Seiyo kibun

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An 1821 copy of Seiyô kibun on display at the Tokyo National Museum

Seiyô kibun, or "Records of Things Heard About the West," is a three-volume compilation by Confucian shogunal advisor Arai Hakuseki of information he learned about Europe from his interrogations of Giovanni Battista Sidotti, a Jesuit missionary captured by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1708. Sidotti was held until his death in 1714.

The contents of the book range widely, touching upon European customs & culture, history, geography, philosophy, and religion. Despite being a prisoner, Sidotti is said to have answered Hakuseki's questions politely.


  • Gallery labels, "Seiyô kibun," Tokyo National Museum.[1]
  • Arai Hakuseki, Joyce Ackroyd (trans.), Told Round a Brushwood Fire, University of Tokyo Press (1979), 290n64.