Kaiiki-Shi and World/Global History: A Japanese Perspective

  • Hideaki Suzuki
Open Access
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History book series (PASTCGH)


This chapter focuses on kaiiki-shi in Japanese historiography and tries to connect it to world/global history. Currently, in conjunction with the growing interest in world/global history, kaiiki-shi certainly established its position in Japanese academia. Its perspective unveils cross-boundary communications and makes us realize the existence of a rich ‘worlds’ across conventional boundaries. From this perspective, national boundaries are dissolved. In this respect, kaiiki-shi is remarked by world/global historians in Japan. However, what we need to keep in mind is the fact that more and more we argue kaiiki-shi and more and more we recognize its significance, kaiiki certainly obtains its geographical boundary. In order to seek a real connection between kaiiki-shi and world/global history, certainly this is the mine we need to sweep.

1 Introduction

‘Kaiiki-shi (海域史)’ certainly establishes a position in historical studies in Japan today. Kaiiki-shi is well included, for example, in the scope of Iwanami series of world history and that of Japanese history; both have a good reputation as a distinguished collection of historical studies in Japan. The latest series of world history has a volume entitled Islam and Indian Ocean World, 16th to 18th Centuries, 1 and that of Japanese history consists of several Kaiiki-shi-related chapters. 2 Furthermore, a number of projects are ongoing and new publications come out annually.

Kaiiki-shi is very hard to translate into English. It is literally the history of ‘kaiiki (海域)’. ‘Kaiiki’ can be divided into ‘kai (海)’, which means ocean or sea, and ‘iki (域)’, which means region or area. However, historians generally do not intend to include some spatially limited nuance in this term of ‘kaiiki-shi’ in a strict sense. A common translation for ‘kaiiki-shi’ in English is ‘maritime history’. Although maritime history has a variety of definitions, this translation can be fair if we follow the manner of Frank Broeze, who regarded maritime history as a study covering various relationships between humans and the sea. 3 Indeed, nowadays, various human activities in the sea are discussed in the framework of Kaiiki-shi. However, we need to note that the similarity of Kaiiki-shi to maritime history in this manner is a rather new trend which covers last decade or two. Rather than seeking for a conclusive definition of Kaiiki-shi, this chapter aims at explaining what Kaiiki-shi is in its development in Japanese historiography in order to examine my second aim, which is discussed in the following paragraph. Its development is not straightforward, and I do not intend to make a long list to cover all the publications related to this field. 4 My description of the development of Kaiiki-shi eventually meets world/global history. Thus, only limited references related to this direction are mentioned in the following argument.

The second aim of this chapter is to argue both consistency and inconsistency between Kaiiki-shi and world/global history. Obviously, in the last decade and a half, historians in Japan become much keener to world/global history, and many of them seek for the breakthrough in Kaiiki-shi towards world/global history. However, at the same time, scholarly efforts to encourage Kaiiki-shi ironically seem to close the bridge between two. This observation of Japanese academia will shed light on the future possibilities and obstacles of world/global history which can be applied even beyond Japanese academia.

2 Earlier Works

The origin of Kaiiki-shi would be a topic highly arguable. Some trace its origins back to the early twentieth-century Japanese oriental historians, when ‘tōzai kōshō-shi (東西交渉史)’ attracted scholarly attention. ‘Tōzai kōshō-shi’ literally means ‘history of East–West relations’. Its main focus was initially land communications, notably the Silk Road; however, gradually scholars began to explore maritime communications as well, particularly those across Asian seas. Several studies produced in this field are still regarded as classics for Kaiiki-shi. Many place identifications are still useful and so too are detailed monographs such as -matsu no teikyosihaku saiiki-jin ho jukō no jiseki (宋末の提擧市舶西域人蒲壽庚の事蹟 Vestige of Teikyoshihaku Ho Jukō, a man from the western region of China in the late Song period) by Jitsuzō Kuwabara (桑原隲藏). 5 Kuwabara traced the life of Ho Jukō (蒲壽庚 Po Siukeng), an Arabian Muslim port official of the Song dynasty in detail, and closely examined commercial history between Middle East and China in this period as well as Arabo-Persian settlement in coastal China.

