The Delayed Formation Process of Economic Society

  • Akira Hayami
Part of the Studies in Economic History book series (SEH)


Based on what we saw in the previous chapter, it is virtually impossible for social fluctuation to occur from within. In particular, it is only natural to question how it is possible for an economic society to form from such an unstable society. However, political instability had the opposite effect of subverting the union between robust political and economic control (the possession of wealth), and as a condition eased the formation of economic society. In fact, had Japan built up its organization as an ancient state with a higher degree of perfection and completed framework of stable control, there is no doubt that Japan’s later historical developments would have been somewhat different. Had there been the concentration of authority unique to the typical ancient state, namely a concentration of authority that extended to both the sacred and secular realms, or in both politics and economics, the social framework would have become extremely stable. Yet, although Japan incorporated the framework from ancient China, universal religion entered at the same time, and aided by topographical conditions where several regions formed by being geographically divided, that framework’s original compatibility with the ancient state did not become established as is. Nonetheless, as the only framework the Japanese knew, it lasted until the sixteenth century with all of its instabilities, and to the point that it is possible to view Japan as having experienced the ancient state. However, aside from the time when the ritsuryō system established itself, this type of ancient state framework was by no means a powerful presence, and it is also a fact that its fate was to eventually collapse internally. Rather, we should be amazed that this fragile framework managed to maintain itself for close to a thousand years.


Seventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Foreign Relation Economic Society Ancient State 
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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akira Hayami
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Japan AcademyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Keio UniversityTokyoJapan

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