An Unexpected Guest Bows Before the Japanese Emperor

The White Elephant of the Fourth Imperial Rank

Elephant walking in forest path with sun rays falling on him.
Elephant. (Pixabay. Free to use CCO)

In the Edo era (1603–1867), Japan was closed to contact with the outside world except through a few, highly controlled ports. Perhaps due to that relative isolation, curiosity about things foreign grew to such a degree that the 8th shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, made an unusual request.

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Diane Neill Tincher

Diane Neill Tincher

Top writer in Travel. I’ve lived in Japan since 1987 & love learning, history, & the beauty of nature. Pls use my link to join Medium: https://bit.ly/3rNvCND