Taihoku Imperial University (台北帝国大学) played a significant role in this direction. At the time it was founded, it offered Nanyō-shi (南洋史) course, which encouraged Japanese historians’ maritime interests. The Nanyō-shi course was established as a unique course of the Taihoku Imperial University, because no other Japanese universities had the course focusing on ‘nanyō-shi,’ the history of maritime Southeast Asia and the South Pacific at that time. 6 Takio Izawa (伊沢多喜男), a politician who influenced the foundation of Taihoku Imperial University enormously, seemed to have expected the Nanyō-shi course to become a strong driving force for the university along with other Nanyō studies. 7 As Li Donghua (李東華) points out, Nanyō-shi was expected to contribute to establish Dai Tōa Kyōei Ken (大東亜共栄圏 Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere). 8

Li’s comment about its contribution to Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is undeniable; however, it is also true that its academic contribution is also significant till today. Some of the works published by the faculties are still influential among Kaiiki-shi scholars and even beyond. Naojirō Murakami (村上直次郎) served as the first chair of the Nanyō-shi course. Murakami was a specialist on the history of Japan–Western relations. He was fluent in Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and some other European languages 9 and his publications include the history of Japanese relations with European countries and also the history of Christianity in Japan, the history of overseas Japanese, and even Taiwanese history. 10 Seiichi Iwao (岩生成一) and Kenji Yanai (箭内健次) also taught the course. Particularly, a classic for Kaiiki-shi is Seiichi Iwao’s Nanyō nihon-machi no kenkyū 南洋日本町の研究 (Study on Japantowns in Southern Sea), 11 which traces the development and expansion of Japanese overseas communities in Asian seas in the early modern period. Scholars in this generation did not use the term ‘kaiiki-shi’; however, as mentioned above, several works in this period are still found in bibliographies of modern works on Kaiiki-shi. Certainly they cultivated the field from which kaiiki-shi later emerged.

Another body of Kaiiki-shi to emerge is taigai kōshō-shi (対外交渉史). This is a part of Japanese history that focuses especially on Japanese foreign relations. We need to mention, when we trace its development, Shiryō Hensanjyo (史料編纂所 the Historiographical Institute). This institute has its roots in the Wagaku kōdanjyo 和学講談所 (Institute of Japanese Studies) established by Hokiichi Hanawa 塙保己一 (1746–1821), a Kokugaku scholar. It was financially supported by the Tokugawa Shogunate and eventually, at the end of the nineteenth century, under the Meiji government, it was integrated into Tokyo Imperial University. The main focus of this institute was on compiling and publishing fundamental source materials for Japanese history. 12 In 1906, it took over from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the project to compile documents related to foreign countries during the late Tokugawa period. Since then, the institute has been home to specialists on the history of Japanese foreign relations up to the present day. Seiichi Iwao moved from this institute to Taihoku Imperial University.

The crisis of Taigai kōshō-shi arrived after the end of the Second World War. Shōsuke Murai (村井章介) states that Taigai kōshō-shi was:

eventually degraded as if it had a deserted air under criticism to old regime which made Emperor pinnacled and also Marxist history which was now free from oppression reached its peak. The main concern in historians was to prove that the historical law of Marxism theory can be even applied to Japan which had been ‘the land of gods which is unequalled in any other country.’ Therefore, it was natural that historians got interest in socio-economic history as field, particuarly they devoted themselves to analyze the relations of production as well as those of social classes, both were base of society. Assuming any nation states follow the same path of development, they tended to fix the focus of their research on “national” history. 13

This can be applied not only to Taigai kōshō-shi, but also to Tōzai kōshō-shi. Indeed, many historians in Japan tended to be involved in historical materialism, while Taigai kōshō-shi and Tōzai kōshō-shi became unpopular under criticism of pre-war overseas expansion. Only a small group of young scholars got an interest in Taigai kōshō-shi. Blowing in the post-war wind, this field was hanging almost by a thread. One good piece of fortune was that the Historiographical Institute still retained a section on foreign relations, which was a sort of shelter for these scholars in post-war generation. In particular, Takeo Tanaka’s (田中健夫) contribution was huge. He was a specialist on medieval and early modern Japan–foreign relations in service to the institute. While he produced a number of original works which are still influential, he guided scholars in the younger generation, such as Shōsuke Murai and Yasunori Arano (荒野泰典), who played a central role in establishing Kaiiki-shi in the field of Japanese history.

