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INTRA-ASIAN TRADE AND THE BAKUMATSU CRISIS: RECONSIDERING TOKUGAWA COMMERCIAL POLICIES IN LATE EDO PERIOD JAPAN

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 December 2004

Robert I. Hellyer
Affiliation:
Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania rhellyer@allegheny.edu

Abstract

By moving away from locating the significance of late Edo period Japanese foreign trade within the context of industrialization, this essay offers an alternative interpretation of the weakness of the Tokugawa regime and contrasting success of the Satsuma domain during the bakumatsu period crisis of the mid-nineteenth century. It argues that the marine product export trade to China provides a useful tool to understand the Tokugawa commercial strategy that focused not on “capital accumulation,” so important in the Western experience, but on supporting the economy of Nagasaki and the port's key role in the system of foreign relations. In turn it shows how Satsuma, not fettered with the same “national” goals, developed a more flexible strategy that used marine product exports to build a broad domestic and foreign trade network. With its commercial enterprises, Satsuma challenged Tokugawa commercial dominance and by implication, political authority, contributing to the larger political divisions that helped to define the bakumatsu crisis.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2004

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INTRA-ASIAN TRADE AND THE BAKUMATSU CRISIS: RECONSIDERING TOKUGAWA COMMERCIAL POLICIES IN LATE EDO PERIOD JAPAN
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INTRA-ASIAN TRADE AND THE BAKUMATSU CRISIS: RECONSIDERING TOKUGAWA COMMERCIAL POLICIES IN LATE EDO PERIOD JAPAN
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