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20714Re: [SCA-JML] Japanese piracy

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  • Ii Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.)
    Mar 7, 2006
      On 3/7/06, Rick Johnson <rikjohnson@...> wrote:
      >
      > I've been tryingto find materials on that myself (for a writing matter,
      > not persona) and have found almost nothing.
      >

      Well, have you been looking up 'Wako'? I'm not sure how much you will find
      written down. From a Japanese point of view, I don't believe piracy was a
      major threat because, although an island nation, much of the history seems
      to have to do with what was happening on land, and I'm not sure that the
      pirates were really as active around the Japanese coast as they were
      elsewhere (Ryukyu/Okinawa islands, Korea, China, etc.). One of my East
      Asian history professors claimed that the major impetus for the piracy came
      out of the trade delegations sent from the 'King of Japan' to the Chinese
      imperial court: The Japanese, like many, had learned that by claiming to be
      nominal vassals of the Chinese court they could actually get better gifts
      than they gave (part of the court's attempt to show how magnanimous they
      were). However, with all of the fighting going on in Japan in the 14th
      century and later, various domains would send their own delegations--and the
      Chinese, growing tired of multiple delegations, only recognized one (from
      what he said, it was a first-come-first-served basis). That left many crews
      with nothing to take home and a perilous journey--and it was much simpler to
      raid the Chinese coast and capture what they needed to make it all worth
      their while.

      I'm not sure if any pirates ever stood out like the privateers who were
      romanticized in Europe, though. Depictions of pirates seem to be of a bunch
      of low-class and depraved scum--lower than ronin in the whole social order.
      However, these are all just my perceptions based on what I've seen, read,
      and heard, and could be wrong. Still, I would look to Korean, Chinese,
      Okinawan, and Indo-Chinese histories for more info on Japanese piracy.

      -Ii


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