3 The Emergence of Kaiiki-Shi

The other flow which eventually confluent with the above mentioned flows to form Kaiiki-shi was emerged among oriental historians who succeeded the interest of Tōzai kōshō-shi. Notably, Hikoichi Yajima (家島彦一) advocated the concept of ‘indo-yō kaiiki-sekai (インド洋海域世界 Indian Ocean Kaiiki World)’ as early as the end of the 1960s. 14 He tried to capture the entire Indian Ocean (which historically extends from the East African coast to the East China Sea) as one historical unit. 15 He was supervised by Shinji Maejima (前嶋信次), a pioneer of Middle Eastern history in Japan. Maejima was a student of Toyohachi Fujita (藤田豊八) and followed Fujita to Taihoku Imperial University, where he obtained a position as assistant on the Nanyō-shi course.

While Yajima’s foresight is remarkable, the period between the late 1980s and the early 1990s was an important turning point for the development of Kaiiki-shi studies. Yajima published his anthology entitled Umi ga tsukuru bunmei (海が創る文明 The Ocean Created Civilization) in 1993. 16 This was his second book after Isulām sekai no seiritsu to kokusai shōgyō (イスラーム世界の成立と国際商業 Establishment of the Islamic World and International Commerce). 17 His concept of ‘indo-yō kaiiki-sekai’ has been refined through projects organized in his institute, the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. 18 His ‘indo-yō kaiiki-sekai’ is based on network theory. Regarding ports as nodes, and human beings, trading goods and information as flow, he drew a large web of networks across the Indian Ocean. In Japan, this sort of network theory has been largely developed in the project entitled ‘Urbanism in Islam’ (1987–1991; Principal Investigator Yūzō Itagaki (板垣雄三), Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Tokyo), in which Yajima was also involved. 19

Similarly, in 1992, a six-volume series of Ajia no naka no nihon-shi (アジアのなかの日本史 Japanese History in Asia) was completed, which was edited by Arano, Murai and Masatoshi Ishii (石井正敏), an ancient Japanese historian who also studied under Takeo Tanaka. According to the short memoir about this project by Arano, their main aim was ‘to self-demolish and reconstruct of Japanese historians by Japanese historians’. 20 These editors criticized conventional nation-centred Japanese history and tried to reconsider Japanese history in Asian context. 21 This is a milestone for Taigai kōshō-shi, because this project finally clearly shows a new way of contributing to the wider academia after a long struggle in post-war circumstance. Their Asian perspective was supported by Takeshi Hamashita’s (濱下武志) work. As a specialist in Chinese economic history, he clarified the tribute system, which strongly influenced diplomacy and international commerce in East Asia and beyond. 22 In particular, in the framework of economic history, he explained the significance of tribute system as the medium between the world economy and the state economy. 23 He also applied network theory to explain this medium, while he was certainly aware of the limit of nation-centred perspective when he argued tribute system.

A remarkable point about this period is that scholars in different fields referred to each other and gradually their focus on the maritime sphere overlapped with each other. They also shared criticism of national history, and therefore they equally sought more efficient units of history that would be larger than nation states but not as large as the entire world. Such a coincidence should be understood within the context of this new era when a new perspective on the world is urgently required after the end of the Cold War regime. In addition, the economic historian Heita Kawakatsu (川勝平太) and Takashi Shiraishi (白石隆), an expert in the field of international politics, also published Kaiiki-shi-related works. 24 It was also in 1993 that ‘Kaiiki ajia-shi kenkyū-kai (海域アジア史研究会)’, a circle of scholars including MA and PhD students from the Osaka area who were interested in Kaiiki-shi, began. This circle is still very active, holding monthly seminars, and its core members contributed to Kaiiki ajia-shi kenkyū Nyūmon (海域アジア史入門 Kaiiki Asian History Reader), as will be mentioned in the following section. To conclude this section, I need to mention the publication of Japanese translation of Fernand Braudel’s La Méditerranée. 25 This long-awaited volume activated interaction among scholars in different areas further. 26

