Engelbert Kaempfer
The History of Japan
Reprint published in 1906


Kaempfer, Engelbert
Scheuchzer, J.G. (Translator):
The History of Japan. Together with a Description of the Kingdom of Siam 1690-1692 by Engelbert Kaempfer, M. D. Physician to the Dutch Embassy to the Emperor's Court and translated by J. G. Scheuchzer, F. R. S., Glasgow, James MacLehose and Sons, 3 Volumes, 8vo (8 3/4 x 6 in  - nbsp;22.5 x 15 cm), limited edition (1000 ccy), 337pp, 397pp and 386pp, with numerous illustrations and maps (162 - 16 of which are foldout). Foldout illustrations are maps (6) and facsimiles of documents (10). The map at the end of Volume III (The Empire of Japan) is the largest foldout illustration. It is 5 folds out and 1 fold down and is approximately 22 x 13 3/4 in (56 x 35 cm). Top edge trimmed and gilted. Side and bottom edges are untrimmed. Volume 1 has a frontispiece portrait of Hans Sloane from a photogravure. The original binding is red cloth boards with a gilt chrysanthemum embossed on the front cover and spine and gilt titles/lettering on the spine. This reprint was limited to one thousand (1,000) sets, one hundred (100) copies of which were on hand-made paper (per note on back of the Short Title Page in Volume I). The comment regarding quantities (printed and on hand-made paper) is not found in all copies of Volume I. The pages have information printed in the margin which includes a yearly chronology (at the top of each page) and key words from the adjacent text.

German physician and traveller, Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716) spent ten years, 1683-1693, traveling through Persia and Southeast Asia, including two+ years in Japan, 1690-92. Residing in Nagasaki where he arrived in September, 1690 and departed in November, 1692. He made two three-month trips to Edo (Tokyo) and had audiences with Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. His illustrated accounts of his travels and observations are the most detailed Western descriptions of 17th century Japan, and his trips within Japan were the basis of the most accurate Western maps of the interior for the next 150 years.

Kaempfer wrote this monumental work in his native language, German. It was first published in English in a translation from the author's manuscript in Sir Hans Sloane's collection (The History of Japan, London, 1727, 2 volumes). Kaempfer's work on Japan was first translated into English by J.G. Scheuchzer. Johann G. Scheuchzer, was a Swiss scholar and librarian to Sir Hans Sloane. Some copies of the 1727 publication contained an 1728 appendix entitled "Being Part of an Authentick Journal of a Voyage to Japan, made by the English in the year 1673?". This appendix deals with an abortive attempt by the British to revive trade with Japan. In 1857 a one volume English language book (107 pp) was published containing Scheuchzer's translations of Kaempfer's work. Obviously that was an abbreviated version of the work.

This 1906 reprint edition is the complete 1727 work and 1728 appendix. The "Publishers' Note" states:

Since its original publication in 1727 'The History of Japan' has not hitherto been reprinted in full. The maps and illustrations in the original edition were engraved as folio sheets and bound in at the end of each volume: in this edition they have, for greater convenience, been placed in their proper positions through the text; obvious printer's errors of spelling and punctuation have been corrected, but Kaempfer's spelling of Japanese names has been retained.

Example of text pages with margin notations and text illustrations.


Table of Contents -- Volumes 1~3

Volume 1.

Publishers' Note, xiii
Biographical Note on the Scheuchzer Family by Sir Archibald Geikie, xv
The Dedication, xxi
The Names of the Subscribers to the Original Edition, xxiii
The Author's Preface, xxix
The Life of the Author, by the Translator, xxxv
An Introduction by the Translator, xlvii

The History of Japan


I. Journal of the author's voyage from Batavia to Siam, with an account of what happen'd during his Stay there, 1
II. The present State of the Court of Siam, with a description of Juthia, the Capital City and Place of the King's Residence, 30
III. The Author's departure from Juthia, down the River Meinam to the harbour, and from thence to Japan, 73
IV. Of the Empire of Japan in general, as to its situation and the largeness of its several Islands, 98
V. The Division and Sub-division of the Empire of Japan into its several Provinces; as also of its Revenue and Government, 114
VI. The Author's opinion of the true Origin and Descent of the Japanese, 131
VII. Of the Origin of the Japanese, according to their own fabulous Opinion, 152
VIII. Of the Climate of Japan, and its Produce as to Minerals and Metals, 160
IX. Of the Fertility of the Country as to Plants, 176
X. Of the plenty of the Country as to Beasts, Birds, Reptiles and Insects, 190
XI. Of Fish and Shells, 213


