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Grant number like: FO-262028-19

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Jun Uchida
Stanford University (Stanford, CA 94305-2004)

Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan
Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020

Provincial Merchants and Japanese Imperial Expansion

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the global activities of entrepreneurs from the Japanese province of Omi (present-day Shiga) and their role in Japanese imperial expansion.  

I seek support to write a global history of the so-called Omi merchants, entrepreneurial peddlers from the province of Omi (present-day Shiga) whose wholesale activities once spanned the early modern Japanese archipelago. In the course of prior research on colonial Korea, I was surprised to discover that Omi merchants and their descendants played a disproportionate role in Japan’s empire, creating a transpacific diaspora that stretched from Seoul to Vancouver. My forthcoming book shows how Omi-Shiga natives capitalized on the commercial legacies of their forebears to expand into new domains during the modern era—from foreign trade and emigration to work, study, and travel abroad. By comparing this little-known merchant diaspora with its Chinese and European counterparts, the project brings into productive dialogue the seldom-paired histories of region and empire, even as it bridges the disciplinary divides between early modern and modern, local and global, colonialism and migration.