- 国立民族学博物館研究報告 = Bulletin of the National Museum of Ethnology (ISSN:0385180X)
- vol.22, no.4, pp.683-763, 1998-03-31
The purpose of this paper is to clarify the trade activity of theancestors of the indigenous peoples of the Lower Amur Basin in the 18thand 19th centuries and to reexamine the discourse of their society andculture in classical ethnography. They have usually been described ashunters, fishermen, or collectors of wild plants in much ethnographysince the late 19th century, and the primitiveness of their foraging lifestyle, fishing and hunting techniques, and social structure has often beenunderlined by anthropologists, ethnologists, and historians. Thepolicies of the former Soviet Union to rescue them from the poverty causedby their primitive level of production was based on such discourse ofthe scholars.However, were they really poor? Were their life style, culture, andsociety really primitive? Historical documents written by Japanese explorersand investigators in the 18th and 19th centuries, MogamiTokunai, Mamiya Rinzo, Nakamura Koichiro, and so on, indicate thatthey had a highly sophisticated culture and a complex society. For example,modern ethnologists often underline the fact that the peoples of theLower Amur were ichthyophagi, and that a piece of dried fish occupiedthe same position as a piece of bread in European meals. On the contrary,Japanese investigators said that their staple food was a cup of boiledmillet, usually put in a small bowl of china or lacquer ware. Thoughethnologists often described fish skin coats in detail, most of theirclothes were made of cotton, and their ritual costumes were even madeof silk. It is a fact that millet, cotton, silk, china, and lacquer ware werenot their original products, but Chinese or Japanese ones which theyobtained through trade with Chinese and Japanese. It is also a fact,however, that these things occupied an important position in theircultural complex. It is an injustice for researchers not to properlyevaluate them and not to pay any attention to the trade activity.The trade activity of the ancestors of the peoples of the Lower Amurin the 18th and 19th centuries was called "Santan trade" by Japanese investigatorsof the same centuries. "Santan" was an ethnonym of the peopleof the Lower Amur, which had often been used as a name of theancestors of the indigenous people of this region as a whole. It wasMamiya Rinzo who clarified who the Santan people were. In his investigationin 1809 and 1810 he found out that the Santan lived betweenthe villages of "Uruge" (bIppH, later Russian village "MaxcrMTojm cHA") and "Poru" Mon, later Ul'chi village "LlepxbIti Ap") , thatthey called themselves "Mango" (this is the same self denotation as"Mangguni") , and that their neighbors upstream along the river werecalled "Korudekke" (Goldok) and those downstream were called"Sumerenkuru". The range of habitation, the self denotation "Mango",and the linguistic materials indicate that the Santan people wereancestors of the Tungus-speaking peoples of the Lower Amur today,especially the Ul'chi (Olcha) and a part of the lower Nanai (Goldi) .The Santan trade has long been studied as a theme of historicalstudies of Northern Japan. However, though many facts have beenclarified from the historical point of view, historians have long overlookedan important one namely that it was trade that kept the levels of lifeand culture of the peoples of the Lower Amur and Sakhalin in the 18thand 19th centuries higher than those described in ethnography. This isbecause the historians could not evaluate the function and role of tradeactivity in the society and culture of the indigenous peoples, becausetheir point of view was usually set not on the side of the indigenoustraders, but on that of authors or editors of literary sources, who wereoften government bureaucrats.This paper is one of my experiments, in which I try to describe thehistorical events of the peoples of the Lower Amur and Sakhalin such asthe Santan trade from the point of view of those who were described inthe literary sources. The final end of the experiments is a diachronicreview of the society and culture of the peoples of this region, and Iwould like to sweep away such images as "primitive", "uncivilized" or"natural people", created by anthropologists and ethnologists since theend of the 19th century.As a result of an examination of the historical literature of Japaneseinvestigators, regional government archives of the Qing dynasty (the lastdynasty of China) , reports of ethnological researches by Russianethnologists, and my own field data, I can point out the followingcharacteristics of the trade activity of the peoples of the Lower Amurand Sakhalin:1) The main peoples who were enthusiastically engaged in the Santantrade were the Santan and the Sumerenkuru (the ancestors of the AmurNivkh) , and some differences were apparent in their trading