4 Kaiiki-Shi in KAKENHI Projects and the Terminology of ‘Kaiiki’

Academic trend of Kaiiki-shi can be glimpsed when we examine the database of Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI). KAKENHI is the largest funding source for Japanese academia in general. Thus, an analysis of this database enables us to see the academic trend to a certain degree. Due to frequent changes of items, only the titles of adopted projects can be searched for in the database. Thus, while it is obvious that many Kaiiki-shi-related projects have been conducted under the title without the term ‘kaiiki,’ such as those projects about port towns, it is unable to pick up these projects. However, at least this search allows us to grasp the rough trends of Kaiiki-shi. Searching for projects including the term ‘kaiiki’ in title regardless of the field, the database produces 738 results of projects between 1966 and 2016, of which 85 are related to historical studies. The first history project in the database appears in 1984, which was ‘Chū-kinsei ni okeru kan shina-kaiiki kōryū-shi no kenkyū’ (中近世における環シナ海海域交流史の研究 ‘Study on Exchange History across East China Sea Kaiiki in the Medieval and Early Modern Period’) (Principal Investigator: Tadashi Nakamura (中村質), Professor of Japanese Medieval History in Kyushu University). On the other hand, the term ‘kaiiki’ was used for a long time before historians began to use it in their project titles. The 738 ‘kaiiki’ projects include various fields such as fisheries, oceanology, natural geography, marine engineering, environmental studies, etc. as well as results from the humanities and social sciences. These non-humanities and social sciences projects tend to use the term ‘kaiiki’ in a literal sense. In other words, ‘kaiiki’ in these project titles implies some certain limited oceanic space which the project focuses on, such as 東部ベーリング海域における中層魚類の研究 ‘tōbu bēringu-kaiiki ni okeru chūsō-gyorui no kenkyū’ (‘Study on Mesopelagic Fish in the Eastern Bering Sea’).

‘Kaiiki’ projects in the humanities and social sciences include those in area studies, archaeology, history, etc. In relation to area studies, many of ‘kaiiki’ projects were on Southeast Asia in the beginning and later on East Asia. Some of these social science projects seem to have used ‘kaiiki’ in a literal sense in the same way as non-social scientists did. But many others do not. Especially historians consciously use the concept of ‘kaiiki,’ in order not to argue some limited oceanic space itself, but to propose alternative historical perspective to the conventional ones. Those historians using ‘kaiiki’ are often very critical of conventional perspective of history which is heavily land-centred as they criticize. Instead of accepting this conventional perspective, they are eager to emphasize ‘kaiiki’ to capture those which have been largely overlooked.

However, the term ‘kaiiki’ is confusing due to its various usages, particularly in the non-humanities and social sciences fields, as if ‘kaiiki’ indicates that they focus on some limited space. Thus, some projects recognize such limits of nuance in the term ‘kaiiki’, so they add ‘-sekai’ (世界 world), ‘-kōryū’ (交流 exchange) and some other words to it in order to avoid such misunderstandings. There are several reasons why historians keep on using ‘kaiiki’ despite this very fuzzy terminology. Probably the biggest reason is that they imply their resistance against land-centred history by using this term. And Kaiiki-shi historians see nation-centred history behind this land-centred history. In Japanese, ‘region’ is generally called ‘chiiki (地域)’ which can be divided into ‘chi’ (earth, land) and ‘iki’. Thus, ‘kaiiki’ (‘kai’ [ocean] and ‘iki’) is generally easily accepted as a kind of antonym of ‘chiiki’.

5 The Booming of Kaiiki-Shi

Figure 1 shows that the number of Kaiiki-shi projects which have been adopted by KAKENHI increased in the 2000s. The rise of scholarly interest in world/global history contributes largely to the boom of Kaiiki-shi in this period. In Japan since the 2000s, world/global history began to attract historians. In Japanese academia, inter-regional approaches and some mega or supra-regional history are widely accepted as part of world/global history. Kaiiki-shi is frequently mentioned as one notable example of these. 27
Fig. 1

The number of accepted KAKEN-HI projects under the title including “Kaiiki”

A significant physical impact was made by several large projects. One notable example is a five-year project from 2005 entitled ‘Higashi-ajia no kaiiki kōryū to nihon dentō bunka no kēsē: ninpō wo shōten to suru gakusaiteki-sōsē’ (東アジアの海域交流と日本伝統文化の形成―寧波を焦点とする学際的創生 ‘Maritime Cross-cultural Exchange in East Asia and the Formation of Japanese Traditional Culture’) organized by Tsuyoshi Kojima (小島毅), a specialist on the history of Chinese thought. This project, widely known as ‘nin-puro’, brought together a large number of scholars in various fields and investigated the origins of Japanese traditional culture in historical maritime communication in East Asia. This multi-disciplinary project extended the field of Kaiiki-shi. Multi-disciplinary projects existed prior to this project; however, these were basically project mainly aiming at publication 28 while this project had a five-year research period and eventually involved various scholars in related fields to a greater extent and let them communicate more intensively. ‘Nin-puro’ consisted of 34 smaller projects and published two series, totalling 26 volumes. For example, Umi kara mita rekishi (海から見た歴史 History Viewed from the Ocean) was published as a part of a series and was written by almost 30 co-authors. 29 Many of these were young scholars, and many of them are currently driving Kaiiki-shi. Not a few principal investigators for Kaiiki-shi projects adopted as KAKENHI after 2005 are those who joined the above-mentioned project (‘nin-puro’). Until the project started, Kaiiki-shi was not a common subject in adopted KAKENHI projects, as Fig. 6.1 shows; however, since 2007, at least two projects a year were adopted and this tendency has continued up to the time of writing (summer 2016).

