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The Shift to Domestic Sugar and the Ideology of 'The National Interest'

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about changes caused by shifting from imported sugar to domestically produced sugar in Japan in the latter part of the Tokugawa era. The rise of domestic sugar production is related to the formation of this conception of national interest since sugar was regarded as a luxury item and not an essential. Research on how to establish domestic sugar production by planting sugar cane, called kansha, was initiated in the first half of the Tokugawa era. Tamura Ransui who was a doctor and an herbalist, researched sugar cultivation. Ikegami Tarozaemon worked on the sugar project from 1761, researching methods for the cultivation of sugar cane as well as techniques for the refinement of brown and white sugar. The shift to domestic sugar, which was actively promoted from the middle of the eighteenth century onward, was a measure to prevent the overseas drain of gold, silver, and copper.

Keywords: domestic sugar; Ikegami Tarōzaemon; Japan; national interest; Tamura Ransui; Tokugawa era



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