Jakobina K. Arch

Jul 11, 2019

Bringing Whales Ashore

Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan

University of Washington Press 2018

purchase at bookshop.org Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan (University of Washington Press, 2018) is more than a history of whaling in Japan. Jakobina K. Arch weaves together a wealth of diverse materials to demonstrate and explore the social, cultural, economic, intellectual, and religious impacts of whales on the world of Tokugawa Japan. In doing so, Arch argues powerfully for a historical vision that locates Japan within a larger global environment and also understands the fundamental interconnectedness of land and sea in particular. It is, as she writes, “nonsensical” to draw a clear dividing line between the archipelagic and the pelagic. Arch traces the history of whaling from its recorded origins in the late sixteenth century across the stretch of the Tokugawa period and into the modern period. In doing so, Bringing Whales Ashore not only contributes broadly to Tokugawa and environmental history, but also engages with the modern and contemporary politics of whaling.

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Nathan Hopson

Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese and East Asian history in the Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University.

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