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By L. M. Cullen

Supplying a particular evaluation of the pressures chargeable for the emergence of recent Japan, Louis Cullen rejects the normal barriers of eastern historiography and combines fiscal, social, and political ways to create a strong research. Cullen experiences the japanese adventure of growth, social transition, commercial development, financial concern and warfare, to offer an island kingdom that could be a starting to be commercial strength with little conception of its world wide context.

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Extra resources for A History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds

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Japanese distrust of the Chinese deepened in the 1620s and 1630s; equally, acts of aggression by Europeans added to doubts about westerners. They were, however, at least on the Japanese side, a welcome supplementary aid to essential exchanges which were constrained by many circumstances when conducted on Chinese or Japanese vessels. In a high-value trade carried out in a small number of vessels, European traders were not at a handicap in actual operations, especially as they were more capitalised than the numerous small traders (running into hundreds) who crowded onto the larger of the Chinese vessels.

2 In China Japanese were excluded, and equally China’s traders, if 1 2 Kaempfer’s Japan: Tokugawa culture observed (Honolulu, 1999), ed. B. M. 44. On Kaempfer, see also The furthest goal: Engelbert Kaempfer’s encounter with Tokugawa Japan, ed. B. M. Bodart-Bailey and D. M. Massarella (Folkestone, Kent, 1995). For a short account of the Wako, see M. B. 6–7. The trade ban of 1557 was relaxed within ten years to 20 A History of Japan, 1582–1941 they ventured to Japan, were disregarding prohibitions imposed in their homeland.

As the output of silver expanded and military expenditure wound down after 1600, silver in Japan ceased to be a commodity to hoard for either domestic or military purposes, and became one to sell on the open market. The silk, whose import the silver financed, was highly desirable. Raw silk was troublesome to prepare. Separating the silk spun by the silkworms from the cocoons was a difficult task: this raw silk, once reeled, was the basic material of the weaving branch of the textile industry. Highquality silk was the prized dress of the upper classes; it was also an important gift good, and to some degree a store of value.

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