The most visible traces may have been left by Dutch civil engineers, invited by the Japanese government to help meet the flood challenges in mountainous Japan. Dutch civil engineers were also invited to assist in the construction and development of the country`s ports. C.J. van Doorn was the first. He designed an irrigation canal in Fukushima Prefecture, which then earned him a bronze reconnaissance statue, saved by the inhabitants of the transformation into bullets during World War II. At the request of the Japanese government, Van Doorn invited other engineers to join him, including Johannis de Rijke, who had no university degree but had learned his trade in hard practice, and G.A. Escher, father of the artist M.C. Escher, known worldwide for his fascinating drawings. Mr.C. Escher was said to have been strongly influenced by the Ukiyoe prints his father brought back from Japan. Johannis de Rijke proved to be an excellent choice. He spent more than 30 years in Japan and eventually became vice minister – probably the only foreigner to have reached such a high rank. Improvements to the Yodogawa River in Osaka Prefecture and Kiso Sansen in central Japan were among its impressive achievements, an area where three rivers, with different rivers, met and regularly caused severe flooding.
De Rijke used techniques such as groynes, debris barriers and tree planting to reduce sewer erosion, while the absence of mountains in his home country had denied him the experience of building a corrosion dam. He has also designed many modern ports in Japan, including Osaka, Nagasaki and Yokohama. A total of 12 Dutch civil engineers came to Japan during this period to provide „dry feet” to the local population. By the 16th century, the „lingua franca” of trade with the Japanese had been Portuguese, and the first contacts between the Dutch and the Japanese had passed through a Portuguese interpreter. After the expulsion of the Portuguese, the Dutch language gradually impaled itself and the role of translator and interpreter became crucial. The positions were hereditary, the Japanese interpreters for the Dutch were known as „Oranda Tsuji”. They have rarely been responsible for managing trade, diplomacy and cultural exchanges. „Oranda Tsuji” played an important role in the dissemination of Western science. As interpreters improved, Japan`s ruling class realized that Westerners possessed exceptional and valuable knowledge in many areas. In the period following Japan`s opening, diplomatic contacts were formalized. The first Dutch consulate was opened in Yokohama in 1859, followed by an emissary in Tokyo and a consulate in Kobe in 1868.
Despite contacts in many different areas and a long history of mutual cooperation, they would unfortunately not prevent war between the two countries of Indonesia. Among the goods received in exchange for his teaching services were a kimono with the circular family coats of arms of the Tokugawa Shogun family and „secret” maps of Japan, which are normally strictly forbidden to foreigners. He was found and suspected of being a spy, suspended for life. Many of his Japanese friends and students paid with their lives for this knowledge.