- For the samurai clan, see Sakai clan.
- Japanese: 堺 (Sakai)
Sakai is a port town near Osaka which, in the 15th-17th centuries was a major center of merchant activity, including especially maritime trade and the manufacture and trade in firearms; it was also a center of arts and culture, tea ceremony in particular. The merchant leaders of Sakai managed to maintain a considerable degree of independence from samurai control throughout much of the Sengoku period.
The city was governed by a board of thirty-six merchant councilors called egôshû, and was walled off and surrounded with moats, not unlike some of the free cities of Europe. After 1568, the more independent egôshû were replaced by Oda Nobunaga with families he selected; they gained power, favor, and protection for the city from Nobunaga in exchange for providing services and gifts of prized tea implements and other Chinese treasures to him.
Despite the chaos and turmoil of the Sengoku period, Sakai reportedly saw little violence - even in the form of street brawls.
- Morgan Pitelka. "Art, Agency, and Networks in the Career of Tokugawa Ieyasu." in A Companion to Asian Art and Architecture. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, 451.
- Yokoyama Manabu 横山学, Ryûkyû koku shisetsu torai no kenkyû 琉球国使節渡来の研究, Tokyo: Yoshikawa kôbunkan (1987), 36.
- Eiko Ikegami, Bonds of Civility, Cambridge University Press (2005), 122.
- Morgan Pitelka, Spectacular Accumulation, University of Hawaii Press (2016), 28-30.
- Bezaisen to santo 「弁才船と三都」、Asahi hyakka Nihon rekishi 62, p7-46.