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Notes On The Early Ch’Ing Copper Trade With Japan

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Chapter Summary

Ch'ing trade with Japan is well reported not only in familiar Japanese and Dutch sources but in a wealth of Chinese material as well. This chapter assembles a brief survey of the first century of Ch'ing intercourse with Japan, with special reference to the trade in copper and its relationship to the operations of the Chinese mints. Ch'ing China, for a period of nearly forty years, was totally dependent upon Japan for the copper which went into its currency issues. During this period the Chinese mints were consuming about 40,000 piculs of copper annually, all of which was imported from Japan. Though greatly shrunken in volume, the Chinese junk trade with Japan was to endure into the middle of the nineteenth century, when new conditions brought on by the activities of the Western trading nations forced a change in the relationship between the two countries.

Keywords: Ch'ing China; Chinese mints; copper; Japan; Junk trade; Western trading nations



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