Japanese Society and Culture


Shiga Shigetaka, Maritime Trade, Heterogeneous Civilization, Globalization, Southward Progress

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Shiga Shigetaka (志賀重昂, 1863-1927) was a Japanese geographer of the mid-Meiji period, one of the Southern Expedition theorists, a conservative, and a Classical Chinese poet. At that time, he was one of the very few scholars who had knowledge of geography and Classical Chinese poetry and cultural arts, as well as had many experiences in Europe, Asia, the United States and Oceania.

Through his own geographical knowledge and foreign experience, Shiga constructed a world map with global trade as the main constituent. Here are some examples: Japanese-made round paper fans (uchiwa, 団扇) and parasols can be sold to Australia; New Zealand wool can be sold to Japan; the opposite seasons in the southern hemisphere and in the northern hemisphere can alleviate the inventory cost and manufacturing schedule pressure of seasonal goods, etc. Indeed, it should not be overlooked that as a Japanese intellectual who saw the result of the restoration, Shiga naturally conceived a trade map with Japan as the starting point and Japan's national interests as the core of his theory.

What this article is trying to discuss is whether in the competition between different regions, which is now an unavoidable wave of globalization, it is possible for us to provide a different path for contemporaries to think through Shiga Shigetaka’s observation of maritime trade and global issues.

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