Nagasaki is something of an outlier in Japanese history. While the country closed itself off from external influence between the 1630s and 1853, this western port remained partially exempt, a crack through which people, ideas and products could pass. Today, the city retains its cosmopolitan attitude and atmosphere.
Brian Burke-Gaffney’s study focuses on what he calls “the British century” in Nagasaki, when Japan opened up and the city became a focal point for adventurous foreigners, among whom Brits were prominent. The study moves both chronologically and thematically through the period, examining political, economic and social interactions between the immigrant communities and locals.