Hoi An is on the central coast of Vietnam, a short distance south of Da Nang. Its role as a major trading port for Southeast Asia dates back more than two thousand years. By the 15th century it was an important trading center for Chinese, Japanese and European maritime interests. In the mid-17th century the Japanese shogun prohibited foreign travel which stifled the Japanese community and its trade in Hoi An, then known as Fai Fo. The Chinese prospered and there remains a Chinese community today. The importance of the town as a port was diminished by at least two events: the silting of the Thu Bon River, and the shifting of commercial activity about 25 miles to the north, to Da Nang after the French gained influence in the country. Perhaps because of its reduced commercial importance, Hoi An was unscathed by the French and Amercian wars, and today it attracts tourists because of its old world charm and the Chinese, Japanese and French architecture in its Ancient Town on the Thu Bon.