Nihon-Machi: Japanese Diasporic Communities of Southeast Asia

Geoffrey C. Gunn

in History Without Borders

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083343
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882208988 | DOI:
Nihon-Machi: Japanese Diasporic Communities of Southeast Asia

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One of the more exotic of the Asian diasporic communities of seventeenth-century Southeast Asia was that of the Japanese who formed Nihon-machi, or Japantowns, in a number of court cities, Asian trading ports, and European fortified cities. In large part, these communities developed as a consequence of Japanese participation in the Shuinsen, or “red seal” trade, under which official passports were issued to select merchant groups. The formation of Nihon-machi in Southeast Asian ports was an episode lasting but one or two generations, but there had been a broader engagement of Japan with East-Southeast Asia over a longer time frame. This chapter seeks to examine the political and commercial impacts that the Japanese traders and adventurers had on local Southeast Asian societies. It also discusses Japan's trading legacy in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the chapter discusses the impacts that the overseas connection had on Japan's own internal economy and politics.

Keywords: Asian diasporic communities; Southeast Asia; Nihon-machi; Shuinsen; Japanese traders

Chapter.  9841 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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