Translation and Research of the journal of a Dutch East Asia Company Envoy to Qing in 18th Century

General Joint Research Project at the Historiographical Institute (HI)

A part of the Specific Joint Research Project at the HI: “Translation and Research for Enhancing the Availability to the Japan-Related Foreign Historical Sources Preserved in the HI” (Monsoon Project II)

The Purpose of the Research

Of all the envoys that the Dutch East India Company (VOC) sent to the Qing dynasty to promote their trade with China, the embassy sent to celebrate the 60 years of Qianlong Emperor’s reign in 1794-1795 was of particular importance for its rivalry with the famous British Macartney Embassy. The Ambassador was Isaac Titsingh, former head of the VOC trading base in Nagasaki, who also made visits to the Shogun in Edo in 1780 and 1782. Existing records on the Titsingh Embassy to China consist chiefly of his own journal in Dutch, a French journal by the Vice-ambassador Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest, and the journal of the interpreter/scholar Chrétien-Louis-Joseph de Guignes, also in French. These texts have not been translated into Japanese until this day. This research project creates a unique opportunity for experts in different disciplines including Qing China, the VOC, Tokugawa Japan, and European Sinology to work together to translate the journals below.

(1) Journal of Titsingh, owned by the University of Leiden, published by Frank Lequin in 2005 as Isaac Titsingh in China (1794-1796): het onuitgegeven journaal van zijn Ambassade naar Peking. An old English translation by Dutch sinologist J. J. L. Duyvendak (1889-1954) is also available.

(2) Journal of de Guignes, published in 1808 as “Voyages a Peking. Manille, et L'ile de France, faits dans L’intervalle des années 1784 à 1801


Norifumi Daito (HI)
Fuyuko Matsukata (HI)
Yuki Morita
Joji Nozawa
Koji Ono
Faustine Peyceré
Isabel Tanaka-van Daalen


松方 冬子(まつかた ふゆこ) 東京大学 史料編纂所 教授 博士 (文学) Professor,the University of Tokyo Ph.D.(the University of Tokyo, 2008)