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The Pirate and the Warlord

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image of Journal of Early Modern History

Abstract Starting in the second half of the sixteenth century, Japan, and especially Kyushu, experienced a surge in maritime exchange that was unprecedented in Japanese history. Alongside the boom in trade, there was a concurrent swell in maritime violence as pirates and privateers militarized East Asian waters. During this period, the port of Hirado on Kyushu emerged as one of the most important and consistently active pirate hubs, becoming a base for Chinese, Dutch, English, and Japanese mariners. This article explores Hirado’s long association with piracy and uses it to reflect on the changing nature of maritime violence in East Asia.

Affiliations: 1: Monash University


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