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The Dutch trade on Hirado (also called Firando) was not very profitable during the first years, because the quantity of goods imported was too small. The efforts of both the English and the Dutch to capture the richly-laden Portuguese carracks and Chinese junks, sailing from and to Nagasaki, led to a sharp reprimand of the Japanese Government in 1621.In 1613 the English also established a factory on the island, wich would remain in being till 1623. The Shogunal Government, on the other hand, became more and more opposed to the Portuguese, because of their missionary activity.The Spanish had been expelled already in 1624: the English abandoned their factory voluntarily in 1623 and were not admitted again until 1854, although they tried several times to reopen the trade. For the sake of completeness it should be mentioned, that Siamese envoys and trade ships occasionally visited Japan during the period of seclusion, and that there was trade with Korea through the Tsushima Island (North of Kiushu). The Emperor ('Mikado'; 'Tenno') remained in Miako (the later Kyoto). When the Dutch spoke about "de Keyser" ("the Emperor"), they meant the Shogun.Together with the Chinese, the Dutch provided for the overseas trade of Japan, because in 1636 the Shogun finally forbade the Japanese to go abroad, after a series of restricting measures in the years 1633-1636. He did not have any governing power but must be seen as a symbol of the continuity of the Shinto-religion. The Tenno they called "Geestelijcke Keyser" ("Clerical Emperor") or 'Dairi'. The most important government council was the Go Roju or Council of Five Elders (Dutch; "Ordinaire Rijksraad"), with 4 or 5 members.After 1695, seven senior interpreters under the leadership of a 'metsuke' formed a College of Head Interpreters. These eight persons signed and stamped the engrossments and translations of nearly all documents that were exchanged between the Dutch and the Japanese authorities.Apart from these "Gouverneurs, banjozen, burgemeesters, opper- en ondertolken, ottenaas, ende dwarskijckers" the Dutch had to deal with the purveyors of the victuals for the factory All contact with Japanese officials must be maintained through the interpreters.Deshima constituted a seperated quarter under the guidance of three Otona, who alternated every day at noon.The interpreters were formed into a sort of guild or college ("het Collegie" they call themselves for short in their translations) with a maximum strength of 150, seniors and apprentices together.
The Council of the factory consisted of the Opperhoofd, the second merchants and the undermerchants.
After about 1670, things change for the better: on 15 December 1670 the interpreters are recorded to be exercising in Dutch handwriting and in 1671 the Governor orders the intruction of interpreters on Deshima.
The daily entrance of 9 November 1673 contains the following passage: "The interpreters come to inform us that the Governor has decided and ordered that a certain Japanese boy, about ten or twelve years old, will come here daily on the island, in order to learn Dutch from one of the Company's servants, as likewise to be taught how to read and write the same." By a regulation of 7 June 1678, Governor-General and Council decided that the personnel of the factory should consist of a merchant, a second merchant, two or three undermerchants and fourteen or fifteen assistants (a surgeon and his assistant included).
There was also a council of town elders, 'Toshiyorishu', 'Machi-doshiyori', proceeding from the local landowners. Every member in turn was at the head of affairs during one year.
Jap.:'Nemban'; Dutch: "Opperburgemeester" or "Rapporteur Burgemeester"). The town of Nagasaki was divided into quarters, each quarter controlled by an'Otona'.