Furthermore, ‘Kaiiki ajia-shi kenkyü-kai’ published Kaiiki ajia-shi kenkyū nyūmon in 2008. 30 This handbook for Kaiiki-shi featured 32 contributors, some of whom also contributed to Umi kara mita rekishi. A detailed literature review on various topics on Kaiiki-shi is given in this book. Despite the fact that it largely focuses on East and Southeast Asian Kaiiki-shi, it is certainly another huge achievement for Kaiiki-shi. Through the above-mentioned development, Kaiiki-shi has finally achieved a certain position in historical studies in Japan today.

6 Potentials and Limits: The Dilemma of Kaiiki-Shi

As we have seen, Kaiiki-shi has multiple origins. Thus, there is no absolute definition of it. However, we are still able to see some shared features: an obvious contribution of Kaiiki-shi of conventional understanding of history is to criticize land-centred understanding and to connect histories which were previously constrained by national boundaries. Kaiiki-shi clearly proves the reality that the obstacle of national boundaries does not come from historical facts, but from the imaginations of historians. The more that the Kaiiki-shi perspective unveils various cross-boundary communications through history, the more we can break spell imposed on the field by national boundaries. In other words, Kaiiki-shi makes historians and their readers realize that a rich ‘world’ existed in history across borders conventionally recognized today. This would be a very powerful criticism towards our conventional understanding of history in Japan. As Masashi Haneda (羽田正) notes, a general understanding of world history in Japan, which is highly influenced by education given in schools, is based on national and regional histories. 31 In other words, world history consists of various divided parts of the world, such as Chinese history, American history, British history, Japanese history, Southeast Asian history, etc., and these are basically regarded as being able to be narrated individually from ancient times up to the present day. Thus, one of the main objects for Japanese world/global historians is to deconstruct the nation state-centred perspective. Here we can find the bridge between Kaiiki-shi and world/global history in Japanese academia.

However, there are several problems in creating a bridge between these two. One is an epistemological problem. In other words, when Kaiiki-shi breaks conventional boundaries, it simultaneously creates another new boundary. The more we describe and narrate Kaiiki-shi, the more Kaiiki-shi forms a certain boundary to distinguish itself from others. Establishing courses and organizations is without doubt favourable for Kaiiki-shi historians, because these prove significance of Kaiiki-shi as well as these assure their position in academia. However, simultaneously this direction of development certainly formalizes Kaiiki-shi, which fosters the logic of exclusion. My attempt in this chapter—to describe the development of Kaiiki-shi—would surely contribute to this end. Another epistemological issue is as follows. Needless to say, we are unable to recognize anything without a name. Thus, when we discuss some ‘kaiiki’, we need to give it a proper name. Once some ‘kaiiki’ is recognized by a particular name, we are likely to define it and this definition always requires distinguishing it from others. In this process of definition, its geographical extent is always a focus. Thus, many Kaiiki-shi add some regional indicators in front of ‘kaiiki’, such as “‘indo-yō’ kaiiki” or “‘ajia’ kaiiki”. Often historians repeatedly caution readers that the geographical extent of ‘kaiiki’ can enlarge and shrink from time to time and it is impossible to show its extent statistically on a map. However, it is also impossible for historians to develop the argument without any explanation of its geographical extent. Then, once historians show its extent, even without forgetting the above caution, the readers follow the argument bearing that extent in mind.

