ASIA212Varley

Although occasion 146 the country unified fig 42

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Unformatted text preview: missionaries to leave the country within twenty days. Hideyoshi never fully implemented his decree against the missionaries, since he feared that it might drive away the Portuguese traders as well. Yet, the fact that he issued it at all suggests a growing anti-Christian feeling in Japan’s ruling circles, a feeling that was to reach great intensity several decades later. The Portuguese and other Europeans, including Spanish, Dutch, and English, who visited Japan in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were loosely labeled by the Japanese (in accordance with Chinese practice) as namban or “southern barbarians,” since they came from the seas to the south. For practical purposes, however, the so-called namban culture of this age consisted of the forms of Western technology, culture, and general knowledge introduced to Japan by the Jesuits.5 By far the leading center of namban culture was Nagasaki, which remained strongly under Jesuit and Portuguese influence even after Hideyoshi’s nationalization of it in 1587. The Country Unified 145 Among the first things the Portuguese introduced to the Japanese were Western guns, in particular the muzzle-loading arquebus, a riflelike weapon, somewhat smaller than the musket, that was preferred by the Portuguese and the Spanish. The Japanese set about making these guns immediately and imported as many as possible from Europe. Within ten years the daimyos were using guns in substantial numbers in battles. It is interesting to note that this was the very time, the middle of the sixteenth century, when a military revolution was occurring in Europe because of the widespread use for the first time of hand-held guns in warfare. Astonishing as it may seem, Japan, heretofore a country virtually unknown to—and certainly unvisited by—Europeans and situated in the farthest reaches of the world, underwent a similar military revolution thanks to the introduction of European guns. The leader in this revolution was Oda Nobunaga, who is credited with having organized the first major gun unit in a Japanese army....
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