Arai Hakuseki’s Patagonia (1713)

My supervisor: Make sure you quote from the original version.

The original version:

But with the help of some modernized sources, I was still able to do it. This is Arai Hakuseki’s Seiyō Kibun, a book of world geography of 1713 that the author based on his conversations with the Italian missionary to Asia, Giovanni Battista Sidotti, and on his deep study of Matteo Ricci’s Great Map of Ten Thousand Countries

According to [Mateo Ricci’s] Great Map of Ten Thousand Countries, there is in South America a land named Patawan (Patagōrasu), which is said to be a land where special and huge (giant) people live. I asked the Dutch about this and they told me the following. A long time ago, one Dutch had crossed the Southern seas of that region and arrived at Patagōrasu, where a person was put on a small boat and ordered to explore the land upstream. Because he did not return, the others tried to look far into the land from the coast. The area didn’t look rough and there was a trace of a fire coming from a big house on the sandy beach. There was a human footprint next to it, about twice the size of a normal human being’s foot, and the space between both legs was rather wide. So, the Dutch concluded that the people in the land were exceptionally tall. The person dispatched to explore then returned, though he never got to see those people face to face. That is Patagōrasu, which translated into English means big-fat-slow-person.

Magical realism before it even existed.

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