Kaiiki-shi historians have not yet found a way to sweep this minefield. Could history be narrated without any geographical limitations? Actually, some do. For instance, historians of diasporas are able to describe the unity of diasporic people without placing a strong emphasis on geography. Their focus is on diasporic people, but on geography. Unfortunately, Kaiiki-shi historians cannot follow their manner. Largely this is because actors in Kaiiki-shi are too fluid and too diverse. Thus, so far, Kaiiki-shi historians need to set their focus on some geographical space (port towns are good examples) and observe it to catch various flows and interactions. This is not only an issue for Kaiiki-shi historians; the matter is more general. Here we need to think about specialities. Historians tend to be discreet once they go beyond the area where they specialize. Speciality is largely created by both extensive knowledge in a particular area and language ability. Especially in Japan, even long before the current movements of world/global history, world history has been a subject in high school and historians are familiar with it. But this world history is no more than the combination of national and regional histories. In this context, production of world history can be well described as a sort of division of labor. A combination of specialists would make it possible to write this sort of world history. On the contrary, current world/global historians in Japan are not satisfied with this sort of world history, partly because they notice that a lot of things are missed in such a framework and some even claim that a historical perspective in such a framework prevents the development of a global imagination, which is required by the human beings living in the current world. However, under the current system of historical studies, we need to choose some particular speciality. This is a dilemma that not only kaiiki-shi historians but also world/global historians in Japan are now facing.

7 Conclusion

This chapter has traced the development of kaiiki-shi. Kaiiki-shi does not confine itself to a static definition; we can understand the aim and scope of Kaiiki-shi through observing its multi-faceted character and following its transformation. So what is the position of Kaiiki-shi now? It is now that kaiiki-shi historians are noticing its limits. No longer does mere criticism of land-centred history satisfy readers. Often the criticism of land-centred history forms an ocean-centric history. This tendency is accelerated by a formalization of Kaiiki-shi and also professionalism of historian. Furthermore, persistence in specialization encourages division of Kaiiki-shi. Because the ocean is the sphere where a variety of people come across, under the conventional logic of historical studies, generally historians are required to focus on some particular language for analysis. This is a totally reasonable strategy; however, indeed the borderless character of Kaiiki-shi ironically disappears when confronted by the professionalism of historians and it even creates borders between different forms of ‘Kaiiki’. However, several Kaiiki-shi historians already began to challenge these limitations. For example, Shinji Yamauchi (山内晋次) examined early modern East Asian Kaiiki while comparing and connecting with neighbouring Kaiiki, such as Southeast Asian Kaiiki and Indian Ocean Kaiiki. 32 In addition, there was a joint session entitled ‘Rekishi no nakano kaiiki: Umi ga tsunagu, hedateru sekai’ (歴史の中の海域―海がつなぐ/隔てる世界 ‘Kaiiki in History: the World connected/disconnected by the Ocean’) at the annual meeting of the Historical Science Society of Japan in 2013, and there specialists on ancient Rome, the medieval Mediterranean, the early modern Caribbean and the modern Indian Ocean gathered and discussed each other’s fields. 33 As such, certainly, Kaiiki-shi historians are now well aware of its connections with world/global history and struggle with its limitations.

Most realistic and certain steps for Kaiiki-shi historians to take in relation to world/global history is to follow the above-mentioned two methods, i.e. comparison and connection. As Shinji Yamauchi does, Kaiiki-shi historians carefully look around their neighbouring areas and seek any opportunity to connect and compare with these. At this moment, we cannot escape from specialization. Certainly, historians need to have extensive knowledge and language skills of a particular geographical area. However, this does not deny historians’ efforts to connect with other specialists. Connecting each historian’s visibility with each other can then efficiently challenge conventional world history in Japan, which is a mere addition to divided histories. Of course, this chain needs to include historians working mainly on land. This challenge will eventually deconstructs Kaiiki-shi itself. Once it realizes, Kaiiki-shi as challenger of land-centred history is no longer needed and historians also recognize that there are various mediums on land which function in the same way as those in Kaiiki does. Then, Kaiiki will complete its task while we can achieve a solid foundation for world/global history.


  1. 1.

    Isulāmu/kan-Indo-yō sekai 1618 seiki, Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 2000.

  2. 2.

    For instance, Shinji Yamauchi, ‘Higashi ajia kaiiki ron’ (‘On East Asian Kaiiki’) in Iwanami kōza nihon rekishi, vol. 20, Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 2014, pp. 89–114.

  3. 3.

    Frank Broeze, ‘From the Periphery to the Mainstream: The Challenge of Australia’s Maritime History’, The Great Circle 11(1) (1989), pp. 1–14.

  4. 4.

