As the only foreigners of whom the untraveled inhabitants of Yedo have ever heard are the Chinese, we had the very high compliment paid us of being supposed to belong to that favored nation; so that, as in China you are called, as you ride along the streets, a barbarian or a " foreign devil," in Japan the gamins run after you and say, " Look at the Chinamen!" " There go the Chinamen!" while their commercial instinct is betrayed by the shout, "Chinamen, Chinamen! have you any thing to sell?"--From Narrative of the Earl of Elgin's mission to China and Japan--
This trifling circumstance enables us forcibly to realize the extent of that entire exclusion of strangers which has been for so long so jealously and successfully maintained.
It is hard to imagine this situation occurring today, but on the other hand, I wonder if someone from East Asia walking through the streets of America today could be assured of having their nationality correctly identified by passersby.