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PORCELAIN AND POWER: COMPARATIVE REGIONAL ANALYSIS OF INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING IN TOKUGAWA JAPAN

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Ariko Ota*
Affiliation:
Tokyo Metropolitan University E-mail aota@tmu.ac.jp

Abstract

This article analyzes the political context of industrialization in Tokugawa Japan through an analysis of merchandising policies for porcelains. With a comparison of the regions where the major sites of porcelain production were located, the study examines the processes by which arrangements for porcelain distribution were organized in the domains of Saga and Owari, and the district of Mino. The analysis shows contrasting types of arrangements in terms of the objectives and major agents who were responsible for making these policies and regulations. These policies and arrangements reflected the relationships between political authorities and those who were engaged in porcelain production and distribution in each region. The relationships varied significantly from each other, ranging from direct control by the regional authority, to relatively equal bargaining power, to extensive merchant autonomy. Comparative analysis of power relations illustrates the various ways of organizing resources that shaped the regional diversities and dynamics of industrialization in Japan. The relationships strongly influenced the ways in which resources, access, and opportunities for creating and accumulating resources for porcelain production and distribution were organized. An analysis of the merchandising policies for porcelains demonstrates the impacts that the relationships between the political authorities and those who were engaged in the production and distribution of porcelains had on industrialization in nineteenth-century Tokugawa Japan.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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PORCELAIN AND POWER: COMPARATIVE REGIONAL ANALYSIS OF INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING IN TOKUGAWA JAPAN
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