Pirates, Gunpowder, and Christianity in Late Sixteenth-Century Japan

Robert J. Antony

in Elusive Pirates, Pervasive Smugglers

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028115
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206915 | DOI:
Pirates, Gunpowder, and Christianity in Late Sixteenth-Century Japan

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This chapter analyzes the interactions between merchants, Christian missionaries and Japanese converts, daimyos, and pirates in the late sixteenth century. It highlights the role of Japanese and Chinese pirates in the clandestine manufacturing and smuggling of gunpowder between Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. It analyzes the dynamics of powerful bands of pirates, such as the Shirai clan and shows how piratical sea lords helped develop castle towns around the Seto Inland Sea.

Keywords: merchants; Christian missionaries; Japanese converts; daimyos; pirates; gunpowder; Shirai clan; Seto Inland Sea

Chapter.  5290 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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