Three Scholars of Dejima (出島の三学者)

The three scholars of Dejima were the ones who came to Dejima in Nagasaki during the Edo period and conducted a study of natural history. At that time, the Japanese government permitted trading only with the Dutch under the national isolation policy, but none of the three were Dutch. Their travel accounts are being published from Heibonsha, Toyo bunko.

Engelbert KAEMPFER

Engelbert KAEMPFER was a German doctor and traveler. He stayed in Dejima from 1690 to 1692. He served as a physician to Nagasaki Trading House. He studied botany as his main subject in natural history and made an herb garden in Dejima. His book "The History of Japan" was published in English after his death.


Carl THUNBERG was a Swedish doctor and botanist. He was a disciple of Carolus LINNEAEUS. He stayed in Dejima from 1775 to 1776. He served as a physician to Nagasaki Trading House. He brought back many plant samples and gave them scientific names. He taught medical science, pharmaceutical science, and botany to translators and rangakusha (persons who studied Western sciences by means of the Dutch language). He wrote "Voyages de C.P." and others.

Philipp Franz von SIEBOLD

Philipp Franz von SIEBOLD was a German physician and naturalist. He stayed in Dejima from 1823 to 1829. He arrived as a physician to Nagasaki Trading House, but he opened Narutakijuku School next year and taught medical science and natural history to the Japanese. Meanwhile, he collected materials about Japan. In 1828, the Siebold Incident happened, and he was expelled overseas. In 1859, he came back to Japan as an adviser of the Dutch Trading Company. He also worked as a diplomatic adviser to the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). In 1862, he returned home. He wrote "Nippon," "Flora Japonica," and "Fauna Japonica." These books influenced Matthew PERRY's visit to Japan.