For many centuries, Japan had little experience of coexistence with foreign nationals or major national minorities. In the 16th century, however, it established fairly intensive contacts with some European states, which led to relatively strong links with international trade and the mass spread of Christianity within the country. However, it was the success of the new religion that led the central authorities in the country to gradually close Japan to foreigners in the first half of the 17th century. The small Dutch community was strictly confined to the small island of Dejima in Nagasaki, and its life in Japan was tightly regulated. It was not until Perry’s mission and the forcing of the establishment of official relations between Japan and the Western powers that the conditions were set for the emergence of a wider foreign community in Japan. This was concentrated primarily in the newly established port of Yokohama, which became an important seat of the foreign enclave in Japan. While on the one hand foreigners enjoyed considerable privileges in the country due to the existence of unequal treaties, on the other hand they had to face considerable problems, especially xenophobia on the part of part of the Japanese population. Despite this, they became a permanent part of the economic, political, and cultural scene here, and their influence on the development of Japan in the Meiji era is undeniable.