I. Names of the Gods, Demi-Gods and Emperors, who are mention'd in the Japanese Histories, as the first Monarchs and Governors of that Empire, 251
II. Of the Ecclesiastical Hereditary Emperors of Japan in general, of their Succession, Residence and Court; as also of the Chronology of the Japanese, 259
III. Of the Ecclesiastical Hereditary Emperors in particular, and first of those, who govern'd from the beginning of the Japanese Monarchy, till our Saviour's nativity, 273
IV. Of the Ecclesiastical Hereditary Emperors, who liv'd and govern'd with an unlimited Authority, from the Birth of our Saviour to Joritomo, the first Secular Monarch, 281
V. Of the Ecclesiastical Hereditary Emperors, who liv'd after Joritomo to the present time, 309
VI. Of the Crown-Generals and Secular Monarchs of Japan,from Joritomo to the Emperor Tsinajos now reigning, 334

Volume 2.


I. Of the Religions of this Empire in general, and of the SINTOS Religion in particular, I
II. Of the SINTOS TEMPLES, belief and worship, 8
III. Of the SINTOS REEI, that is, their fortunate and Holidays, and the Celebration thereof, 19
IV. Of the SANGA, or Pilgrimage to ISJE, 33
V. Of the JAMMABOS,or Mountain-Priests, and other Religious Orders, 43
VI. Of the BUDSDO, or Foreign Pagan. Worship, and its Founder, 56
VII. Of the SIUTO, that is, the Doctrine and Way of Life of their Moralists and Philosophers, 67


I. Of the Situation of the City of Nagasaki, and its Harbour; as also of its publick and private Buildings, 73
II. Of the Government of Nagasaki, 91
III. Of the Policy, or Regulation of the Streets of NAGASAKI; as also of the Government of the adjacent Country, 109
IV. Of the Temples and Clergy of this City, 130
V. Of the arrival and reception of the Portuguese and Castilians in Japan; of their Trade, and how they were banish'd the Empire, 152
VI. Of the Dutch Trade in Japan in general, 170
VII. Of the Dutch Trade in Japan in particular, and first of the several Corporations establish'd for this purpose, 198
VIII. Some more Particulars concerning the Dutch Trade in Japan, 209
IX. Of the way of Life, Trade, and Privileges of the Chinese in Japan, 248
X. Some Proclamations, Pasports, Orders, etc., mention'd in the foregoing Chapters, 259


I. Preparations for our Journey, with a Description of the manner of travelling in this country, 275
II. A general Description of the Way by Water and Land, from Nagasaki to Jedo, the Emperor's Residence, 290
III. A general Description of the several Edifices and Buildings, publick and private, we met along the Road, 299
IV. Of the Post-houses, Inns, Eating-houses, and Tea-booths, 316
V. Of the great Numbers of people, who daily travel on the Roads, 330
VI. Of our Journey to the Emperor's Court in general, and how we were accommodated on the road, 347
VII. Our Journey by Land from Nagasaki to Kokura, 362
VIII. Our voyage from Kokura to Osacca, 379

Volume 3.


IX. Our journey from Osacca to Miaco, the residence of the Ecclesiastical Hereditary Emperors, with a description of both these cities, I
X. Our journey from Miaco to Fammamatz, being half way to Jedo, 25
XI. Our journey from Fammamatz to Jedo, the place of the Emperor's residence 46
XII. A description of the city of Jedo, its castle and palace, with an account of what happen'd during our stay there, our audience and departure, 73
XIII. Of our return from Jedo to Nagasaki, and what happen'd there, 101
XIV. Our second journey to court, 146
XV. Our second journey from Jedo to Nagasaki, 181


I. The Natural History of the Japanese Tea; with an accurate description of that Plant, its culture, growth, preparation and uses, 215
II. Of the Paper Manufactures of the Japanese, 249
III. Of the cure of the Cholick by the Acupunctura, or Needle-pricking, as it is us'd by the Japanese, 263
IV. An Account of the Moxa, an excellent Caustic of the Chinese and Japanese; with a Scheme shewing, what parts of the human body are to be burnt with that plant in several distempers, 272
V. Some observations concerning Ambergreese, 292
VI. An Enquiry, whether it be conducive for the good of the Japanese Empire, to keep it shut up, as it now is, and not to suffer its Inhabitants to have any commerce with foreign nations, either at home or abroad, 301
The Second Appendix to the History of Japan, being part of an authentick Journal of a voyage to Japan, made by the English in the year 1673, 337


