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Honda Toshiaki

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Honda Toshiaki was a geographer known for his writings on the subject of Ezo (Hokkaidô).

In his Saiiki monogatari ("Tales of the West"), written in 1798, he paints a romantic vision of the wealth and power of the Western powers, especially of the United Kingdom, and advocates that Japan pursue a similar stance of more actively engaging with the world as a maritime trading power. He suggests that Japan should annex a number of the islands neighboring it to the north, and even suggests relocating the capital to Kamchatka. He also advocated the establishment of defined borders between Japan and other countries, such that "a fortress" could be built "to withstand foreign enemies."[1]

This volume, which also spoke of the economic advantage of importing natural products and exporting manufactured goods, was never published, and did not circulate widely. Arai Hakuseki's more widely circulated arguments about the dangers of exporting precious metals, and the lack of necessity of foreign trade for the import of luxury goods, were much more widely accepted.

References

  • Mitani Hiroshi, David Noble (trans.), Escape from Impasse, International House of Japan (2006), 5.
  1. Tessa Morris-Suzuki, "The Frontiers of Japanese Identity," in Stein Tønnesson and Hans Antlöv (eds.), Asian Forms of the Nation, Psychology Press (1996), 54.
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