Japan’s Continuing Sakoku

I have been very critical of the Japanese government’s handling of COVID and its (relatively) closed borders and isolation (sakoku) in the past few months. In the last week alone I have written a post (Nothing Splendid About Japan’s Isolation) about the topic and a further post with details about a letter than I sent…

Another Letter to the Japanese Ambassador in London

Today, in my capacity as President of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), I jointly (together with the Chair of the British Association for Teachers of Japanese) sent the following letter to the Japanese Ambassador in London. This is the second letter (click here for the first letter) that we have had to send…

Nothing Splendid About Japan’s Isolation

In the early seventeenth century Japan entered a period of self-imposed isolation known as sakoku. In reality, the level of isolation probably wasn’t as strict as is sometimes made out, but it was strong enough that it allowed Japan to develop many aspects of what we know think of as Japan’s traditional culture with limited…