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Hard Times in the HometownA History of Community Survival in Modern Japan$
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Martin Dusinberre

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835248

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835248.001.0001

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Edo Period Riches

Edo Period Riches

(p.17) 2 Edo Period Riches
Hard Times in the Hometown

Martin Dusinberre

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explores how the people of Kaminoseki and Murotsu saw, in the “beautiful” harbor that formed to the west of the straits, an opportunity. Their landscape could generate money, and by the time of Scottish botanist Robert Fortune's visit in 1860, the villagers had perfected a complex money-making system. The chapter then notes how the nascent decline of Kaminoseki and Murotsu as a port of trade and commerce was further aggravated by the impact of domestic political reform and international trade on the local economy. It is safe to say that the beginning of the ports' decline resulted from the fact that kitamae-ships were in terminal downtrend by the late 1880s. The phrase “backwater Japan” had been coined to describe the Japan Sea prefectures in which ship ownership had formerly been concentrated.

Keywords:   Kaminoseki, Murotsu, trading port, kitamae-ships, backwater Japan, Japan Sea prefectures, Robert Fortune

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