Riches and Realities: The Uncommon Wealth in David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
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The riches that Dutch tradesmen acquired from their trading post at Dejima represented the most uncommon colonial wealth in their expansion of the Dutch Empire. The way they negotiated with the Japanese intermediaries and their uncommon submissiveness to the bakufu government generated not only riches but also realities of Japan’s increasing reliance on Rangaku, the Dutch Learning. This chapter, therefore, examines the Dutch empire’s politics of wealth executed in the land of “a thousand autumns” and argues that Rangaku, the uncommon wealth for Japanese intellectuals and the common colonial commodity for Dutch traders, drastically changed Japan from a restrained pre-modern state into a strong colonial country, aiming at building a rich Japanese Empire in East Asia.