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

Public joint research at the Historiographical institute, the University of Tokyo (2020)
Translation and Research of the journal of a Dutch East Asia Company Envoy to Qing in 18th Century

The Purpose of the Research

Out of a number of envoys sent by the Dutch East India Company to the Qing dynasty to establish and improve trade, the embassy sent to celebrate the 60 years of Qianlong Emperor’s reign in 1794-1795 is important, especially in comparison with the famous British Macartney Embassy. The ambassador was Isaac Titsingh, the former head of Japan Trade House. Existing documents of the Titsingh Embassy consist 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. To study these journals, Dutch and French ability is required at the very least.
Furthermore, as it requires a broad knowledge of China during that era including the names of places, people, positions, it has not been translated into Japanese until this day. Now two sinologists (Ono, a Japanese historian, and Blussé, a Dutch historian) and a member of the second overseas department of the Historiographical Institute who has experience in translation are taking on the challenge, with the help of a private translator.

The purpose of the research is to translate and publish two journals in modern Japanese with annotations; the journal of Titsingh (owned by the University of Leiden, reprint published by Frank Lequin in 2005 as “Isaac Titsingh in China (1794-1796). Het onuitgegeven journaal van zijn Ambassade naar Peking.” Also translated into English before WW2 by Duyvendak, professor of Chinese history at the University of Leiden); the 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).


External Co-researcher:

Koji Ono (Lead/Professor of Tohoku University), Yuki Morita (Translator),
Leonard Blussé (Professor Emeritus of Leiden University)

Internal Co-researcher:

Fuyuko Matsukata, Norifumi Daito