Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan, Volume 1

By Yosaburō Takekoshi

Why am I interested in a 1930's book with the esoteric title "The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan" you ask? And what has it got to do with Tékumel? 

What indeed! :-)  (Did I mention that there are at least 3 volumes in the series?) :-)

Fortunately, I think I am only interested in Volume One, which covers the earlier phases of Japan's rich history. I discovered this book while conducting deeper research into koku. See my previous post on the subject for my reasons. Google actually offers a pretty good preview of the text - except there are gaps in all the wrong places. Here are some sample pages: 418 unfortunately not part of the preview. :-(

These pages show the koku associated with all the fiefs of feudal Japan in the Toyotomi Age. Unfortunately, page 418 is not included in the preview and that would be the page to detail the Shogun's holdings and those of the wealthiest lords. These preview pages are not without use, however, even with that gap. 

For example, page 421 states that the total number of lords is 61. But it goes on to say that the land was divided between the Shogun (Hideyoshi) and 160 others. This I don't exactly understand. Pages 419 and 420 of the preview have 50 entries each and page 421 has I think 30 more. The missing page 418 could have another 50, giving a total of 180. Looking at the entries, some are shown by identifying the province and others are not, perhaps indicating that some lords have multiple fiefs under their control. I assume that is also the case with the Shogun, so while there are 61 lords (plus the Shogun?) there are 161 fiefdoms? Is that what it is saying? 

There are other tantalizing details in the preview but in every case the missing pages get in the way of full understanding. :-(

I discovered that a copy of the original edition is available for about 700-800 GBP but I don't have that kind of cash. I have managed to order a copy of a later reprinted edition which as just over $25 plus postage. :-) That will not arrive until the New Year - February, actually if the delivery estimate is accurate. (Hopefully not!)

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