The so-called ‘closed country’ view of early modern Japan has been increasingly challenged by both American and Japanese scholars since the 1970s. Ronald Toby’s work1 was a major breakthrough in international academic circles: he argued that a ‘seclusion’ analysis ignores the fact that Japan is in Asia, and divorces European (‘seclusion’) from Asian relations and foreign policy in general. In his book he analysed Tokugawa foreign relations in the seventeenth century, trying to integrate Tokugawa diplomatic behaviour into the structure of politics and polity in the domestic realm.