Japan, the track is still fresh
the court journey of adriaen de vosch and what happened when the dragon of the white stepped into the black hole of tokyo

photography, text, design
Guus Rijven





Book 1

The 'Haarlemse Poort' (Gate of Haarlem) is in Amsterdam and the Gate of Amsterdam is situated in Haarlem. When those two gate buildings are elaborately and imaginatively depicted, described and recorded, a traveler who starts his journey and passes one of these gates will feel like he is already on its way for quite some time. In this way, the slow in between can be avoided and the traveler will remain hungry. Dreaming does the rest.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the island of Deshima in Nagasaki Bay is designated as a trading post for the VOC. The Dutch are obliged to pay tribute to the ruler of Japan every year. They go on the Hofreis (Court Journey) to his castle in Edo (Tokyo). This book, part 1, mixes the present with the past, and brings Deshima and the city of Nagasaki to life in many ways through the Dragon of the White. By extensively commenting on the starting point of the Hofreis, just like the ending point of Tokyo in book 2, these books offer the traveler a wonderful impression of the route in between. And thus the compass for his journey. The Hofreis is also described in a manuscript from 1789 that is published here for the first time.

Book 2

The center of Tokyo is off limits, a black hole around which the entire city moves. The area is enclosed by defensive walls and a moat. Every Japanese cherishes this urban vacuum under his heart, for it is the abode of the emperor.

Black holes, astrologers say, can be proven by the radiations that escape from them. In 2019, the year Emperor Naruhito took office and ushered in a new era, a photo of a black hole was presented for the first time. Since that blind spot in the depths of the universe could be made visible and demonstrated with a photo, what was once imagination has become reality, fiction a fact. With this book, part 2 of Japan, the trail is still fresh, the secret heart of Tokyo, its black hole, is discovered and brought to light. The castle has been home to the ruler of Japan for centuries and was therefore the destination of the Hofreis (Court Journey).

30 x 21 cm
hardcover, paperbound
2 volumes, total 608 pages
language: Dutch only

€ 90,- incl. shipping (Holland)

mail to guus.rijven(at)
mention: 'Japan, the track is still fresh' and your personal details (name, address)
pay on NL82INGB0002376305 attn AJM Rijven

When the edition of this publication is sold out, a new printrun will follow.
Then your copy can take a while. Do not be alarmed, 'Japan, the track is still fresh' will come to you for sure.