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n. (context historical English) study of Western knowledge


Rangaku (Kyūjitai: /Shinjitai: , literally "Dutch Learning", and by extension "Western Learning") is a body of knowledge developed by Japan through its contacts with the Dutch enclave of Dejima, which allowed Japan to keep abreast of Western technology and medicine in the period when the country was closed to foreigners, 1641–1853, because of the Tokugawa shogunate's policy of national isolation ( sakoku). Through Rangaku, some people in Japan learned many aspects of the scientific and technological revolution occurring in Europe at that time, helping the country build up the beginnings of a theoretical and technological scientific base, which helps to explain Japan’s success in its radical and speedy modernization following the forced American opening of the country to foreign trade in 1854.