hundred years when Commodore Perry from the Americas embraced Japan at the Convention of Kanagawa. Although the isolationist policy was not willingly given up, on July 29, 1858, Japan and the United States signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce known as the Harris Treaty.

The signing of this document opened numerous trade ports in areas such as Edo, Nagasaki and Yokohama along Japan’s coast

Bulmer, North Yorkshire

Bulmer is a village and civil parish in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 174, increasing to 202 at the census 2011; the village is about seven miles south-west of Malton. Bulmer was the seat of the ancient wapentake of the same name, known as the Bulford wapentake in 1086; the name Bulmer comes from "bull mere," a lake frequented by a bull. The manor is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, it is recorded as having been held in 1066 by a Ligulf. It was awarded by the King with hundreds of others to his half-brother Count Robert de Mortain, whose tenant was Nigel Fossard; the Bulmer family take their name from Bulmer. Ansketil de Bulmer is the first recorded member of the Bulmer family, who lived in the area in the twelfth century. By the nineteenth century the lordship of the manor had passed to the Earls of Carlisle, whose residence was at nearby Castle Howard. A monument to George William Frederick Howard can be found on top of Bulmer Hill just outside the village.

The village lies within the Malton UK Parliament constituency. It is within the Hovingham and Sheriff Hutton electoral division of North Yorkshire County Council, it is part of the Derwent ward of Ryedale District Council. The village is situated two miles west of the A64 and 6.13 miles south-west of Malton at an elevation of around 263 feet above sea level. The nearest settlements are Welburn 1.5 miles to the west. To the west of the village is Bulmer Beck that runs southwards to join the River Derwent. In the late nineteenth century the population was recorded as 231, which has decreased to 174 according to the 2001 UK Census. Of the total population, 143 were with 77 in full-time employment; the 2001 UK Census showed. Visually, the village has changed little during history; the village used to be home to a pub, blacksmith and agricultural engineering workshop. Primary education can be found in the nearby villages of Sheriff Hutton, Welburn and Thornton-le-Clay. Secondary Education can be found at Norton College.

Bulmer church, originating from around the 10th century, still remains and services are held once every Sunday. There is a church in the village, dedicated to a soldier saint and Bishop of Tours. There used to be a Methodist Chapel in the village, built around 1842. Media related to Bulmer, North Yorkshire at Wikimedia Commons