Isaac Titsingh

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Isaac Titsingh was director (opperhoofd) of the Dutch East India Company factory on Dejima from 1779 until 1784. He had at least one child by a courtesan of the Maruyama, a fifteen-year-old tayû named Ukine.

He was succeeded as opperhoofd by Hendrik Casper Romberg in 1784.

Titsingh later headed the last Dutch embassy to Beijing, in 1794-1795. This mission encountered considerable difficulties, including inclement weather; poor treatment on the part of the guides traveling with them, who regarded them as mere merchants and thus not worthy of the respect or care that would be shown to, for example, Ryukyuan ambassadors (though officials they met with in each city gave treatment that was "invariably courteous enough"); and poor planning which resulted in the Dutchmen traveling far ahead of their equipment, leaving them frequently without bedding or a change of clothes while on the road. Historians J.J.L. Duyvendak and Ta-Tuan Ch'en attribute much of these difficulties to the irregular nature of the Dutch mission, which was larger than usual, with a greater volume of gifts for the Emperor, and for which travel & reception protocols were not as well established as was the case for Ryukyuan or Korean tribute missions to China. Titsingh himself is said to have expressed "his regret ever to have been persuaded to undertake this embassy."[1]


  • Gary Leupp, Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900, A&C Black (2003), 123.
  1. Ta-Tuan Ch’en, “Sino–Liu-Ch'iuan Relations in the Nineteenth Century,” PhD dissertation, Indiana University (1963), 125-127.