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The Dutch Ships

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Submitted By cdoriley
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The Dutch Ships by Rai San’yo was a great piece of history. The main purpose of this poem is to shed light on the happenings of the time. This was not a formal history piece, as it was designed to be an informal piece that described the events that occurred in the early 1800’s. The purpose for this piece was simple, yet complex. The poems form was meant to show the feeling that the people had about these ships and the people on them. This is demonstrated by the line, from the Dutch Ships by Rai Sanyon, “The red-haired Westerners are coming!”(Line 6). This was arguably an attempt to give the reader insight to the worry that the Dutch was causing by simply visiting the island. This is due to the inherent fear of cultural contamination that the Japanese had experienced 100 years ago. This was also entering a transition time for Japan; clashes of people’s were happening. This line serves to tell us their opinions of them, which gave a negative connotation. The term “red-haired Westerner” could be comparable to the term “slant eye” when trying to define negative connotation. This tells of the time period of Japan, early 1800’s as we know.
The style of this poem matches well with how it sounds. The sentences are noticeably emotional, with short ideas in them. His comments demonstrated a quick and sporadic view of all that was happening. This style adds very well with how the author felt. The poem is oppressive in nature; this is not about welcoming the Westerners. Line 4 of Dutch Ships says “In twenty-five watch stations, bows are bared” which indicates that the Japanese are ready for a fight and not being receptive. This could indicate that the Japanese have had trouble before with the Westerners.
The reason for it having an oppressive feel is the level of weariness that the Japanese are exhibiting with their language. Line 21 and 22 illustrates this restlessness in the Japanese, “The barbarian heart is hard to fathom; the Throne ponders And dares not relax its armed defense.” This illustrates the government is very weary of these barbarians, not just in their strangeness but their ideals. This weariness is more like someone who expects this to happen and someone who cannot deal with a problem presently. This fits into the time period of the early 1800’s. Instances of these happenings were taking place in many places and a growing fear was happening in Japan that the western contamination of their culture would occur. The way the language is used falls in line with the short idea’s used in each sentence. This also allows for the style to be more than just how the author writes his story, it became a very important way to give details of this era. The context of this story is historical. The story itself was meant to be a piece of history, not some work of fiction. The story has been true to its form throughout. The purpose of the text is clearly historical, and the tone shows the emotions taking place with the details. This leads us to assume a few things. The poem was meant to be seen as a type of record for the happenings of the time. It was to illustrate this important point, but it was meant to do more. This was to be not just a historical book, but a more complete record. Japanese slavery was prevalent with the Dutch population in the 1600-1800’s.
The author wanted future generations to know about the events, but to also grasp the feelings of the time. Japan was weary of the westerners, because their influence was starting to change Japans culture and there people were slaves to them. Japan did not want to fall prey to the materialism of Europe, but Europe’s influence was slowly breaking down the Japanese isolation. The poem itself described the arrival of the Europeans entrance to their territory. It can be said then that this is a social warning to those future generations would need to secure their culture. Therefore not only is this a historical piece but also a social warning. The author new Europe would get back into Japan, but he wanted Japan to remain Japan and for that he wrote this poem. This is a situation common throughout the world. The next part is the conversion of the poem into a modern day situation in newspaper form.
Invasion or Immigration?
Country rocked by recent Humanitarian Crisis
The US for decades has welcomed legal immigration into this country as a necessary act for our civilization. This has changed in the recent decade. A border no one is regulating and a president who won’t act for his citizens. Texas and Arizona are the forefront of this problem. The hordes of people coming into the country illegally now are staggering. In recent weeks, we have had more the 50,000 people enter this country illegally with a lot of them being children sent. Our patrols have been armed as we meet the people; many citizens are calling for an end to this illegal immigrant problem.
Border Patrol Officer Bradley says “When we all get the call that a patrol has nabbed a few, the usual phrase is “Aliens are coming.” The usual response is the launch of several pursuit vehicles, with radios alerting all nearby agents. Often times, our agents are outnumbered three to one. The pursuit vehicles are often camouflaged, blending in better with the terrain. The caravans that the people come in are often huge lines of people, often times over crowded carts and boats. The criminals among them stand as a new disease for our country. They laugh and mask their way with the crowd attempting to hide themselves amongst the crowd.
The people normally shout in happiness when they reach our land, most thinking they have secured their new home. Oddly enough, little is understood why parents would send their children alone to America with smugglers and groups of random people. It makes no sense to risk their safety in such a way given how we often times do not know how many children actually make it. This is why our government has not relaxed its guard and leaves it completely unattended too.
These poor souls do not know the reality of what they face here. Does their drive for freedom blind them to the madness they sow by burdening our country with so many people not paying taxes? There tattered caravans are but a locust flying against our border with increasing successful rates. Why is it we must risk killing these people to stop their entering or trade away our economy and our rights for their lives? The rationale behind this adaption is complex as it is simple in effect. The tale of the Dutch Ships is every bit historical, emotional, and a warning to whoever reads it. The form of a poem helped it not to be lost in history; it made the record stick out. This is why it made sense to link the two stories together like this. The Dutch Ships was at a turning point in Japans history, because in a decade or two Japan would become a modern military power. The ancient code of the Samurai would be crushed in favor for western technology, an entire way of life gone forever. In the same way, the adaption of the poem to today’s events mirror in the same way. America is at a massive crossroads right now. This immigration problem will either cause a drastic shift in laws, a heavy wound on the middle class, a change in the definition of being an American citizen, or even the shift in the balance of power in America. Both of these stories are focal points with so many strings attached to them, they cannot help but be of great historical value. This is also emotionally decided upon. Japan at that point was starting to become divided. The oppression felt in the story would soon divide the people of Japan, one for Europe and one against Europe. People were starting to get riled up, much the same way America is now. Emotions are running high in America, one could say with an oppressive feel to it as well. The two sides are at odds on whether to do the morally right thing by helping the illegal immigrant’s vs following the law. Some American’s agree that tens of thousands of immigrants can come in illegally and work to become legal. Others wish for them to go through the process as it stands and not come into the country illegally. The emotional divisions are the same but with different issues. The third and final reason why the adaption was on immigration is how Rai Sanyo’s was a warning. Dutch Ships was a warning to future generations. He knew a great change was coming, and he knew it was not going to end well. The oppressive nature of the poem, the language, the style, and how he calls the westerners leads to the image of these people being bad for Japan. Thus we can infer he wanted to warn of being them. He wanted Japan to remain Japanese. Americans are struggling with the immigration changes and how it could change our country. Rai’s poem was a warning of change coming; just how today situation is a warning of impending change. Both changes are not necessarily positive for it looks to trend into something bad. Dutch Ships was a great poem, full of deep thought. The style, language, purpose, and value of it allow it to tell more than just a historical event. The informal nature of this historical piece allows for it to be expanded than traditional history books. The contemporary conversion of the piece was exciting as it focuses well into what is happening. The meanings are very close to being the same.
Davis, Paul. "Dutch Ships (1818) by Rai Sanyo ." The Bedford Anthology of World Literature: The Nineteenth Century, Book 5. : Macmillan Higher Education, 2007. . Print.

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