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Book cover of Adams the Pilot: The Life and Times of Captain William Adams, 1564-1620

Adams the Pilot: The Life and Times of Captain William Adams, 1564-1620

by William Corr

Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781873410448






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Synopsis of Adams the Pilot: The Life and Times of Captain William Adams, 1564-1620

Previous biographies of the so-called 'first Englishman in Japan' (excluding Clavell's fantasy figure of John Blackthorn in Shogun), most notably P. G. Rogers and Richard Blacker earlier this century, did not have access to the more recent excellent researches of scholars such as Derek Massarella, Anthony Farrington, Michael Cooper and Charles Boxer. This study, therefore, aimed as much at the general as the specialist reader, can justifiably be considered as the most authoritative biography to be published to date, as well as providing a valuable new focus on the period, especially with regard to trade and political alliances in both Europe and Japan right up to the time of Japan's sakoku (national isolation). William Adams grew to manhood in a violent and turbulent era of European history. A 'European' before the term was coined, he spent a decade in the service of the Dutch, most notably aboard the ill-fated five-vessel Mahu and de Cordes fleet which in 1598 set out to circumnavigate the world but ended in disaster with Adams and his stricken ship the Liefde alone reaching landfall off Japan's southern island of Kyushu at Oita in April 1600. He was one of only 18 survivors out of an original crew of 110. Remarkably, Adams, now in his thirties, rose to favour with the hegemon, later shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu and lived in, and traded from, Japan for two decades. He acted as unofficial adviser to Ieyasu, as well as being a shipbuilder, cartographer, diplomatic negotiator, trader and hatamoto (bannerman) under the Tokugawa shogunate.

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