styles. Forexample, the Santan people did their business on the main traffic route ofthis region, which went from Lower Sungari to the southern end ofSakhalin through Amur and the western coast of Sakhalin, they played arole of mediator between Japanese and Chinese, and obtained a largeprofit from this business. On the contrary, the Sumerenkuru traders extendedtheir business area to the tributaries of the Lower Amur, the coastof the sea of Okhotsk and the eastern coast of Sakhalin, and played arole of distributor of Chinese and Japanese commodities among thepeoples of these areas.2) Usually the Santan and Sumerenkuru traders did not fix a businessplace but often went round their customers, being engaged in sable hunting.However, the temporary branch office of the Qing dynasty, whichwas constructed at Kiji or Deren and opened every summer, often playedthe role of a periodical market, in which the Santan and Sumerenkurutraders did their business not only with Manchu officials and merchantsbut also with other indigenous traders.3) The trading crew of Santan or Sumerenkuru traders consisted ofseveral persons from a village led by a hala i da (chief of a clan) orgashan da (head of village) nominated by the Qing dynasty.4) The conceptual classification of trade and tribute was recognized bythe Santan and Sumerenkuru peoples.5) Credit sale was the main custom of the Santan and Sumerenkurutraders in the 18th and 19th centuries. They applied it to trade with allcustomers without exception. The business with the Ainu, who, it wassaid, suffered from their debt to the Santan traders, was not a special oneto cheat them of their property.6) The trade activity of the peoples of the Lower Amur and Sakhalinswung between trade and tribute (in other words, between economy andpolitics) , influenced by the change of political conditions of this regionand the location of each people.6-1) In the 18th century, when the administrative system of the Qingdynasty was under construction on the Lower Amur and Sakhalin,tribute was superior to trade, because the regional administration of thedynasty was enthusiastically intervening in the social life of the people toestablish the sovereignty of the dynasty among them. After the end ofthe 18th century, however, when the dynasty was losing its politicalpower over the people of this region, the position of trade and tributewas reversed.6-2) The relation between trade and tribute was different among the peopleaccording to their location. I can classify them into three groups.The first is the people who lived on the main route of the trade, comparativelyfar from the regional centers of the countries (China andJapan) , i.e. the Santan and Sumerenkuru (the ancestors of the Ul'chiand Amur Nivkh) . They could take advantage of their location to intensivelyconduct their trading business without administrative intervention.The second group is those who lived on the main route of thetrade, near to the regional center of the countries, i.e. the Korudekke(the ancestors of the Nanai) and the Ainu. Their location was too closeto the center to be free from the governmental power of the countries,though their status was higher than that of the people of the first group.It was more important for them to accomplish various obligations thanto be engaged in free trade. The third group is those who lived far fromboth the main trade route and the regional center of the countries, i.e.the ancestors of the Sakhalin Nivkh, Uilta (Oroks) , Orochi, Negidars,and Evenki hunters. They were providers of fur and consumers ofChinese and Japanese products for the Santan and Sumerenkuru traders.7) The prosperity of the Santan trade from the end of 18th century to themiddle of the 19th century was held by the political and economicbalance between China and Japan on Sakhalin, and the profits of theSantan and Sumerenkuru traders were much dependent on the differencein demand and prices between China and Japan. For example, therewas a great demand for sable fur in China, and the Chinese and Manchupeople paid much for it, while the Japanese were not interested in it at alland sold it to the Santan and Sumerenkuru traders much cheaper than inChina. Therefore, their trade activity was fatally damaged by thedestruction of this balance by the third power, imperial Russia.Though I could not completely carry out the second purpose of thispaper, i.e. a reexamination of the ethnographic discourse of the societyand culture of the people of the Lower Amur basin, I could make a firststep in accomplishing it by clarifying the characteristics of their trade activity.I would like to make further steps in other papers, in which I willexamine such problems as the political background of the Santan trade,the quality and quantity of the profit of the Santan and Sumerenkurutraders, methodological problems of historical studies of the indigenouspeople of this region, and so on.