Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Becoming YellowA Short History of Racial Thinking$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael Keevak

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691140315

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691140315.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see http://www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 11 December 2017

Before They Were Yellow

Before They Were Yellow

East Asians in Early Travel and Missionary Reports

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter 1 Before They Were Yellow
Source:
Becoming Yellow
Author(s):

Michael Keevak

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691140315.003.0002

This chapter examines how East Asians were seen by medieval travel narrators and missionaries before they became yellow at the end of the eighteenth century. The story begins in 1511, when the Portuguese established a permanent outpost for East Asian trade at Malacca. Persistent rumors of “white” people in the Far East had turned into a reality, as both Chinese and Japanese (as well as Arabs and other East Asians) became a common sight. The “whiteness” of these people was constantly highlighted as a term that described their presumed level of civilization. The chapter considers a number of surviving accounts by merchants and (later) missionaries that are full of references to the whiteness of both Chinese and Japanese natives, including those attributed to Tomé Pires and Duarte Barbosa. It also explores how Western descriptions of East Asian people shifted from calling them white to calling them yellow.

Keywords:   whiteness, East Asians, travel narrators, missionaries, Far East, Chinese, Japanese, merchants, yellow, Tomé Pires

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.