Cover: Coins, Trade, and the State: Economic Growth in Early Medieval Japan, from Harvard University PressCover: Coins, Trade, and the State in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 334

Coins, Trade, and the State

Economic Growth in Early Medieval Japan

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Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674060685

Publication Date: 07/11/2011


276 pages

6 x 9 inches

10 halftones

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs

World, subsidiary rights restricted

Segal’s book is a highly readable, lively analysis of money, trade, and the economy in pre-1600 Japan, with emphasis on the first half (late Heian through Kamakura periods) of the medieval age… Given its readability and substantive coverage, Coins, Trade, and the State could be used in Japanese history courses at all levels, surveys through graduate seminars… [Segal] richly illustrates how various members of society participated in a complex economy, including those with estate affiliations as well as those in warrior domains. This approach to history could put an end to the still-common notion that Japan before the early modern (Tokugawa) period was an economically primitive place, a sea of self-sufficiency.—Suzanne Gay, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

Segal breaks new ground in Japanese history by focusing on economic developments in the 12th–13th centuries that laid the groundwork for the economic growth Japan experienced during the period of political decentralization and civil war in the 14th–16th centuries. In doing so, Segal fills a gap in knowledge of the economic history of Japan before the Edo period. Using evidence coaxed from a wide range of original Japanese sources and writing in an accessible style, he shows how the circulation of copper coins and the expansion of trade led to the emergence of a market-centered economy. A key part of this story is how the peripheral elites such as merchants, warriors, estate managers, and religious leaders devised new ways to circumvent the traditional center-controlled forms of commodity taxes and exchange by importing Chinese coinage, trading in local markets, and devising an effective system of long-distance money remittance. The author’s fresh analysis of the Kamakura bakufu’s late-13th-century ‘virtuous government’ (tokusei) decrees is particularly noteworthy.—M. D. Erickson, Choice

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