From the 13th to the 16th century, Japanese ships were quite active in Asian waters, often in the role of "Wakō" pirates who plundered the coast of the Chinese Empire. Official trading missions were also sent to China, such as the Tenryūjibune around 1341. Wakō activity was efficiently curbed in the late sixteenth century with the interdiction of piracy by Hideyoshi, and the successful campaigns against pirate activity on the Chinese coast by Ming Dynasty generals.
Between the 15th and the 16th century, the main trading intermediary in Eastern Asia was the island kingdom of the Ryūkyū (modern Okinawa), which exchanged Japanese products (silver, swords) and Chinese products for Southeast Asian sappan wood and deer hides. The Ryūkyū Kingdom ( Ryukyuan: ja 琉球國 rūchū－kuku, 琉球王国 ryūkyū-ō-koku) liúqiúguó) was an independent kingdom which is one of Japan 's southern prefectures, and consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1000 km long which extends southwest from Kyūshū Altogether 150 Ryukian ships are recorded between the kingdom and Southeast Asia, 61 one of them for Annam (Viet Nam), 10 for Malacca, 10 for Pattani, 8 for Java etc. Patani (Pattani is known to have been part of the ancient Srivijayan kingdom Java (Jawa is an Island of Indonesia and the site of its Capital city Jakarta. . . Their commerce disappeared around 1570 with the rise of Chinese merchants and the intervention of Portuguese and Spanish ships, and corresponds with the beginnings of the Red Seal system. The Ryūkyū kingdom was finally invaded by Japan in 1609.
When the first Europeans started to navigate in the Pacific Ocean (see also Nanban trade period), they regularly encountered Japanese ships, such as when the Spanish welcomed in Manila in 1589 a storm-battered Japanese junk bound for Siam, or when the Dutch circumnavigator Olivier van Noort encountered a 110-ton Japanese junk in the Philippines in December 1600, and on the same voyage a Red Seal ship with a Portuguese captain off Borneo through which they learned about the arrival of William Adams in Japan. The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth 's Oceanic divisions The Nanban trade ( Japanese: 南蛮貿易 nanban-bōeki, "Southern barbarian trade" or the Nanban trade period ( Japanese: 南蛮貿易時代 The City of Manila The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands Olivier van Noort ( 1558 - 22 February 1627) was the first Dutchman to circumnavigate the world -HK CityHall Seaview 51217 5png|thumb|300px|A modern junk in Hong Kong]]A junk is a Chinese sailing vessel. The Philippines ( Filipino: Pilipinas, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (fil ''Republika ng Pilipinas'' RP Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located at the centre of Maritime Southeast Asia. For other people called William Adams see William Adams. Early life Adams was born in Gillingham, Kent, England