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“The Company and the Shogun” is an absorbing book about the relationship between Dutch traders in Japan and the Tokugawa Shogunate during the 17th century. Rather than providing an overview of the period, author Adam Clulow focuses on a handful of flashpoints where the Dutch East India Co. (VOC) and the Shogunate came into conflict.

The general assumption about European expansion in Asia during the early modern period is that Europe, with its naval superiority and disregard for native sovereignty, came out on top. But Clulow argues that when the Dutch came to Japan, they were the ones who were forced to retreat.

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