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Japan’s Medieval Economic Miracle

Japan’s Medieval Economic Miracle

Paper by Mikael Adolphson

Given online by Trinity in Japan, on December 16, 2021

Excerpt: What Japan has is what I call a mintingless monetization that kind of lacks its equivalent in other countries – and I’m the first one not to want to make Japan too unique – Japan can be explained with the same kind of logic as other countries but this seems to be different from other countries. It had an enormous impact it led to the rise of merchant classes that became very powerful from the 13th and 14th century on new trade networks, cash tax payments. By the 16th century in the Warring States Period, we actually see full armies being paid in cash, we have vassals of retainers who are paid in cash as well. So it does change the economy quite significantly.

Mikael “Mickey” Adolphson is Professor/Chair of Japanese Studies, Head of the Department of East Asian Studies, and Co-Chair of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, and currently in parallel Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala, Sweden. He is also a Fellow of Trinity College. Click here to view his university profile.

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Top Image: Bundles of 100 copper Mon coins – photo by PHGCOM / Wikimedia Commons

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