Across the Perilous Sea: Japanese Trade with China and Korea from the Seventh to the Sixteenth Centuries
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244pp. February 2010
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Across the Perilous Sea: Japanese Trade with China and Korea from the Seventh to the Sixteenth Centuries
Author: von Verschuer, Charlotte; Translator: Hunter, Kristen Lee;
Originally published as Le commerce extérieur du Japon des origines au XVIe siècle in 1988, this new edition of the landmark French study chronicles Japan’s transformation from an importer of continental luxury items, raw materials, and techniques to an exporter of high-quality merchandise over nearly a millennium. The vicissitudes of foreign trade policy, as well as the volume and balance of trade, are examined within the context of regional political and economic developments. All aspects of state-sanctioned and unofficial external commerce are considered. Indeed, this volume reveals that proliferation of private foreign trade constituted a vital link between Japan and its neighbors throughout the suspension of diplomatic relations from the ninth to the fourteenth century. Evidence culled from Japanese, Chinese, and Korean annals and administrative compendia, archaeological excavations, classic literature, artifact collections, and monk and courtier diaries attests to the spectacular diversity of foreign trade goods and their significance in pre-Tokugawa Japanese society.

Methodically revised, and featuring an updated, expanded bibliography and redesigned maps, as well as a précis on the state of the field since the original publication, the 2006 English edition is an indispensable resource for scholars and the teaching of premodern East Asian regional history.


Cornell East Asia Series #133
Distributed for the Cornell University East Asia Program
Author: von Verschuer, Charlotte; Translator: Hunter, Kristen Lee;



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