    The following works are worth reading for those who like to know more details on Kaiiki-shi-related studies: Hiromu Nagashima, ‘Ajia kaiiki tsūshō ken ron: Indo-yō sekai wo chūshin ni’ (‘On Asian Kaiiki Commercial Zone: Featuring Indian Ocean World’) in Rekishigaku kenkyūkai (ed.), Rekishigaku ni okeru houhouteki tenkai (Methodological Turns in Historical Thinkings), Tokyo: Aoki shoten, 2002, pp. 21–36; Shiro Momoki (ed.), Kaiiki ajia-shi kenkyū nyūmon (Kaiiki Asian History Reader), Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 2008; Takayuki Ito, ‘Nihon ni okeru higashi ajia kaiiki kōryū-shi kenkyū no genjō to dōkō’ (‘Present Situations and Trends of Studies on East Asian Kaiiki-shi in Japan’) in Shoji Yamada and Guo Nanyan (eds), Kōnan bunka to nihon (Jingnan Culture and Japan), Kyoto: International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, 2012, pp. 139–151.

  5. 5.

    Jitsuzō Kuwabara, -matsu no teikyosihaku saiiki-jin ho jukō no jiseki, Shanghai: Tōa kōkyū-kai, 1923.

  6. 6.

    For the Nanyō-shi course in Taihoku Imperial University, see Yoshiro Matsuda and Yu Chan, ‘Taihoku teikoku daigaku bunsei-gakubu nanyō-shigaku no seiritsu to tenkai’ (‘Establishment and Development of Nanyō history in the Department of Literature and Law, the Taihoku Imperial University’) in Tetsuya Sakai and Toshihiko Matsuda (eds), Teikoku nihon to shokuminchi daigaku (Imperial Japan and Colonial Universities), Tokyo: Yumani shobo, 2014, pp. 251–284. In addition, the Oriental History course was taken by Toyohachi Fujita, former Professor of Oriental History in Tokyo Imperial University, who was a leading scholar on Tōzai kōshō-shi at that time. Fujita had numerous publications including translation and annotation of Dao yi zhi lue, geographical work in Yuan period. He moved from Tokyo Imperial University to Taihoku Imperial University to hold the chair of Oriental history as well as dean of the department in 1928 when the university was founded. However, he died soon after his arrival.

  7. 7.

    Yu Chin, ‘Nihon tōchika no Taihoku Teikoku Daigaku ni tsuite’ (‘On Taihoku Imperial University under Japanese Occupation’), Tōyō Shihō 10 (2004), p. 68.

  8. 8.

    Li Donghua, Guang fu chu qi tai da xiao shi yan jiu, 19451950 (A Study of the Early History of National Taiwan University, 19451950), Taipei: National Taiwan University Press, 2014, p. 173.

  9. 9.

    Yeh Pi-ling, ‘Murakami Naojirō de taiwan shi yanjiu’ (‘Murakami Naojirō’s Study of Taiwan History’), Bulletin of Academia Historica 17 (2008), p. 8.

  10. 10.

    For his works, see Anonymous, ‘Murakami Naojirō-sensei ryakureki, kōgi, kōen, chosho, ronbun mokuroku’ (‘Biographical Note and List of Publications by Dr. Murakami’), Jōchi Shigaku 13 (1968), pp. 3–13.

  11. 11.

    Seiichi Iwao, Nanyō nihon-machi no kenkyū, Tokyo: Minami ajia bunka kenkyūjyo, 1940.

  12. 12.

    See for details of the Historiographical Institute (last viewed 8 November 2017).

  13. 13.

    Shōsuke Murai, ‘Kaisetsu’, in Takeo Tanaka (ed.), Wakō: umi no rekishi, Tokyo: Kodansha, 2012, pp. 250–251.

  14. 14.

    His detailed explanation of the earlier concept of the Indian Ocean world is available in Hikoichi Yajima, ‘Maritime Activities of the Arab Gulf People and the Indian Ocean World in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries’, Journal of Asian and African Studies 14 (1977), pp. 195–208. As I will discuss, his concept of the Indian Ocean world has developed since then.

  15. 15.

    More correctly, he sets several small-kaiiki and examines connections among them. His concept of ‘indo-yō kaiiki-sekai’ is a unit which consists of these inter-related small-kaiikis, while it has a certain autonomy as a whole. See Hikoichi Yajima, Kaiiki kara mita rekishi: Indo-yō to chicyū-kai wo musubu kouryū-shi (History Seen from Kaiiki: The History of Exchange Connecting the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean), Nagoya: Nagoya University Press, 2006, pp. 17–25.

  16. 16.

