Portuguese Merchants and Missionaries in Feudal Japan, 1543–1640
The relationship between God and Mammon forms a recurring theme in this volume, the third collection of Professor Boxer's articles to be published by Variorum. The previous two traced the Portuguese expansion through the Indian Ocean to South-East Asia, and in this one he moves on further, to the Far East, to deal with the China-Japan trade, based on the cities of Macao and Nagasaki. Yet there, as elsewhere, commerce was not disassociated from religion: not only were the missionaries so enthusiastically despatched to convert the Japanese dependant on the merchants for shipping, but the Jesuits, the principal of those missionaries, themselves played an active part in the trade, and the fortunes of both merchants and missionaries proved inextricably linked. In these articles the author describes the successes and tragedies of the Portuguese during the period when they dominated European activity in the Far East, and assesses their influence in what has come to be called the 'Christian century' in Japan.