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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - Merchants.docx

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East Asian Studies
Sara Osenton

EAS246 Lecture 6 MAR14/2013 Merchants Recall - Education th o By mid-18 c., many non-samurai were going to school o Terakoya (temple schools) offering primary school education in most villages o Increased literacy - Printing o Guide books, novels, picture prints, poetry, cookbooks - Castle towns o Edo – bureaucratic center o Osaka – industrial/merchant centre o Kyoto – cultural center o Castle towns in each domain with their own system (mini-Edos) - Post-towns o “pit stops” for travellers/daimyo/vassals to rest and replenish o They become thriving cities on their own Shinōkōshō/SPAM - Merchants at bottom (but not in reality) - At the start of the Tokugawa period, the focus was on the samurai and the agricultural class - Not much distinction between merchants and artisans - Merchants considered less because they made nothing - Movement between class was prohibited but we know merchants did buy samurai status because it was prohibited by Yoshimune Merchants - Lots of opportunity for merchants - Ingratiated themselves to lords  make themselves necessary - Organized complex financial and distribution systems - Organizations which held monopolies over some industries to protect their interests Samurai - Prevented from engaging in trade, therefore needed merchants o Merchants were left with a monopoly over internal trade - Although movement between class was prohibited, samurai did sometimes become merchants o Need money to buy class Merchants - With the merchants there were elite merchants like those who controlled the rice market - Also lesser merchants who engaged in smaller day-to-day business Industry - Tea, tobacco, wax, indigo, salt, knives, sword, pottery, lacquer ware, silk, cotton, soy sauce, sake, paper, stone cutting, medicine, chemicals, sugar Osaka Merchants - Few samurai in Osaka - Liked the good life  head business owner gets the business going, retire, leave the business to his son, former owner then educates and learns and become cultured - Osaka merchants were proudly the “merchants of the nation” - Valued hard work, family enterprise, sincerity and frugality Edo Merchants EAS246 Lecture 6 MAR14/2013 - Edo was filled with samurai, their family, attendant and servants so only half of Edo was merchants - Edo merchants were big spenders on fancy clothes, furnishings and entertainment Merchants at Play - Merchants from all cities enjoyed the theatre and the pleasure districts - Warnings to avoid these places were not based on morality but on frugality Pleasure Districts - In Edo, Yoshiwara district was set up to keep urban disorder confined and to the side of town - Similar areas were then made in Osaka, Kyoto and then other castle cities - Samurai weren’t supposed to go but dressed as merchants so they could go - Samurai and merchants on eq
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