- 東アジア文化交渉研究 = Journal of East Asian Cultural Interaction Studies (ISSN:18827748)
- vol.3, pp.335-357, 2010-03-31
During the Edo period (1603–1868), Japan steadfastly maintained its national seclusion policy. Japan’s constant cultural interaction with foreign countries, therefore, took place mainly in the following ways: direct contacts with China and the Netherlands, centering on trade in Nagasaki; contacts with Korea through the So clan on Tsushima Island; and indirect contacts with China via the Kingdom of Ryukyu under the control of the Satsuma clan. Quantitatively, the largest number of direct contacts were made through trade by Chinese junks, called karafune in the Edo period, sailing to Nagasaki almost every year. Japan imported sugar made in China in large quantities through trade by Chinese junks almost annually. Much of the sugar imported from China was produced in coastal areas, such as Chaozhou in the eastern part of Guangdong Province, Xiamen and Quanzhou in southern Fujian Province, as well as in Taiwan. In the early part of the Edo period, China-made sugar was imported by Chinese junks sailing directly from these production areas to Japan. In the mid- and late-Edo period, however, sugar produced in China was not directly transported to Japan; it was first carried by coastal merchant vessels to Zhapu in Zhejiang Province, where the sugar was loaded onto Chinese junks sailing from Zhapu to Japan, and then transported to Nagasaki. Most of the sugar landing in Nagasaki was transported by domestic routes, mainly by Japanese-style wooden ships to Osaka, and then distributed nationwide. Meanwhile, in the early 18th century after the Kyoho era (1716–1736), cane sugar production was encouraged in Japan, following the instruction of the then shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune( 1684–1751). This enabled Japan to increase its number of sugarproducing districts and amount of sugar production, also improving the quality of the sugar. In an attempt to determine how to establish cultural interaction studies as a field of historical research, this paper reports on sugar imports through Sino-Japan trade and on the expansion of domestic sugar consumption in the Edo period, as a way of considering the issue of cultural interaction from the perspective of physical distribution in East Asia.