The Rise of the Merchant Class in Tokugawa Japan, 1600-1868: An Introductory Survey

The Rise of the Merchant Class in Tokugawa Japan, 1600-1868: An Introductory Survey

The Rise of the Merchant Class in Tokugawa Japan, 1600-1868: An Introductory Survey

The Rise of the Merchant Class in Tokugawa Japan, 1600-1868: An Introductory Survey

Excerpt

There is little in the history of the Tokugawa period which is not relevant to the phenomenon of the rise of the merchant class. The present study is an introduction to this vast subject. It is also an introduction and survey of the very large literature of secondary studies by Japanese scholars. There are several rival schools of Japanese economic historians, some of whose work is marred by ideological commitments. I have drawn more from the Kyoto school (especially Honjō, Horie, Miyamoto and Kanno) than any other, as I found it the most lucid and objective, and the least affected by ideological considerations. All material from Japanese sources, whether primary or secondary, has been translated by the author unless otherwise indicated.

This study was written first as a Ph.D. dissertation at the University of California. The chairman of my dissertation committee, Dr. Delmer M. Brown, interested me in Japanese economic history in my undergraduate days, and patiently guided my first studies in this field. I should like to express my warmest appreciation to him. I wish to thank the two other members of the committee, Drs. Toshio George Tsukahira and Denzel Carr, for their many helpful criticisms, suggestions and corrections.

Also, I wish to express my gratitude to the administrators of the Educational Exchange Service, U.S. Department of State, who awarded me a Fulbright scholarship to do research in Japan during the academic year 1953-1954, to the officers of the Ford Foundation who very kindly granted me a supplemental award in the form of a Ford Foundation fellowship, and to the Association for Asian Studies for undertaking the publication of this monograph. My work in Japan was under the guidance of Professor Horie Yasuzō, then Chairman of the Faculty of Economics in Kyoto University, one of the foremost Japanese economic historians.

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