The Namban Trade

Merchants and Missionaries in 16th and 17th Century Japan


Winner of the prize "Fundação Oriente – Embaixador João de Deus Ramos" of the Academia de Marinha 2021

This book attempts to depict certain aspects of the Portuguese trade in East Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries by analyzing the activities of the merchants and Christian missionaries involved. It also discusses the response of the Japanese regime in handling the systemic changes that took place in the Asian seas. Consequently, it explains how Jesuit missionaries forged close ties with local merchants from the start of their activities in East Asian waters, and there is no doubt that the propagation of Christianity in Japan was a result of their cooperation. The author of this book attempted to combine the essence of previous studies by Japanese and western scholars and added several new findings from analyses of original Japanese and European language documents.

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Mihoko Oka, Ph.D. (1974), the University of Tokyo, is Associate Professor of the Historiographical Institute and the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies. She has published monographs, translations, edited volumes and many articles regarding Japanese history in the global context, including A Maritime History of East Asia (Kyoto University Press, 2019 (co-edited with Masashi Haneda).
"The Namban Trade is packed with information and insight. Written initially for a Japanese academic audience, it is not dominated by a single argument but rather presents a masterful analysis of individual moments. While this means that it takes time and sometimes multiple readings to fully digest, the picture it presents is nonetheless compelling.[...] Oka has made an invaluable contribution to a new assessment of Nanban trade, and her study should be read by anyone interested in Japan’s overseas entanglements". Adam Cullow, in Monumenta Nipponica 76:2 (2021).

In this very well researched book, Oka Mihoko brings new attention to various established sources, risking interpretations that will certainly open fresh lines of inquiry. Her work makes this volume a fundamental contribution to current research on the subject of early modern trade and social networks in East Asia. Alexandra Curvelo.
All interested in the Japanese history, and especially in the global context.
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