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Money And The State: Medieval Precursors Of The Early Modern Economy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter highlights some aspects of medieval economic thought and practice for finding points of continuity between the Tokugawa age and the centuries that preceded it. It talks about the ways the elites as well as commoners used money and understood its place in medieval society. It is suggested that the rise of a money economy was a relatively recent, urban development of the Tokugawa period. Coins bequeathed a very real legacy to early modern Japan by remaining in circulation well beyond the end of the medieval period, thereby facilitating the transition to Tokugawa currency. Urbanization, peace, infrastructure, and a stable central government allowed for economic growth at levels that far outshone the pace of economic activity in medieval times. In some ways, the Tokugawa-period baku-han system which allowed independent domains to issue their own paper moneymight not be as strong as it is represented in the chapter.

Keywords: coin; economy; Japan; money; Tokugawa



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