Japan Thailand Business Forum is an association which consists of persons who have once worked in Thailand as executives of various Japanese companies as well as government offices located in Thailand.
It was organized in August 2002 for a purpose of exchanging frank opinions with Thai authorities in regard to tourism, economy, investment and other various subjects.
Reports of Chinese Junks
8th Release 2019.5.1
Public Relations Committee of JTBF
It is considered that the trade between Japan and Thailand stopped during Japan's "sakoku" era starting in 1630s when Japan closed her door to the rest of the world. But it actually continued through intermediary of Chinese junks, which voyaged from not only Chinese coasts but also from Southeast Asian coasts. They were permitted to enter Nagasaki harbor of Japan but were obligated to report political and social situations of the country of departure. Those reports still remain to our public view. Mr. Yoneo Ishii, late honorary professor of Kyoto University, focused on reports of junks which came from Southeast Asian coasts, translated to English and edited to a book "The Junk Trade from Southeast Asia". Public Relations Committee of JTBF are intersted in introducing the book and are delivering, on this web site, selected reports of junks which came from Thailand. Will be released every month 2 to 3 articles in time sequence. We are grateful to Mr. Tadashi Ishii, son of Mr. Yoneo Ishii, for kindly accepting our request to use copyright of the book of Mr. Yoneo Ishii.
Ship No.98 from Pattani, 2 August 1687
Our ship was Ship No. 101 from Pattani last year, which came
here but did not have the opportunity to dispatch any of her cargoes,
except for a small portion which was sold to cover immediate
expenses before she returned home with the remaining cargoes. Last
year we left here on the 27th day of the I lth month [10 January] and
headed for Pattani. On the 3rd of the first month [14 February] strong
winds at sea damaged our sails and other fittings severely. We were
compelled to go back to Ningbo to repair the damaged fittings. Since
the season for travelling to Pattani was already over, we remained in
Ningbo from whence we have come this time. Thus, our cargo
consists of the items from Pattani which had returned with us last year
together with yellow Tonkin raw silk and "Tonkin pongee" (note 1) procured
Since we did not return to Pattani we have had no news about
the country. As for Ningbo, there has been no change. Peace
prevails in other provinces as well. Rice is cheap everywhere and
nothing unusual has been reported on land or at sea. These peaceful
situations have probably been reported to you by the ships from
Ningbo which entered here earlier and there is nothing to add. People
are impoverished in the three provinces of Fuzhou, Guangdong and
Huguang which have been ravaged by civil war recently. (note 2) For the last
three years crop harvests have been reduced by half which creates
difficulties for the coastal areas. The provinces of Fuzhou and
Guangdong have been at war with Dongning for a long time and these
provinces have suffered from the effects of warfare. In Huguang
province where Wu Sangui had been rebelling for several years,
people were badly affected. The people had paid the Emperor for only
half of their crops for three years. The annual crop levy of Huguan
province amounts to 36,000 kan in silver, which has been reduced by
half. The 7,000 kan levied on the annual crops of Fushou and the
6,300 kan on those of Guangdong has been reduced by half, a
measure which has pleased the people greatly. (note 3) Also, government
officials have become very honest which has made a big difference to
previous years. There was nothing else unusual. When we left
Ningbo we saw three other ships there. Another one from Batavia
remained in Ningbo, which had visited Nagasaki last year and but was
unable to return home because of a storm. Including the latter, there
could be four ships coming here from Ningbo this year but not more.
Our ship has 71 tojin on board, who are the same crew as last year.
We departed from Ningbo on the 3rd day of the 6th month and called
at Putuoshan on the 15th, where we came across Ship No. 99 which
entered here just after us. We left together on the 20th day. We did
not stop anywhere in Japan and came here directly. At sea we did not
see any ships except for Ship No. 99 with whom we cruised within
sight of each other every day. There is nothing else to report to you.
The 25th day of the 6th month, Year of the Hare.
note 1: A soft unbleached type of Tonkin silk fabric.
note 2: See 1-6 above for the "war of the three feudat01ies" in Guangdong, ending in
1681. This was followed by the death throes of the Zheng regime in Dongning
note 3: This refers to a reduction in taxes on agriculture. One kan is approximately 4 kg
Ship No.107 from Siam, 30 August 1687
There was nothing unusual in Siam. Peace prevails all over the
country. Ships from various countries visit Siam constantly. Usually
two or three ships travel from Siam to Nagasaki, but this year ours is
the only one because business is not good. Also, due to the existing
laws on trade restrictions, we cannot effect any business from the
cargoes we have laboriously brought here on a large ship. This year
we are on orders from a Siamese minister to come alone, in order to
examine the prevailing conditions in Nagasaki.
When we were about to leave Siam, we heard the following
news about Cambodia. Rather than return to Dongning, the navy of
Qin She under General Yang's command in Cambodia has been
roaming around the neighbouring seas for several years with several
thousand men aboard large and small military boats. (note 4) Since they had
nothing to do and nowhere to stay, they went to Cambodia to expel
the King of Cambodia (note 5)
and place the Cambodian coasts under their
control. While the King of Cambodia was in retreat in the mountains,
General Yang's adjutant general Huang revolted against his master
General Yang and killed him. (note 6) He then supported the Second King,
a nephew of the First King, to rule the coastal region under [Huang's]
occupation. For the past two years the First King in his mountain
exile has been asking Siam for help.(note 7) [A few letters are missing in
the original text.] (note 8) The Siamese reinforcements were stationed in the
mountains. This year the First King finally returned from the
mountains and expelled the Second King and Huang and his men.
Huang's men had decreased in number and he had only a few ships
left. Though he remained with the Second King, he had already lost
his former power, and was finally defeated by the army from the
mountains. Huang and his men fled to Guangnan [Hue] with the
Second King of Cambodia under Huang's guard. Since then, it is
said, the First King who was in the mountains has resumed the throne
to reign in Cambodia as before. We are not familiar with the details,
Our ship departed from Siam on the 6th day of the 5th month
[15 June] and on the 7th day of the 6th month [15 July] strong winds
broke the main mast of the ship. More adverse winds added to our
difficulties and we narrowly escaped death. We came across Ship
No. 102 from Guangdong under Xie Chunguan's command, which
has just arrived. We asked Xie Chunguan for a small quantity of
ceramic bowls and plates to replace the Wu Qimin plates we had lost
during the storm. We experienced strong easterly winds for the third
time. However, since our ship, unlike others, is of Siamese make,
strongly constructed from sturdy timber, she coped with the surging
waves and we safely entered the port of Nagasaki. 114 people are on
board, nine of whom are the same Siamese who came here last year.
At sea we did not meet any other ship, other than that of the afore-
mentioned Xie Chunguan. We did not stop at any port before entering
here. There is no more news and this is all that can be reported to
The 23rd day of the 7th month, Year of the Hare.
note 4: See 1-8, 1-9, 1-19 above.
note 5: King Chey Chettha IV (Sor).
note 6: Huang Jin (for details see Ch'en, 1968, pp.425-437). See also report 5-8 below.
where Huang Jin is given as Huang Zhen.
note 7: In 1685 when he was about to leave Siam, Gervaise wrote that the King of Siam
"was planning to send to this prince [Sor] a relief force of eighteen thousand men
overland and by sea a squadron of four or five great ships commanded by
Portuguese and English captains, with sixty large vessels described as galleys, led
by the bravest Siamese officers." (Gervaise, 1989, p.205). See Hisamitsu (1975),
note 8: The note of the original editor of our Japanese texts which implies a few letters
found to be lacking in the original MSS.