The American Merchant Experience in Nineteenth Century Japan

The American Merchant Experience in Nineteenth Century Japan

The American Merchant Experience in Nineteenth Century Japan

The American Merchant Experience in Nineteenth Century Japan

Excerpt

Jacob Burckhardt once wrote that history is "what one age finds worthy of note in another". The history of American merchants living in their insular little foreign communities in the treaty ports of nineteenth-century Japan is, in many ways, what I find worthy of note in my own experience. After more than three years in Japan, I naturally wondered how this earlier group reacted to things Japanese. Now, after even longer in the company of American merchants of the last century, I offer this work as an interpretation of those merchants' experience that I hope combines sympathy with criticism, awareness of their circumstances with the need to judge their actions and attitudes.

In the U.S. my thanks go out to Marlene Mayo at the University of Maryland, College Park (who suggested this topic), to Frank Joseph Shulman for the loan of his formidable bibliographic skills; to Harold Otness for sharing sources from his personal collection; to Dane Hartgrove at the National Archives for his help locating and pulling records never before used; to Wayne McWilliams for my first exposure to East Asia and for twenty-five years of friendship, help and criticism; and to David Grimsted, whose direction of the original dissertation, patience, and careful criticism I particularly appreciate. My special thanks go to my friend Paul Moreno at Hillsdale College for his willingness to read the entire manuscript, point out errors and offer suggestions for stylistic and structural changes that substantively improved this book.

In Japan, I extend my appreciation to Hisamaro Kanan of Japan Microfilm Service Center Company, Inc., who generously brought me copies of Japanese newspapers unavailable in the U.S.; to Dave Ouchi, who made available early materials concerning the Kobe Athletic and Regatta Club; to Tsunao Ohyama, who helped locate sources; and especially to my mizushobai friend Dave Turri, whose cooperation and good humor locating, copying and mailing me material solved many a research problem. My own Kobe, past and future, is bound to him in ways my merchants would have appreciated.

My thoughts also wander toward John Martin and Jim Vander Schaaf, friends of the mind and heart I will never forget, with whom I celebrated good and bemoaned evil for five precious years. I also think now of my brother-in-law Ed Naylor, whose life was the study in understanding and service in his world that I

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