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Hirado

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Hirado is a city located in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. The part historically named Hirado is located on the island of the same name. With recent mergers, the city's boundaries have expanded, and Hirado now occupies parts of the main island of Kyushu. The components are connected by the Hirado Bridge.As of January 1, 2009, the city has an estimated population of 36,000 and a population density of 153 persons per km². The total area is 235.63km².HistoryHirado has been a port of call for ships between the Asian mainland and Japan since the Nara period. During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, the local Matsuura clan held the rights to trade with Korea and with Song dynasty China. During the Sengoku and early Edo periods, Hirado's role as a center of foreign trade increased, especially vis-a-vis Ming Dynasty China and the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The Portuguese arrived in 1550; and the English and Dutch initially reached Japan at the beginning of the 17th century.The first step in the profitable Dutch-Japanese trading relationship was the Shogun's grant of a trading pass (handelspas) in 1609.
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