The Merchant’s Tale: Yokohama and the Transformation of Japan (2017)
“To an already lively cast of Restoration characters—rascals and rebels, poets and fighters—The Merchant’s Tale adds a new voice: that of the rural entrepreneur. Long on dreams but short on capital, Chūemon decamped early to the treaty port of Yokohama, where he would scramble for years to gain a profitable foothold at the epicenter of Japan’s tumultuous encounter with the modern West. Simon Partner skillfully turns his letters home into a hair-raising romp across the Tokugawa/Meiji divide. A fresh take on a fascinating time.”
– Karen E. Wigen, Stanford University
“Combining his finely honed skills as a storyteller with his deep knowledge of historical context, Partner paints a compellingly human picture of nineteenth-century Japan’s integration into the global economy, helping us understand the excitement and opportunities, as well as the risks and challenges that it opened up for those who decided to seek their fortunes in the bustling treaty port of Yokohama. The remarkable story of Shinohara Chūemon is essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the origins of modern Japan.”
– Daniel Botsman, Yale University
Visit the Columbia University Press site for this title here.