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Social History (3) – Japan As A Maritime Nation

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Chapter Summary

Amino Yoshihiko has asserted that the view that Japan was an island country was flawed because it ignored the fact that marine transportation could have connected peoples on separate islands and continents. Like Amino Yoshihiko, Yamaji Aizan asserted that Japan was a maritime nation and had waterborne links with neighbouring countries, which was neglected in both the imperial view of history and the unilinear progressive view of history. From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the wakō ('Japanese' pirates) attacked people on the coast of China and the Korean Peninsula. It was Yamaji's belief that Toyotomi Hideyoshi's invasion of the Korean Peninsula should be discussed in the context of international relations, and should not be studied only in the context of Japanese history. Yamaji Aizan suggested that Japan was a maritime country, investigating the life and achievements of Iwasaki Yatarō, who lived around the time of the Meiji Restoration.

Keywords: Amino Yoshihiko; Iwasaki Yatarō; Japanese history; Korean Peninsula; maritime nation; wakō; Yamaji Aizan



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