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The subject of this slim volume is “a series of events that are essential in understanding Japanese history” — events “totally unknown, incredible, and unpleasant to read.”

The nub of scholar Michio Kitahara’s revelation is that throughout the latter half of the 16th century and into the 17th, Portuguese traders sold Japanese as slaves overseas, so that “toward the end of the 16th century, a large number of Japanese were in several parts of Asia … They were found in the regions where Portugal was dominant as a colonial power, such as India, southeast Asia, and southern China, particularly in Macao, around the Strait of Malacca and in Goa, India.”

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