How Japan became part of the pre modern world system

Today our topic is history of japan and we will discuss how japan became part of the pre modern world system.By focusing attention on the connections between the various economies and societies composing the immense Eurasian continent, global history sometimes seems to neglect its most outlying archipelago, namely Japan. This can forgetfulness seems even less understandable that the country plays a crucial role, from the 17 th century, in metal money supply of China placed then probably at the heart of the world-system and instrumenting, in fact, the Portuguese and Dutch navigators present in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific [cf. our chronicle of March 22, 2010]. Similarly, it is undoubtedly the 18 th and 19 thcenturies, even before the Meiji era, that the Tokugawa power had created the basis for Japan’s subsequent accession to the American hegemon as a challenger, as could have been experienced in the 1960s-1990s [Moulder, 1977 ; Nakane and Oishi, 1990]. Below these periods, however, before the 16 th century, Japan does seem marginalized and receive little example of the crucial changes permitted, Asia, the dynamism of the Chinese dynasties Tang (618-907 ), then Song (960-1271), nevertheless neighbors … But would not this be an illusion? If we accept the idea that the global phase of growth, urbanization, population growth and technical innovation that covers the 7 th , 8 th and 9 thcentury, expresses the reality of a first world-system centered on China and propelled by the institutional changes brought about by the Tang Dynasty (Beaujard, 2009, pp. 96-108; Adshead, 2004], what about Japan within this first system? When and in what forms can it be estimated that the land of the rising sun has been integrated with it? What have been the consequences for its economy, its political system and its social structures? This paper aims to shed some light on these issues. The issue is significant because it concerns the relevance of the concept of the world-system, but also, as we shall see, Polanyi’s thesis about the embedding of the economic in the social or the nature of what ‘it is customary to call smithian growth …

History Of Japan In 6th Century

Until the end of the 6 th century, Japan is actually remained quite outside the life of the Asian continent, but not isolated. The way of subsistence was long based on gathering, hunting and fishing, the forest and marine environment facilitating these three activities. It was in the last centuries before our era that, probably viathe immigration of Korean elements, the islanders began to develop the cultivation of rice. However, Japan’s climatic conditions, poor soil, weak tools and erosion problems seem to have delayed a veritable agricultural revolution, which was very unevenly distributed across the country, faced with a system of fishing-gathering that remained more efficient, at least on Kyûshû and Hokkaidô. On the other hand, the Japanese knew techniques such as ironwork, lacquer or silk which they may have borrowed from China via Korean immigration. It was during the Kofun period, the names of immense graves of the time, between 3 th and 6 th century, that these innovations have given fruit: improvement of iron tools, ability to irrigate crops, use of three-foot kettles, progress of ceramics, use of horse … In the same spirit, the State of Yamato which is set up at this time clearly copies Korean models.

History Of Japan

Starting from the 7 thcentury and the beginning of the Tang expansion in Asia, these relations will take on a completely different dimension. In foreign trade, in particular, the Chinese suppressed individual merchants and practically recognized exchanges only in a tributary mode: any kingdom outside the Middle Empire was supposed to come to recognize China as a suzerain, to bring to the emperor tributes of price, sometimes to receive in exchange more gifts more sumptuous yet. This is a fairly frequent practice of the political powers which sought to contain the market in societies where it was seen as a disincentive to more traditional practices of reciprocity or redistribution [Polanyi, 1983]. Within this framework of strict control, the Japanese had to send about twenty diplomatic missions over three centuries,kentoshi [Nara National Museum, 2010] . These missions sought, in particular, to obtain knowledge of the organizational techniques of China, which would lead to the code Taiho(701). They were also often led by religious and Japanese Buddhism was reinforced by the Chinese cultural contributions. But these missions should also stimulate trade between the two economies in two different and complementary ways. In the first place, the resale of the gifts obtained gradually accustomed the consumers of each country to use the products manufactured by the partner: silk and Chinese books quickly found an outlet in Japan while spices, medicinal products and horses Japanese respondents responded to a demand in China. Secondly, the presence of private merchants became increasingly inescapable and, indeed, under the Sung, many Chinese merchants settled in Japan to sell textiles and re-export gold or leather. On the other hand, lack of reliable boats, few Japanese merchants went the other way. But we see here that state control of trade finally allowed its rise on an individual and private basis by creating needs and justifying the intervention of flexible individuals …

History Of Japan

The paradox is that these exchanges took a very long time to harmonize the economic evolutions between China and Japan, a sign that it was a long time to truly integrate into the world system of the 7 th -9 th centuries. During this period, Chinese growth was remarkable with rapidly growing agricultural production (especially with Lower Yangzi settlement), while urbanization was evident and population growth was spectacular. From 600 to the beginning of the 12 thcentury, Japanese cities on the other hand do not progress [Wayne Farris, 2009, p. 59] and the product stagnates or decreases, notably due to recurrent epidemics and especially deadly and disastrous crops. While some of the factors that are specifically Japanese are partly responsible for these phenomena (a population that is too compact for the creation of immunities to be general, particular difficulties for agriculture), it is also clear that Japan has not benefited rapidly from China’s the time, such as rice varieties for a double harvest, present in China since at least the 11 th century and in Japan recorded only 13 e. Transmission failure or Japanese inability to use them? Whatever the answer, the time lag is objective and marks a lack of obvious synchronism.

History Of Japan

Everything changes against by the middle of the 12 th century when Chinese demand for Japanese products (including gold and furs) now generates a recurring trade deficit of China vis-à-vis Japan [Wayne Farris, 2009, p. 95]. Under these conditions, the monetization of the Japanese economy is facilitated by the clear entry of Song pieces and the Taira clan, which is also the repository of the Japanese armed force, creates a commercial empire by allying itself with merchants working with the continent . Growth is accelerating, showing once again that an increase in external outlets is undoubtedly the best adjunct to revitalize and restructure a languid economy, as Adam Smith correctly explained in The Wealth of Nationsby invoking the effect of foreign trade on the famous division of labor. In the case of Japan, it is, in fact, less the growth of the outlets that is involved than their translation in the form of a sustainable trade surplus and its consequences for the entry of money. With the latter, prices tend to increase and encourage productive activities for the market, thereby necessitating the creation of labor and land markets to meet the new needs of producers. In fact, the land market (with cash payment) doubles its activity between 1220 and 1283 as local markets increase and use of the bill develops [Wayne Farris, 2009, p. 121]. In other words, this external surplus clearly had as a corollary a crucial institutional change for the market economy. Above all, the end of the Song dynasty saw the Japanese conjuncture rejoining that of China, which was particularly brilliant. Japan was now part of a world system on which the Mongols were soon to make their mark.

History Repeating Itself