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Maritime Trade Networks of Medieval Japan

April 11, 2021 Eastern Time

TBA (Westchester)
NY United States

AIA Society: Westchester

Lecturer: Michelle Damian

This study demonstrates that despite the political upheaval of Japan’s late medieval period (15th – 16th c), trade connections within the Inland Sea region actually flourished, resulting in the beginnings of a regional commodities market. Until now, it has been difficult to track maritime practices in this era due to the lack of written records of medieval seafaring. Using geospatial analysis of extant documentary and archaeological evidence, however, it becomes possible to discern the flow of certain commercial goods within the Seto Inland Sea region. Through this analysis it becomes apparent that smaller ports largely unrecorded in written documents were often critical transshipment hubs, facilitating trade in the region. Furthermore, geospatial analysis allows tracking of ship captains’ voyages, providing insight into medieval seafaring practices and proving the existence of complex individual and institutional maritime networks.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Farris, William Wayne. “Shipbuilding and Nautical Technology in Japanese Maritime History: Origins to 1600.” Mariner’s Mirror 95, no. 3 (August 2009): 260–83.

Soranaka Isao. “Obama: The Rise and Decline of a Seaport.” Monumenta Nipponica 52, no. 1 (April 1, 1997): 85–102.

Shapinsky, Peter D. Lords of the Sea: Pirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2014.

Bernard Lecture


April 11, 2021
Event Category:


Peter Feinman


TBA (Westchester)
NY United States
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