    Hikoichi Yajima, Umi ga tsukuru bunmei, Tokyo: Asahi Shimbun Sha, 1993.

  17. 17.

    Hikoichi Yajima, Isulām sekai no seiritsu to kokusai shōgyō, Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1991.

  18. 18.

    Masato Iizuka and Hikoichi Yajima, ‘Fīrudo wāku kara no shiten’ (‘Observation from Fieldwork’), Field Plus 12 (2014), pp. 22–27.

  19. 19.

    See e.g. Hikoichi Yajima, ‘Toshi nettowāku wo megutte: indo-yō nishi-kaiiki ni okeru dau sen chōsa ni motozuku’ (‘On Urban Networks: Based on Research on Dhow in the Western Indian Ocean Kaiiki’), Isuramu no toshi-sei kenkyū-hōkoku 8 (1988), pp. 1–16.

  20. 20.

    Yasunori Arano, ‘Ajia no nakano nihon-shi (zen 6 kan) no henshu wo oete’ (‘After Editing Japanese History in Asia (6 vols))’, Shien 54(1) (1993), p. 122.

  21. 21.

    Arano, ‘Ajia no nakano Nihon-shi’, p. 121.

  22. 22.

    Takeshi Hamashita, Kindai chūgoku no kokusai-teki keiki: chōkō bōeki shisutemu to kindai ajia (International Momentum for Modern China), Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1990.

  23. 23.

    Takeshi Hamashita, Chōkō bōeki shisutemu to kindai ajia (Chinese Tribute Trade System and Asian Modernization) Kokusai Seiji 8 (1986), p. 42.

  24. 24.

    Heita Kawakatsu, Kaiyō no bunmei-shikan (A Maritime Historical View of Civilization), Tokyo: Chuo Koron-sha, 1997; Takashi Shiraishi, Umi no teikoku: Ajia wo dou kangaeruka (Empire of the Sea: How Do We Think about Asia?), Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2000.

  25. 25.

    Fernand Braudel, Chichū-kai, trans. by Masami Hamana, 5 vols, Tokyo: Fujiwara shoten, 1991–1995.

  26. 26.

    See Heita Kawakatsu (ed.), Umi kara mita rekishi: Burōdel Chichū-kai wo yomu (A Maritime View of History), Tokyo: Fujiwara shoten, 1996.

  27. 27.

    See e.g. Tsukasa Mizushima, ‘Gurōbaru hisutorī kenkyū no chōsen’ (‘Challenges of Global History Studies’) in Tsukasa Mizushima (ed.), Gurōbaru hisutorī no chosen (Challenges of Global History ), Tokyo: Yamakawa shuppan sha, 2008, pp. 15–16; Shigeru Akita, ‘Gurōbaru hisutorī no chōsen to seiyou-shi kenkyū’ (‘Challenge of Global History and Studies of Western History in Japan’), Journal of History for the Public 5 (2008), p. 35; Haneda, Atarashii sekai-shi e (Towards New World History), Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2011, pp. 140–143.

  28. 28.

    In this respect, it is worth mentioning two series. One is Daikōkai jidai sōsho (The Age of Discovery Series) published by Iwanami Shoten, which covers numerous travelogues, ethnographies and voyages written by Europeans during the Age of Discovery. These have been translated into Japanese and 42 volumes have been published over 27 years since 1965. This is a huge project involving not only historians, but also scholars of literature, anthropologists and specialists in other related fields. The other is six-volume series, called Umi no Ajia (Seas of Asia; edited by Keiichi Bimoto, Takeshi Hamashita, Yosinori Murai and Hikoichi Yajima, published by Iwanami Shoten, 2000–2001), is also multi-disciplinary series while not a few contributors are historians.

  29. 29.

    Masashi Haneda (ed.), Umi kara mita rekishi (History Viewed from the Ocean), Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 2013.

  30. 30.

    Momoki (ed.), Kaiiki ajia-shi kenkyū nyūmon.

  31. 31.

    Masashi Haneda, ‘Atarashii sekai-shi to chiiki-shi’ (‘New World History and Regional History’) in Masashi Haneda (ed.), Gurōbaru hisutorī to higashi ajia-shi ( Global History and East Asian History), Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 2016, pp. 19–22.

  32. 32.

    Yamauchi, ‘Higashi ajia kaiiki ron’.

  33. 33.

    See the special feature in Rekishigaku kenkyū 913 (2013).


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Hideaki Suzuki
    • 1
  1. 1.Nagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan

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