By David L. Howell
Japan's gorgeous metamorphosis from an remoted feudal regime to an immense commercial strength over the process the nineteeth and early 20th centuries has lengthy involved and vexed historians. during this examine, David L. Howell appears past the institutional and technological alterations that Japan's reopening to the West to probe the indigenous origins of eastern capitalism.
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Extra info for Capitalism From Within: Economy, Society, and the State in a Japanese Fishery
During the last quarter of the eighteenth century southern Hokkaido was hit by the first of a ― 55 ― series of extended periods of poor fishing. The herring stopped running in the Fukuyama area in 1776, and by 1783 catches were bad throughout the Wajinchi. They remained poor until the first decade of the nineteenth century. "People will starve to death this year," predicted gloomy residents of Esashi in 1784, but there is no evidence that conditions were ever nearly that desperate. Indeed, the domain's low population, combined with the ready availability of an abundance of marine life other than herring, put Wajinchi residents in a much better position during this period than their neighbors to the south, stricken by the Tenmei famine.
23] They were then entrusted to the care of their ― 60 ― guarantors, who were either relatives or local innkeepers. When leaving Hokkaido transients were required to pay an exit duty and obtain an exit visa (dekitte ). i...  Recipients of permanent residency, particularly in Fukuyama, were more likely to be involved in commerce than directly employed in the fishery. Fishery workers typically came to Hokkaido only for the fishing season unless they were permanent employees of a contractor or other entrepreneurial fisher, in which case they often wintered in the Ezochi.
In fact, it was easy, if hardly pleasant, for merchants, fishery workers, religious travelers, and even tourists to enter the domain so long as their papers were in order and they were willing to submit to a cumbersome and humiliating bureaucratic procedure before being admitted. Upon arrival in Matsumae all transients (tabibito ) went through a series of interrogations regarding their origins, occupation, and reasons for coming to the domain. The questioning process was harsh, and the officials involved—like immigration officers everywhere—made every effort to appear stern and forbidding.