Volume 1

Sir Hans Sloane, From the Portrait by Stephen Slaughter in the National Portrait Gallery. Frontispiece 1. Facsimile of the Engraved Title Page, lii 2. Facsimile of the Printed Title Page, lxviii 3. A Curious Star-fish with nine rays, 13 4. A Prow or boat such as the Siamites use at their funerals, 23 5. A Prow or boat such as the Siamites use at their funerals, 25 6. The Boat on board which were carried the letters for the King, 27 7. The plan of Juthia, the capital of Siam, 43 8. The plan of the Royal Palace of Siam, 45 9. An inhabited Boat of the Siamites, 50 10. An inhabited Boat of the Siamites, 51 11. An inhabited Boat of the Siamites, 53 12. A view of the river Meinam, 54 13. The Pyramid Pukathon near Juthia, 54 14. A view of the two Courts of Berklam's Temple, 56 (57) 14 A large Idol a stone held very sacred by the Siamites. Monstrous Idols , 56 (57) 15. A view of the Temple of the Siamites, 56 (55) 16. The front of the said Temple, 57 17. An open House with a bell hanging in it, 59 18. A Pyramid such as the Siamites commonly place about their Temples, 60 19. A large Pyramid in the second Court of Berklam's Temple, 61 20. A sort of an Altar, with a cup or pot at the top, 63 21. A Pyramid such as the Siamites commonly place about their Temples 63 22. A Pyramid called Pra Pian, 65 23. A Pyramid called Pra Tsiebi, 65 24. A Map of the course of the river Meinam, 77 25. Kirin, a chimerical Animal as represented by the Chinese, 191 26. The same according to the Japanese, 192 27. Suugu, a Chimera of the Japanese, 193 28. Kaitsu, a Chimera of the Japanese, 195 29. Dsja, the Dragon, according to the Japanese, 196 30. Tatsmaki, a water Dragon, by the Japanese, 197 31. Foo, a chimerical Bird of Paradise, according to the Chinese, 198 32. Foo, a chimerical Bird of Paradise, as figured by the Japanese, 199 33. Mukadde, a Forty-leg, 203 34. Jamakagats, a large snake, 205 35. Kinmodsui, a beautiful duck, 207 36. Foken, a night bird, 209 37. Misago, a sea bird of the hawk kind, 211 38. Sebi, a sort of beetel. San-mio, a sor of Spanish-flies 212 39. Iruku, a known fish 216 40. Furube, a blower fish, 217 41. Susuki, a bald head, 218 42. Koi, a fish not unlike a carp, 219 43. Ara, a Jacob's Ewertz, 220 44. Ooadsi, a sort of Maasbancker 221 45. Fukasame, the fish of whose skin they made the Shagrin - Cases, 222 46. Susumoiwo, a needle fish, 223 47. Oounagi, a sort of Eel much larger than the common, 224 48. Jaatzme Unagi, an eel with eight eyes, 225 49. Doodsio, a fish with a very large head in proportion to the body, 226 50. Fammo, a Conger Eel, 227 51. Ika, a common sea-qualm according to the Chinese, 228 52. Ika, as figured by the Japanese, 229 53. Jako or Sepia, another sea-qualm, 230 54. Kuragge, another sea-qualm, 231 55. Namako, called Kafferkull, by the Dutch at Batavia, 232 56. Imori, a black water Lizard, 233 57. Mooki, according to the Chinese, 234 58. Mooki, an emblematical Tortoise, as figur'd by the Japanese, 235 59. Isicame, the Land tortoise, 236 60. Jogame, the Water tortoise, 237 61. Gamina, soldier's crab, 238 62. Kabutogami, a singular crab, 239 63. Hind-Claw of the Simagani, 241 64. Gadsame, a crab with the upper shell tapering into a point on both sides, 242 65. Simagani, a striated pocket-crab, 243 66. Awabi, an open Univalve, 244 67. Tairagi, a sort of Pinna, 245 68. Famaguri, bivalves, smooth and white within, 246 69. Kisa, bivalves with deep furrows, 247 69. Te or Matee, oblong thin bivalves gaping at both ends, 247 70. Takaragai, or Cowries, 248 71. Sasai, a large Turbinated univalve, 249 72. Characters of the Elements and the Celestial Signs, 272 73. The names of the Deities, Chinese and Japanese Emperors, 333

