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Melchior van Santvoort

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Melchior van Santvoort was an agent of the Dutch East India Company who lived in Japan from 1600 until 1639.

He was among the first Dutchmen to arrive in Japan, arriving in 1600 aboard the Liefde, alongside William Adams and Jan Joosten. Like them, he received favors from Tokugawa Ieyasu, but despite living in Japan for 39 years, and despite whatever special position or favor, he was granted no special exceptions for his family when, in 1639, all those of mixed-race, along with their Japanese parents, were expelled from the country. Van Santvoort thus left Japan in 1639 along with his Japanese wife Isabella, daughter Susanna, Susanna’s Dutch husband William Verstegen, and a grandson. In total, some 32 people of mixed-blood were expelled at that time, along with eight or so full-blooded Europeans or Japanese.

References

  • Gary Leupp, Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900, A&C Black (2003), 66.
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