Proposal preview

Crossroads of Globalization: Market-Making in Modern East Asia

From the mid-1850’s, East Asia was forced to “open” its ports by the Western powers. After the opening of its ports, East Asia was incorporated into the global economy, including Western forms of infrastructure, like telecommunications and transportation networks. As this economic growth was highly dependent on the development of markets, we focus on the formation of the commodity, capital, and labor markets in East Asia from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, as well as the underlying infrastructure. First, we analyze the rise of the rice market as a commodity market that fostered intra-regional transactions and the trans-national circulation of merchants around the East Asian region. Specifically, we examine the impact of telecommunications networks on the integration of the rice market, including the introduction of the exchange system in Chosŏn Korea. Second, we analyze the development of the capital and labor markets where traditional markets operated alongside modern markets throughout Open Ports East Asia. In the capital markets, we examine the role of Japanese merchant families that simultaneously implemented traditional and modern investment strategies in the capital markets. In Asian labor markets, technology transfer from the West changed the requirements and conditions for skilled labor in East Asia as workers were reclassified according to both traditional and modern characteristics of labor. Finally, in terms of infrastructure, we analyze the establishment of the transportation infrastructure that was established in Hokkaido and colonial Taiwan, as well as the electric power network that was developed in colonial Korea. In this manner, we show how the waves of globalization that swept across East Asia in the open ports period led to a realignment of socio-economic activity as necessitated by the rise of new markets and the reorganization of existing markets.


  • Mikio Ito, Keio University,, Japan
  • Myungsoo Kim, Keimyung University,, Korea
  • Lung-Pao Tsai, National Taipei University,, Taiwan

Session members

  • Mikio Ito, Keio University,
  • Steven Ivings, Heidelberg University,
  • Howard Kahm, Yonsei University,
  • Myungsoo Kim, Keimyung University,
  • Kiyotaka Maeda, Seinan Gakuin University,
  • Masanobu Mishina, Keio University,
  • Akihiko Noda, Kyoto Sangyo University,
  • Jin-Seok Oh, Pai Chai University,
  • Kentaro Saito, Kyoto Sangyo University,
  • Lung-Pao Tsai, National Taipei University,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Shigehiko Ioku, Keio University,
  • Toshihito Nagahiro, Wakayama University,
  • Nataria Mora Sitja, University of Cambridge,
  • Chiaki Yamamoto, Osaka University,
  • Hideyoshi Yagashiro, Senshu University,