Volume 2

74. A view of Matsussima, a Sintos Temple, 16 75. A view of the Temple of Tensio Daisin at Isje, 40 76. A Biosju or Memorial Table, 69 77. A Biosju or Memorial Table, 71 *78. A Map of the City of Nagasaki, and of the adjacent country, 80 79. The Kobanj, or Cobang, 201 80. An Obani in gold, 208 81. A large lump of silver, with several impressions, 229 82. Both sides of a double Senni, 235 83. An Ita or Schuit or silver; a Senni or Putjos, 241 84. Three instruments usually carried before criminals in publick executions, 245 85. An Itzebo in gold, 255 86. The privilege granted to the Dutch in 1611, 260 87. The Superscription of the renew'd privilege granted to Henry Brouwer, 261 88. The Seal of the Emperor Ongoschiosama, 261 89. The Seal of the Emperor Taitokouynsama, 261 90. The General form of the Oath in Japan, 269 91. The manner in which Imperial Orders, etc., are put up in Publick places, 274 92. The trunks and Adofski, 281 93. The saddle, 283 94. The Adofski by itself, 283 95. A pleasure boat with the sails, flags, banners etc 300 96. A pleasure boat with the sails, flags, banners etc 301 97. A Japanese merchant ship, 303 98. A view of the stern of a merchant ship, 305 99. The figure of the black horned Giwon, an Idol of the Japanese, 315 100. Some Banners, 332 101. Umbrellas, 333 102. A bow, arrow and quiver, 334 103. Pikes of state, 335 104. The Chair of State, 336 105. The retinue of the Dutch Ambassadors in their journey to Court, 368 106. A ground-plot of the hot bath near Urissijno 369 107. A particular map of the. Author's Journey from Nagasaki, over the Island Kiusju, to Kokura, 376 108. A ground-plot of the town of Kokura, 378 109. A view of the Streights of Caminoseki, and the two villages Morizu and Caminoseki, 386 110. A view of Simodsi or Sijmotsui, 390 111. A view of the town and harbour of Muru, and its castle, 392 112. A particular Map of the voyage from Kokura to Simonoseki and thence to Osacca, 398

Volume III

113. Arms of the Japanese, 10 114. Arms of the Japanese, 11 115. Arms of the Japanese, 13 116. The ground-plot of the town of Miaco the residence of the Ecclesiastical Hereditary Emperor of Japan, 24 117. A particular Map of the road from Osacca to Miaco, and from thence to Fammamatz, 32 118. A view of the town and castle of Quano, 39 119. A particular map of the road from Fammamatz to Jedo, the residence of the Secular Monarch of Japan, 64 120. A ground-plot of the city of Jedo, the Capital of the Japanese Empire, 80 121. The hall of hundred mats, 88 122. Musical instruments of the Japanese, 94 123. Musical instruments of the Japanese, 95 124. The hall of audience of the Dutch Ambassadors, 96 125. Musical instruments of the Japanese, 98 126. Musical instruments of the Japanese, 99 127. A view of the town and castle of Mijah, 111 128. A view of the Kiomeds temple at Miaco, 120 129. The idol of Quanwon sitting on a Tarate flower, 125 130. A view of the Daibods temple at Miaco, 128 131. A view of a Quanwon temple at Miaco wherein are 33,333 Idols, 136 132. A large Gum Gum or bell, 193 133. Kurumado, a temple near Miaco, 195 134. A ground-plot of the Simmios temple, 201 135. A singular semi-circular bridge leading to that temple, 203 136. Pillars or bound stones, 206 137. A shuit of silver as they are commonly nailed to Proclamation Posts, 207 138. The tea shrub, 217 139. Darma, an eminent saint of the Japanese, 221 140. The forepart of a portable machine, containing a whole setof instruments for keeping, making and drinking of tea, 244 141. The back part of the same machine, 245 142. The hanging valve of wood, 245 143. The larger brass vessel, 246 144. The smaller brass vessel, 246 145. The wind-oven, 246 146. The larger wooden case, 247 147. The smaller wooden case, 247 148. Three smaller wooden cases, 247 149. The dishes and instruments requisite for making and drinking the tea, 248 150. The Scale, 248 151. A branch of the true Paper tree: a branch of the spurious Paper-tree, 257 152. Oreni, a beautiful Alcea, 259 153. Sanekadsura, a shrub, 261 154. The Silver needles in the case, 264 155. The covering of the said case, 265 156. One of the gold needles taken out, 267 157. The hammer, 269 158. A brass pipe to guide the needles in pricking, 269 159. The Acupunctura, or needle pricking of the Japanese for curing the cholick, 271 160. Two schemes shewing what parts of the human body are to be burnt with the Moxa in several distempers, 287 161. Three several alphabets of the Japanese language, 336 162. A map of the Empire of Japan, composed from the maps of the natives and the observations made by Dr. Kaempfer, during his abode there, and in his two journies to the Imperial Court, 386 Items in Bold are full page+ fold out illustrations or maps.

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