The Dutch came to Japan in the late 16th Century and are famous for being the only Europeans who were allowed to maintain trading relations with Japan until the end of the Edo period (1868). They became the primary conduit through which Europe learned of Japan and Japan of Europe and therefore performed an important role for each. The Dutch traders lived on an artificial island, Dejima, constructed at the port of Nagasaki and took occasional trips to the capital at Edo.
A recent question was raised on the Internet about why the Dutch bothered staying in Japan in the Edo period if they were virtually imprisoned at Dejima except for the trips to Edo. A response from Dr. R.J. Barendse of Leiden University (email: Rene.firstname.lastname@example.org) noted that trade with Japan was making only a marginal profit in the second half of the eighteenth century (30,000 guilders yearly) but that exports of Japanese copper (500,000-1,000,000 lb yearly) were sold on the Coromandel coast south of Madras in India and in Surat (west India) both of which made large profits, mainly from Japanese copper (on the order of 900,000 guilders profit a year). In addition, the Dutch residents in Nagasaki traded privately to their individual profit.